Okay, so this is happening.
There are two barriers in reading the Old Testament: it doesn't always make sense, and what sense it does make offends modern ears.1 Hmmm, true. Fact is, we cannot pick up the Hebrew Bible and read it through our Western Culture lenses. Sometimes it bores us, other times, its violence outrages us . . . however, there is a gradual but certain movement toward grace. But ya gotta read it to know that.
|Torah at the Western Wall, Jerusalem|
Oh Friend, I know it can be daunting, but travel back with me, won't you? For religious Jews, it is the most sacred of Scripture, the Torah. Most Bible readers, even devoted followers of Christ, just pick and choose what they will read out of the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Jesus quoted more out of one of these five books than any other in all of the Hebrew scriptures ... which one? Deuteronomy. Hmmm.... why?
On the first page, we encounter Genesis which means beginning, origin.
Simply, Genesis can be looked at in three parts:
>the first 11 chapters mostly deal with the world before Abraham,
>chapters 12 - 36 talk about the lives of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
>chapters 37-50 tell the dramatic story of Joseph, eleventh son of Jacob.
~~~~> Friend, I might suggest reading the book of Genesis
by breaking it up in these three chunks <~~~~
Genesis is rich with meaning for all people, telling us about our Creator God -- his goodness, greatness, holiness and might. As a wee girl, I recall memorizing Genesis 1.1
"In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth."
And then God just kept it up ~ he separated light and dark, creating skies, dry land, and plant life, calling it all 'good' on Days One through Three. On Day Four, God created the stars, sun and moon . . . and again, God said it was good. I guess Lucy and Ethel's kind (my hens) came on Day Five, as that was the day God created birds and fish. Don't you think he took great delight painting the creatures with all the colors and textures we see and enjoy? Day Six was big - as God made all the other creatures, including the crown of his creation, you!2
And I've got great news: God created you in his image!3 You are like no other, made from his likeness, endowed with CreATiVity, an eternal soul, with an indomitable spirit and incredible purpose all of your own.
So, Friend, go forward today with renewed joy~
Christine p.s. I'm loving the O.T. already! 'You?
1 - The Bible Jesus Read, Philip Yancey
2 - The account in Genesis One
3 - Genesis 1.26-1.27