1.6 Genesis 12-14

Stephen Van Bueren

January 6

Genesis 12-14

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:  Genesis 12-14 details God’s call of Abram (Abraham) and His initial promise to Abram that He would make him into a great nation. To be honest, there are stories that leave you scratching your head – like Abram forcing his wife Sarai (Sarah) to pretend to be his sister??? This section of chapters includes the introduction of Lot, Abram’s nephew. As they go their separate ways, Lot chooses an area of land that from a distance looked appealing to the eye, however, as we later read, Lot settled near Sodom – underscoring that the “grass is not always greener on the other side.” It concludes with Abram’s rescue mission, after Lot has been captured – and the blessing he received from Melchizedek.

What is one key verse? 

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you’…So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”

Genesis 12:1,4 

Abram (Abraham) became known as the “father of faith” and though it wasn’t until chapter 15:6 that it says that his faith in God was credited to him as righteousness – I believe that is was here, in Genesis 12:1-4 that Abram’s faithfulness was born. The sister passage to this is found in Hebrews 11:8, where it says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” 

How does what you read change your vision of God?  I think that from what I read, God is more interested in our faithfulness to Him and what He may ask of us, than He is in our comfort. Abram (Abraham) at this point in time, was established in his life. He was married, had his extended family around, had done what could be assumed as fairly well in life that he had accumulated a lot of “stuff.” And it was at this point that God called Abram to give up those securities and comforts to follow Him into what would be so far better.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?  The change for me personally is the call for me to be willing to follow God into the unknown – while being faithful that whatever or wherever He is calling me to, it will be far better than the “comforts” of staying put in “Haran.”

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)  I want to be faithful to do the best I can, with what I have, where I am at – but then be willing to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance – even if I don’t know exactly where that may lead me.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)  I have always been blown away by Abram’s faith to leave and go, even though he didn’t know where he was going. However, in my time of pondering these passages, I have realized that Jesus obeyed and left what was far more “comfortable” and “secure” when he chose to leave heaven to come down to earth to be with us.

1.4 Genesis 10-11

Jill Perez

January 4th

Genesis 10-11

Genesis 10-11 continues the thought of the origins of human beings.  With Genesis 10 focused on the table of nations or family records. Genesis 11 the tower of Babel.  Chapter 11 starts out mentioning that the WHOLE EARTH was unified and spoke one language. The sons of Adam traveled to the land of Shinar to live and they built a great tower for themselves (to reach to heaven), but the Lord confused their language, since they were going against God’s plan.  Later in the chapter we see the details of Shem’s generation which includes Abram marrying Sarai.

What is one key verse?

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Genesis 11:4

This scripture stood out to me because the people lost sight of God so quickly and it became what they wanted instead of what God wanted with a Godly slant that they wanted the building to reach to the heavens and they didn’t want to be scattered about.

How does what you read change your vision of God?  This scripture changes my vision of God because he is so loving and patient.  He could have destroyed them immediately for not doing what he said, but he works to urge us into his direction.  First he came down to check out what was happening, then he expressed the good of what he saw, then he went into action.  I’m sure it took time for those languages to be developed. God is like a loving parent caring for his chicks that may be wandering into danger and gently uses his wings to usher his loved ones to safety or a better path.  He is not harsh or quick to reprimand but does not let them give in to their desires, fears or wants. God is the one and only HERO.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?  This scripture changes me because life is not about me and what I can accomplish.  It’s about what God can do through me and others and it helps me to be patient with others (as a parent and a mentor) when I see something that is taking them further away from God instead of closer.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)  I want to remember how patient and loving God is and extend that to others.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters?  (What made you think about Jesus) The fact that Jesus was always about God’s purpose and was never about making himself greater than him.  He always did what God wanted him to do and he had to endure the most difficult of circumstances.  

1.3 Genesis 6-9

1.3 Genesis 6-9

Phil Perez

January 3rd

Genesis 6-9

Chapters 6-9 contain the account of Noah and the flood.  God recognizes that man’s wickedness was widespread over the earth.  God was grieved that he had made man (6.6) and warned Noah of a forthcoming flood and commanded Noah to build an ark for him and his family.  We don’t know how long it took Noah to build the ark, but once the floods began it was the Lord who shut Noah and his family in the Ark (7.16) before 40 days and 40 nights of rain and the floodgates of heaven and below being opened.  

