Genesis 1, Matthew 1, Optional Psalm 1, Proverbs 1:1-7
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GENESIS 1 – The Bible simply proclaims the existence of God, and from the opening line we see the Bible will be all about God. He EASILY created all things, and we must remember how the impossible for us is easy for God (see how 2 Cor 4:1-7 teaches us about seemingly impossibly dark hearts that we’re trying to evangelize).
As Creator, God is also the rightful Ruler, wisely commanding His creation from chapter 1. It is clearly GOD that has the right to decide what is “good,” (contrast Gen 3). One of the biggest temptations is wanting to claim that right to ourselves.
Human life is made in the image of God – Gen 1:26-27. No matter how different from us, or how much they are wrong, we must remember this and treat ALL people with respect.
Gen 1:26-28 and Psalm 127:3-5 show a VERY different view of children from our culture! How is this reflected in your life?
MATTHEW 1 – Matt 1:1, 1:17 show that Jesus is fulfilling promises God made to Abraham in Genesis and to David in 2 Sam 7:8-16. Some of those promises (definitely in 2 Sam 7:14) were for David’s son, Solomon, but the promises about an eternal kingdom and a forever reign can only be fulfilled in Jesus.
When you’re reading through the Bible the first few times I think it’s fine to skim the geneaologies, but look for things that stand out – like five women highlighted in Messiah Jesus’ line, and realizing that every one of these had a messy, often sin-twisted sad story which God has used to bring the beautiful result of the Messiah (a study Bible will point out the details).
Matt 1:18-20 – God could have made it much easier on Joseph by simply telling him about the virgin conception at the same time as Mary, but for God’s own wise, good, and unspoken reasons He didn’t. Gen 1:1 sets the tone for the Bible – it’s all about God. And Matt 1 reminds us that it’s NOT about what’s easiest / most comfortable for us!
Matt 1:21 – “He will save His people from their sins” – God is declaring our greatest problem (and that Jesus is our only possible Rescue), though most are unaware that this is their greatest need.
Optional Psalm 1 – The TWO PATHS theme will be huge in Psalms. Only one path leads to eternal happiness and blessing – that’s the God and His Word path. The other path leads to judgment and perishing – what 2 Thess 1:9 calls “eternal destruction,” and what Jesus called “unquenchable / eternal fire” (Mark 9:45-48, Matt 25:41).
Remember that when Psalm 1:1-3 promises blessing and success for the person who delights in God’s teaching, GOD picks both the venue and the timing. Joseph in Gen 37-50 DOES do well – after God gives him dreams of how well he’ll do, Joseph DOES become the best slave, and he DOES become the best wrongfully incarcerated prisoner. And then in God’s timing in ONE AFTERNOON (after 13 YEARS of waiting), Joseph goes from wrongfully imprisoned to second in command of Egypt.
The END of the story for all believers is WONDERFUL, though we may not see it for years. The END of the story (“judgment,” “perish”) for those that are NOT God’s is HORRIBLE, though they may seem to do well for awhile.
Optional Proverbs 1:1-7 – Proverbs is to know and grow in wisdom (more than smarts; it’s more like knowing what to do and the proper timing, especially from a godly perspective).
Prov 1:7 – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” We’ll see in the Bible how the fear of the LORD is different from every other fear. OTHER fears make us run FROM what we fear; the proper fear of God makes us run from anything that separates us from God and run TO God – see Prov 8:13 for a partial definition. I put a capital F in my margin anywhere the Bible talks about fear of God, because our world so misunderstands it, and it’s so important in Scripture.