Genesis is a book of beginnings. In it, we find the creation, humanity, the flood, the story of redemption begins to unfold, and the nation of people is promised to Abraham. God begins to set things in order very quickly, and certain things established in Genesis carry through the entirety of Scripture. For example, Malachi 3:6 says, “I am the Lord; I do not change.” It’s easy to assume that before Exodus twenty, there was no law, but we will see several things established in Genesis that the law codifies.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
Genesis 1:27-28 NKJV “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 2:21-24 NKJV “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
The family is the first institution God established, and it is important to Him; this is why genealogies are so prominent in Scripture. The enemy has always tried to destroy the family. The first murder is between two brothers, Cain and Abel. Much of the sin in Scripture takes place within the family unit or outside in a way to destroy it. We must stand guard for the protection and sanctity of our family and families around us. God was clear about what constitutes a family, and any deviation from what is outlined in Genesis is to be rejected.
THE SABBATH FOR REST
Genesis 2:1-3 NKJV “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
Much debate has been had in the Church over the Sabbath, but the bottom line is God established it for our good. Rest was turned into a burden in the time of Jesus, but that is why He constantly healed on the Sabbath and had discussions with the Pharisees on the correct observance of the holiday.
The Sabbath was even in place in the wilderness before the Ten Commandments were given. Exodus 16:22-30 NKJV “And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’” 24 So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. 25 Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” 27 Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. 28 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? 29 See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore, He gives you on the sixth-day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.”
While I do not advocate a legalistic observance, the very thing Jesus corrected, the fact is, we all need rest, and that is why God instituted the Sabbath. Yes, we have spiritual rest in Christ, but our bodies still need physical rest, and that is why God instituted the blessing of sabbath rest, which the enemy has been trying to turn into a burden ever since.
TITHING AND GIVING
I’m writing a blog, not taking up an offering, so before you say I want your money, I don’t. The tithe, just like the Sabbath, is not a legalistic issue. Giving a tithe is a way to show love and honor to God. He established the tithe from the beginning.
Genesis 4:1-7 NKJV “Now Adam knew Eve, his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time, it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
How did Cain and Abel know about giving? Adam must have said something to them about it. Could it be that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a form of the tithe? Scripture does not say how the tithing principle was given, but it is in place from the earliest record of Scripture.
Genesis 14:18-20 NKJV “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.”
Genesis 28:20-22 NKJV “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Tithing and Giving were established by God so that we would have a way to honor Him and bless others. Of course, anything can be abused, and the subject of tithing and giving has been. However, that does not change the fact that it has been a principle from the beginning. Giving has always been an issue of the heart, which is why Cain’s offering was rejected.
CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS
Genesis 7:2-3 NKJV “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.”
Noah was before the law, so how were there clean and unclean animals? As we have seen, God’s character and ways were present and established before it was in the form of written law.
Gentiles are indeed free to eat as they desire. However, it is not true that Jesus nullified the dietary laws; neither did Peter’s vision nor Paul’s comments. Jesus took issue with the demand for ceremonial washing, not the food itself. Peter’s vision likewise was not about food but willingness to accept Gentiles in the faith. Paul also did not come against dietary laws but instead said do not judge someone whether they do or do not eat, whether they do or do not observe feasts.
ESTABLISHED FOR BENEFIT
Tithing, Sabbath, and clean versus unclean animals are generally seen as a law issue, but as we have seen, each was established in Genesis before there was a written law. This affirms the fact that God’s character and ways are consistent. When we read Genesis through Deuteronomy, we need to read with the lenses of blessing and grace. The Old and New Testaments are not opposed to each other; they are two parts of a whole. Noah found grace in the eyes of God, and Galatians says we are blessed with believing Abraham. Abraham is our father in the faith. Let us read Genesis and the entire Old Testament with the lenses of blessing and receive the instruction God intends for us.