Established in Genesis

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 LSB “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that creeps on the earth.”

Genesis 2:21-24 LSB “So Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.22 And Yahweh God fashioned the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman, and He brought her to the man.23 Then the man said, “This one finally is bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called Woman, Because this one was taken out of Man.”24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave 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 LSB “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.2 And on the seventh day God completed 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 on it He rested from all His work which God had created in making it.”

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 LSB “Now it happened that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. Then all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses.23 And he said to them, “This is what Yahweh has spoken: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to Yahweh. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is in excess put aside to be kept until morning.”24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had commanded, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it.25 And Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to Yahweh; 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 on the seventh day, that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none.28 Then Yahweh said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?29 See, Yahweh has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man 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 LSB “Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a man with the help of Yahweh.”2 And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a cultivator of the ground.3 So it happened in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to Yahweh of the fruit of the ground.4 Abel, on his part, also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And Yahweh had regard for Abel and for his offering;5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry, and his countenance fell.6 Then Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is lying at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must 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 LSB “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.19 Then 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.”Then he gave him a tenth of all.”

Genesis 28:20-22 LSB “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey on which I am going, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear,21 and I return to my father’s house in peace, then Yahweh will be my God.22 Now this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will 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 LSB “You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean, two, a male and his female;3 also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep their seed 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.

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