Searching for Hope in Ancient Biblical Stories Are the ancient Biblical stories narratives of an angry God, violence, and judgment? Are they only an ancient historical document? Are they lists of rules, commandments, and traditions?
Or, are they a history of a God who loves people, offers them hope, and works with courageous men and women who accept the call to preach peace, mercy, and justice?
Join us for this series of short lessons from the ancient Biblical narrative of God’s people interacting with a world and culture that needs hope, love, and compassion.
We have been discussing the book of Genesis, also known as the book of Creation in the Hebrew Bible. God, as creator, began all life as an act of love, care, nurturing, and design. God created order out of chaos, humans in the image of their divine creator, and offered humans the potential to choose good and live forever. Since humans have free choice, as opposed to creation which obeys the voice of God, we also have the potential to rebel, disobey, or choose that which is not good.
This episode will discuss the famous “Tower of Babel…” Since the flood the population of people has once again spread throughout the earth. In Genesis 10 there are lists of Noah’s descendants and their various tribes and languages. They had responded to the command that God had given both Adam and Noah—“Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth…”They were doing well but something stopped the movement. A tower, a people, and fear stopped the movement briefly—yet God intervened so that the people could continue to grow, as they had in Genesis 10. Scattering, growing, and moving forward often are hindered when fear takes over. As it was in the ancient world, so it seems to be today. Fear hinders growth and causes us to struggle to be who God has called us to be.
Let's open Genesis 11 and let’s search this ancient story and find hope through the God of Second Chances.
Our story today provides an example of how God’s order, can return to chaos. As we mentioned in the very first episode, Genesis 1 explained that God created order out of chaos. Chaos, or in the Hebrew Tohu vaBohu, represented the darkness, deep, and formless void before Creation. It also represented the depths of the ocean. In the ancient world, chaos was often a monster from the sea, the depths or a pit, a serpent, or a god who ruled the underworld. In the Hebrew Bible God controls the deep, the sea monster, the ocean, the pit, or the serpent. These forces are constantly battling with Yahweh, but God controls, overpowers, and forces them to submit. The story of the Bible is that God establishes order, structure, and beauty out of chaos.
As we read in the last episode, sin and rebellion began to grow within the people created in the image of their God. While all nature obeys the voice of God, humans struggle—yet we still are given free will. The first man and woman, along with their son Cain made wrong choices, which in turn began to affect the earth. The land was cursed due to Adam and Eve’s sin, continued to be cursed when Cain murdered his brother Abel, and cities became the norm. Sin harms not only human relationships, but the earth.
This culminated in a story of the flood. The flood was more than a destruction by water, it represented the return of chaos. However, as always, God had another plan.
In the midst of water—hope, peace, and salvation.
Let’s turn to Genesis 6 and find the hope offered by the God of Second Chances.
God, as creator, began all life as an act of love, care, nurturing, and design. God created order out of chaos, humans in the image of their divine creator, and offered humans the potential to choose good and live forever. Since humans have free choice, as opposed to creation which obeys the voice of God, we also have the potential to rebel, disobey, or choose that which is not good. Last time males and females, who were to complement each other, were divided and resisted the choice to do good.
Today, that story continues with the sons Cain and Abel, who also live in tension and against each other. This story, in Genesis 4, reminds us, once again, that all of us have the potential to do good. Open your Bibles, turn to Genesis 4, and let’s explore the God of Second Chances, as we Search for Hope in this Ancient Biblical Story.
In this Episode we discuss what is commonly known as “The Fall of Humans.” In this story, Genesis 3, we read about Adam, Eve, and the dreaded Serpent or Snake also known as the devil. Humans were created in the image of God and allowed to live in the garden, also known as paradise. They were allowed to eat of any tree they wished except one—the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If they ate from this tree, God said that they would die.
Imagine all the good trees in this garden. I am sure if we thought for a few minutes we could name many fruit, nut, or other trees that would we would enjoy eating from. We don’t know how many trees were there, but we know that they could have ALL of them—except one.
Why was this one tree so enticing?
Why would humans ignore the good and choose that which was bad?
Will we continue to live this way forever?
Let’s take some time today to discuss Genesis 3 as we explore the God of Second Chances: Searching for Hope in Ancient Biblical Stories.
In our episode today we discuss Genesis 1:26-31.God creates human beings in the image of our Lord and offers us a ministry and role in this creation. This not only elevates us above the earth, the skies, and animals, but provides us with a responsibility to reflect the love and power of our Creator. What does it mean to be created in God’s image? What does it mean to guard and protect the earth? What does it mean to be “very good”?
Let’s open our Bibles and journey together to witness The God of Second Chances: Searching for Hope in the Ancient Bible Stores.
In this book there are many creations. We might remember that this book tells us of the creation of the cosmos, the universe, the world, animals, plants, creatures, and humans. However, there are many “creations” in this first book. God creates covenants, or relationships, with various characters, the earth, and families. The Jewish nation found it’s “creation” in this book while many other ancient civilizations have their origins in this book. Genesis truly is a book of creation and it is this book, that begins with the phrase, “In the creation, God created” Berushit Bara Elohim.
This is a powerful phrase. “In the Creation God Created,” tells us that God is always creating, always active, and in the process of new beginnings—God is working. In the midst of life, of newness, of activity—we find God making something new, something active, something fresh. That is why this book is the book of creation—it tells us that God creates something from nothing.
So turn to your Bibles and let’s read what God is creating…