We had our eighth meeting. How appropriate that on our two month anniversary we should finish up the first book. We took our time because there’s literally so much to talk about here. Genesis is a dense book, full of interesting character studies and stories. If you haven’t read it lately you really should delve back into it.
The last few chapters dealt with the end of Jacob’s life in Egypt and his burial back in Canaan and the death of Joseph. It is remarkable to note, as we did last week, the influence Joseph has had on Egypt during his time as Prime Minister. He never seems to give up his loyalty to God, and gains the respect of not only the Pharaoh but also the entire country. What amazing things God was able to do with Joseph because of his trust in him.
As we finished Genesis we sat back to look at all the ground we covered. We’ve asked consistently after every chapter, “What does this say about who God is?” And now we asked this same question about the entire book.
Do we find that this god is tyrannical, arbitrary, unforgiving, mean and absent? Or do we find him loving, merciful, kind, forgiving and engaged? Is God sitting in heaven waiting with his thunderbolts in hand waiting to strike us down the moment we do something wrong? Or does he come quietly to find us, as he does Adam and Eve in the garden the evening they took the fruit? Does he encourage questioning as he did when Abraham asked him six times about Sodom & Gomorrah? Does he continue to encourage us that he has a plan for our lives that will be better if we choose to trust him as he did with Abraham? Does he take care of even the mistakes we make to help things turn out for the best as he did with the life of Joseph? Do we see that he is actively engaged if we will let him into our lives?
While it’s true that the culture and time are completely different in ways we can’t even begin to understand we are still human and God has never changed in the way that he treats us. I am always thrilled to see that God treats people as if they will make the best choice, as if they will always do the right thing, regardless of how he knows it will turn out. That he cannot act outside of his own character, that he cannot break his own rules, that he must always act in love and without a relationship there can be no love – because love is never found in a vacuum.