The flood recedes and on Noah’s six hundred and first birthday God removed the cover from the ark.  God promises never again to destroy the earth by flooding and never again will he curse the ground. God provides the rainbow as a sign of the covenant made God and Noah and all living creatures on earth.  Chapter nine ends with an event that has some parallels to Genesis 3. Noah, a man of the soil is the first one to plant a vineyard and after drinking some of the wine becomes drunk (no indication he knew it would make him drunk).  Just as in Chapter 3 there is an event that includes nakedness, shame and a curse.  

One key verse from the selected reading is 6.22 and 7.5 “Noah did everything that the Lord commanded him” (HCSB)

Noah was a man who regarded obedience to God as a high priority in his life.  God referred to Noah as a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries (6.9).   

  • Obedience to God is not something that is to be minimized or taken for granted.  It is easy to get selective or dismissive at times with God’s commands.  
  • Obeying the commands of God set Noah apart and saved Noah and his family when the whole world was wicked and corrupt around him. 
  • Even Jesus had a lot in common with Noah and was a man of obedience as it says in Hebrews 5.7 “During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of his reverent submission.” HCSB

1.2 Genesis 3-5

Beth Nagel

January 2

Genesis 3-4

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:  Genesis 3 & 4 details the first people – Adam and Eve and their sons, Cain and Abel.  These two chapters are full of examples of God interacting with the first people and sets the foundations for how we walk with God today.  Nearly everyone knows these stories – they are taught to our children and adults alike. Genesis 3 & 4 shows Adam and Eve eating from the forbidden tree and the jealousy and anger of Cain toward his brother, Abel.  These two chapters also include God’s responses to his people’s sin.

What is one key verse? 

Genesis 3:21 “And the LORD GOD made for Adam and his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”

How does what you read change your vision of God?  Genesis 3:21 stuck out to me while I was reading these two familiar chapters.  I had never noticed this verse before and I believe that it shows the depth of God’s grace, mercy and compassion.  Here Adam and Eve have betrayed God and ruined the life in the garden that God created. God doesn’t spare Adam and Eve the consequences of their actions – Genesis 3:16-20 details the curses God’s people will endure because of this sin.  However, right after issuing a curse, God then makes sure that Adam and Eve are clothed. It says that God made them clothes from skins. How kind! How loving! God takes care of his people even after they have messed up. This is grace and mercy.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?  These two chapters and God’s example of mercy toward Adam and Eve does make me see the new depths of God’s grace. 

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)  I want to remember God’s grace toward Adam and Eve when I sin and I want to extend that to those around me as well.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)  I read a few commentaries that made the point that Jesus is first mentioned in Genesis 3:15 when God tells the serpent that the woman’s offspring will bruise the serpent’s head.

12 practical suggestions for reading well in 2020

(modified from an article by George H. Guthrie – written by Phil Perez)

  1. Read prayerfully – Reading the bible is a spiritual exercise, and you need spiritual power.
  2. Read joyfully – Allow your reading to bring joy to your life.
  3. Meditate on what you are reading – When we chew our food it digests better.  When we wolf it down it gives indigestion.
  4. Read for transformation – The bible is not merely meant to inform, it is meant to transform.
  5. Read with perseverance – Commit yourself to being consistent the next 10 weeks to get started.
  6. Read realistically – If you take just 20 minutes a day you can get through the whole book in a year.  
  7. Read at a consistent time – Try to make a distraction free setting if possible.
  8. Read with a commentary – Have tools that help you understand.
  9. Read with a pen in hand – Underline key passages, make notes in the margins, notes on a computer.  Whatever helps.
  10. Read in light of the immediate context – We need not just big picture but also little picture understanding of the bible scenes.  
  11. Read as part of the community – Interact with those from DeKalb, Lansing, and Fort Wayne regarding how the word has struck you.
  12. Read the overarching story – Let this be a year you understand more how each book fits within the themes of the whole bible.