You have 2 reading options: read the Full selection of Scripture, or an Overview chapter for each day.
The opening chapters of Genesis show our need for God’s grace. The dark underside of humanity is made plain to us in very early in the Creation story, along with foreshadowed warnings of the consequences we face when we attempt to live our lives without God.
This “book of beginnings,” Genesis, opens with a separation of light and darkness. God’s light prevails and God declares the creation to be good. In chapter two, humans are created as free moral agents. They are given the option of following the way of God—the way of light—or of turning from God and walking in darkness. Adam and Eve decide to give the dark side a try. With their fall into sin, havoc comes into the world. God steps in and by grace provides an alternative. He sacrifices an animal to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, a picture and foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice that would eventually be provided by God when he would send His Son, Jesus Christ, to become a sacrifice for our sins.
This same theme–the human choice between light and darkness—dominates the first fifteen chapters of Genesis. In chapter 4, Cain kills Abel. God provides Adam and Eve a third son named Seth to replace the son they lost. Launching the godly line through which the Messiah will eventually come, Seth reminds us that God loves us enough to provide a way to be reconciled with Him even when we fall miserably short. The chapter continues by warning humanity about the destructive influence and depressing results of trying to live for ourselves rather than for God. Through Cain’s lineage, from the seven generations beginning with Adam and ending with Lamech, we see the tragic consequences of sin: hate, revenge, and death.
Chapter 5: the fruits of righteousness are seen in the nine generations listed, from Adam to Noah, who brings the world a promise of rest. Lives in this line become freer and fuller, with reminders of the blessings that will come to those who love and obey God.
In Genesis 6, God expresses His grief about humanity’s dark underside. It became so bad that, “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (v.5 NIV). God guides Noah to build the ark, another foreshadowing of the salvation God would later offer through Christ, the one Door to eternal life. Only Noah and his family board the boat to be part of a new beginning. The earth is covered in water in chapter 7, and the waters recede in chapter 8. Chapter 9 reveals the covenant with Noah—a promise of a new start with all of humanity—along with God’s assurance that he won’t again bring a worldwide flood. We will later see in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire, however, a hint of God’s plan to eventually remake heaven and earth through an inferno that burns away the dark underside forever. Chapter 10 provides a table of the nations and in chapter 11, evil begins to dominate once more. This time, God divides people by languages. Much as firewalls are created by firefighters to prevent a forest fire from spreading, God uses division through languages to slow the spread of evil.
In chapters 12 to 15, we are introduced to the first of the patriarchs, Abraham. He is called by God to travel to the land God will show him, where God’s covenant with him is reconfirmed and strengthened.
1. What most troubles you in Genesis 1-15? What encourages you as you read these chapters?
2. List things you would like to discuss with others. If you are not in a group that allows for such discussion, consider gathering some friends—online or in person—to meet each week. Check out the excellent and time-tested resources designed to aid your read here. Keep a list of your questions to fold into the discussion.
3. Take a few minutes to pray, asking God to cover any known sin in your life with the grace God offers through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Thank you, Lord, that Jesus came to place His righteousness over us, that we might be Your children and live in Your light. Forgive my sins, known and unknown, and transform me into Your image. And deepen Your work in me as I learn and grow through this Bible-reading journey. Amen.
Everyone struggles with their dark underside. People need to be regularly reminded about God’s bright upside: He loves us and offers us His grace. Take a few minutes to write a note or share a word of encouragement to someone who needs it.
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