“In the Beginning…”
Torah: Genesis 1:1–6:8
PROPHETS: Isaiah 42:5–43:10
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Revelation 22:6–21
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 and 2
God’s Week Culminates In Shabbat (sabbath) [Macrocosmic view]
In the beginning… God speaks and creation begins (cf. John 1:1). Notice what God creates each day. The first day He creates light (cf. 1 John 1:5).
Day 2—sky (sometimes called “firmament,” sometimes considered “atmosphere,” but in verse 8, God calls it shamayim which we often translate heaven but which is also the “place” that birds fly (cf. v. 20).
Day 3—land, sea and vegetation. Notice how God then fills the space He created on Day 2 with sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day (vv. 14–19) and with swimming sea animals and flying sky animals on the fifth day (vv. 20–23).
God then fills the place He created on Day 3 with land animals and humans on the sixth day (vv. 24–31). What happens next (2:1–3)?
Creation’s Crown Reflects God’s Nature [Microcosmic View]
Similar ground is covered in the sheni (second section) but this time from man’s perspective. The critical issue is NOT man’s need for a helper but God’s glory that we were created to reflect! The union of male and female into one entity (through the covenant of marriage, cf. “one flesh” in v. 24) that can create in its own image reflects the One in whose image we were created. This “mystery” also points us to Messiah and His body (cf. Ephesians 5:31–32).
How can you personally reflect God’s glory whether you are single or married (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:32–35)?
Torah 3 and 4
Man’s Fall Corrupts Shalom (Peace)
The union of male and female becoming “one flesh” is one thing but being “naked and unashamed” is another.
This perfect state of harmony between God and His creation is temporarily obstructed by some very bad choices. This choice turned us away from trusting God to trusting ourselves—from trusting in God’s revelation to trusting our own reason.
This choice created devastating consequences that affect us today.
Who/what is directly cursed? Who suffers (cf. vv. 16 and 19)? How does this affect your life?
God Responds By Limiting Free Will
Our ancestors were banished from Eden as an act of mercy (3:22–24; living eternally in a fallen state is a merciless existence) and then started having kids (4:1–2).
Sibling rivalry erupts giving rise to murder. What was the rivalry about? What was it about Abel that pleased God and led him to offer the first and best of what he had (cf. Hebrews 11:4)?
Cain’s wickedness got him banished even further away.
Though outcast, Cain tries to build a name for himself under the banner of his son, Enoch (the city was named after him!).
How can you live your day today building God’s kingdom instead of building up your own?
torah 5 and 6
The Faithful Call Upon God
Cain’s line continues through Lamech.
In his pride, however, (cf. v. 24 applying Cain’s perspective in v. 15 and applying Yeshua’s perspective in Matthew 18:21–22) his line dies out (no more descendants are ever recorded).
Adam’s line, however, continues with a redeeming line through Seth and Enosh whereby people once again turn to God (cf. Genesis 12:8, Genesis 26:25, Joel 2:32, and Romans 10:11–13).
The Faithful Walk With God
Adam’s line is summarized in the chamishi (Torah 5) up until the noteworthy events in the 7th generation. What is noteworthy? What can you learn from Enoch’s life in Hebrews 11:5–6 about pleasing our heavenly Father?
Ask God to show you one specific way that He wants you to “exercise” your faith to follow/abide in His Son (cf. John 15:5).
torah 7 and conclusion
God Provides Rest
This Lamech, through Seth’s line, does not die out but gives birth to Noah.
This 10th generation marks a new beginning with sons who will repopulate the earth after the Flood.
Man’s faithlessness grieves God (vv. 1–7) whereas Noah’s faith pleases Him (v. 8).
Man Needs Rest
What can you learn from Noah’s life in Hebrews 11:7 about pleasing God? How can you apply that to your life?
God Calls His Followers To Be His Witnesses
The haftarah begins just like the Torah portion with God as the Creator of heaven and earth. Isaiah is speaking to the Jews exiled in Babylon. His words provide consolation and comfort (cf. 40:1) by describing God’s plan for Israel as the key for understanding His plan for redeeming the world from the tragic events in Genesis 3.
Though Israel is a “covenant” and a “light” on behalf of the nations (v. 6) Israel is also “deaf” and “blind” (vv. 18–19).
Nevertheless, Israel is God’s “servant” and “witness” in the world. Witness to what (cf. 43:12)? How can a deaf and blind witness be a light? How can Israel’s weakness testify to God’s strength (1 Corinthians 1:27)? How can Israel’s unfaithfulness testify to God’s faithfulness? What light does Romans 11:31–32 shed on this question?
Trusting God’s covenant faithfulness should lead us to trust and obey He Who has accepted us, Jew or Gentile, as His own through that same covenant faithfulness in Messiah Yeshua! How can you “exercise” your faith/trust in Him today?
Shabbat Rest Is Restored In Messiah
The ending of God’s word parallels its beginning. What was “undone” in the tragic Fall is “restored” in the grand finale. The right to the Tree of Life is available once again (v. 14). The entryway that was once barred (Genesis 3:24) is open again.
What did Messiah do for you two thousand years ago? What benefits do you reap today? What benefits are still future? Where is your hope (cf. Ephesians 1:18)?
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.