Week 1 - Essential 100

April 28, 2016

Week 1 - Essential 100

Essential 100 Blog

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2nd Timothy 3:16-17

Hello New Life! 

I am so happy you have decided to go through the "Essential 100" Scriptures along with me!  This Blog is meant to provide you with some food for thought as you read these passages.

The primary intent of this program is to give you a zoomed out picture of what the Bible is all about.  Looking at key passages like this allows you to contextualize other things you have learned in Scripture, or will learn in the future.  For instance, it's helpful to know about how the High Priest worked in the Old Testament (Leviticus 21; Genesis 14:18) when reading about Jesus being our Ultimate High Priest in Hebrews (Hebrew 4:14)See what I'm saying?  If we don't understand the context surrounding the teaching about Jesus being our High Priest, we will simply import whatever vague notions we already have onto the concept of Jesus as High Priest missing key elements of what this all means.

The secondary intent of this program, though no less important, is that you would hear the Living Word of God speak to you and reveal Himself and His Truth to you as you read.  God is fundamentally a self-revelatory God.  He is a God who desires to be known, and loves to make Himself known, and one of those meaningful places He accomplishes this is when we encounter Him in the Scriptures.  PRAY before and after you read.  Sit in silence for a few moments waiting on God.  Ask God to reveal Himself to you by His Holy Spirit - to speak to you.  It is our Heavenly Father's desire to do this, so it's not like you are twisting His arm when you ask! (Matthew 7:7).

So far we've read Genesis 1-3; 6:5-7.  This is the account of God creating the heavens and the earth, when humankind first sinned against God and brought a curse upon creation, and the increase of wickedness where God ultimately decided to judge the world but save Noah and his family along with a remnant of animals on the earth.  Now THAT is a lot for the first three days! 

In brief, here are some thoughts.

1.  Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy which is known as the Pentateuch (means "5 scrolls" in Greek). 

2.  "In the beginning”.  Genesis 1-3 refers to the historic account of how God created the heavens and the earth and how God's perfect creation was marred through human disobedience and the curse placed on creation by God as a consequence of this disobedience.  Moses wrote down what had been passed on to him through oral tradition along with what God revealed to Him as he was carried along by the Holy Spirit.  Oral tradition was incredibly reliable as it was the pride and joy of this culture to retell stories in exact ways from generation to generation.    

3.  The phrase, "In the beginning" is one that is somewhat ambiguous in Hebrew, but the original language allows for there to be a long or short period of time between when the heavens and the earth were created, and when God set about the six days of creation recorded in the Bible.  As for those six days of creation following "the beginning" time period, there is really no good reason to think they were anything more than 24 hour days as we know them.  God created the world in 6 days, and rested on the 7th. 

4.  Genesis 1 begins as a creation song (non-fiction, but a song none-the-less), then backtracks in Genesis 2:4 to reveal more detail concerning the garden and the creation of man and woman.  My Hebrew teacher in seminary sang a song he wrote in Hebrew recounting the creation narrative.  It was really cool!

5.  Moses likely wrote the creation story and the story of Noah's ark on the plains of Moab as a warning to the Israelites before they would enter the Promised land following the Exodus.  His concern when recounting the history of the creation of the world, the first rebellion against God, the curse placed on creation, and the banishment from the Garden of Eden was that the Israelites would be WARNED

You know how parents will tell their teenagers true stories of the consequences they themselves faced when they made a bad decision earlier in life to try and instruct their kids on what NOT to do?  That's no doubt what Moses is doing in Genesis.  He wants to warn the Israelites, God's chosen people, not to disobey God like Adam and Eve did, because if they do, they, like Adam and Eve, will be sent away from paradise (Eden/The Promised Land).  Again, the stories are all true, but Moses used his retelling to instruct the Israelites in the proper way of relating to God and as a warning before entering the new land.  Yes they can return to a new Eden (the Promised Land), but they must be careful to obey The Lord this time or they will be banished from this "Second Eden" as well.  The Noah's Ark story served a similar purpose. 

We all need to keep in mind how gracious and kind God has been to us, don't we?  Humans have such a short memory of God's goodness and grace to them, and when thanksgiving goes, pride and poor decisions follow.

Until Next Time, READ ON!

Pastor Nathan