Tag Archives: Genesis

Numbers 1 – Promises

Moses has, with YHWH’s direction and doing, successfully brought the people of Isreal out of their bondage in the land of Egypt.  He has brought them to Mount Sinai, the Lord’s / YHWH’s mountain, and brought them face to face with God / YHWH.  From there, YHWH has given the people direction, understanding, and instruction.  They have built a tabernacle for YHWH to go with them, and it is getting ready for the people to start heading out.

In the meantime, the people need to be prepared.  They will be taking the promised land.  They will be fighting battles and defeating nations of people who had allowed their sin to consume them to the point of their being vomited out by the land they live in.  As such the men of Israel need to be aware of who they are, what they are capable of, and how many of them are going out to war.  So God / YHWH calls them to do something simple.  Number yourselves.  Figure out how many there are who can fight and go to war.  So every male 20 years old and older has to register by their families and tribes.  They must make themselves known and be prepared for war.

So the leader of each tribe goes about getting their people registered.  In the end, all the males 20 years old and up of the sons of Israel amounts to 603,550 men.  Not counting women and children under the age of 20, and not even counting one of the tribes.  The Levites have been set aside to serve the LORD / YHWH.  As such, approximately 1/12th of the people aren’t even considered for the census  That is a lot of people!

What’s amazing to me is that just over 500 years before this census occurred, God made a promise to 1 elderly man and his elderly, barren wife;
Go forth from your country,  And from your relatives  And from your father’s house,  To the land which I will show you;  And I will make you a great nation,  And I will bless you,  And make your name great;  And so you shall be a blessing;  And I will bless those who bless you,  And the one who curses you I will curse.  And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:16)
So from 2 elderly and barren people and a promise from YHWH, around 500 years later is this huge, massive nation divided into 12 tribes with an army of over 600,000 men aged 20 and older with 1/12 of them not even involved in that number.  Now that’s what I call fulfilling a promise!

What kind of promises has God / YHWH made in your life?  Are they promises you are working to fulfill, or are you trusting completely in Him to do all the work and fulfill them for you?  Think about it…

Rev. John

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Leviticus 18 – Defiled

This chapter is a very controversial chapter and tends to bring up all kinds of questions and debate.  In it YHWH deals with defilement (primarily sexual defilement); what defiles the people and what defiles the land.  In this chapter YHWH gives instruction for the people not to uncover their relative’s nakedness (or have sexual relations with them).  Incest is forbidden including incestual relations between a man and his mother, a father and his daughter-in-law, a man and both a woman and her daughter, and other relations.

There are other issues at work in this chapter as well.  For instance there is the command not to uncover a woman’s nakedness during her menstrual period, not to sleep with a neighbor’s wife, and not to sacrifice your child to Molech (this doesn’t happen anymore… does it?).  Each of these issues is very important and significant and should in no way be minimized.

However, the most controversial verse in this chapter (according to the current cultural view) is verse 22: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”  You can see where a big part of the controversy begins here.  There are many that say that this passage does not apply anymore due to Christ having fulfilled the law.  That since Christ came and died and was raised again, and the curtain to the most holies was torn, we are no longer bound by the law.  We do not have to fulfill the sacrificial rules and regulations because Christ became the perfect sacrifice.  Since this passage is part of the legal instructions given to the Israelite people, it is completed and fulfilled and no longer applicable to us.

To some extent, that is an accurate (albeit flawed) understanding of Christ’s fulfillment of the law.  This entire chapter holds a different kind of sway than most of the rest of the law.  It is true to some extent that the law was for the nation of Israel, but this chapter is about what supersedes that law.  Verses 24-25 explain this a little bit better:
Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.  For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.
It doesn’t take an exegetical genius to understand that the commands in this chapter aren’t limited to the people of the Israelite nation.  These are laws that defy nature itself.  They are not limited to the people of Israel.  They apply to all people and all time.  It is because of these kinds of sins that the Israelites have the right, and the responsibility to not only conquer the land of Canaan, but to destroy its inhabitants as well.  The land itself has judged the Canaanites and is spewing them out because of the sins listed in this chapter.  The Israelites are simply tools to the fulfillment of that justice.

So how should we respond to those caught up in these kinds of sins?  Are we to judge and condemn them?  Is that our “right”?  I don’t believe so.  God says, “Judge not, lest you be judged.”  In that passage He is referring to not judging those of the world.  That judgment is His, not ours to dole out.  However, in I Corinthians 5 we are instructed to judge those within the body that are sinning against the body, and the sin refereed to there is a sin directly related to this chapter.  It was a sin being accepted and even praised within the church that should have been condemned.  That is a pattern we would be wise to heed.  The leaders of the church are responsible for understanding and responding appropriately to sin within the body.  In NO WAY should the church be lifting up and encouraging within the body what YHWH has condemned.  We are to be the light of hope to the troubled and struggling, not following in the defilement of the world.

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Exodus 29-1 – Setting Apart

It becomes the responsibility of Aaron and his sons to serve the LORD; to come between the people and YHWH; to bring the people, their requests, their need for cleansing to the LORD.  As such Aaron and his sons needed to have one foot on the earth, and the other in the doorway to heaven.  How do you balance the impurity and sin that is so prevalent in the world with the awesome purity and Holiness of God?  Talk about a difficult task; yet that is what Aaron and his sons are charged with doing.

The first steps in fulfilling that role are described here.  Before anything else, Aaron and his sons need to be separated from the group and cleansed both physically and spiritually.  They are responsible for being representatives / ambassadors / spokesmen of men to God.  Therefore in coming into God’s presence they must be as close to clean and pure as humanly possible.  So in this process, Moses is responsible to follow YHWH’s instruction and purify Aaron and his sons.

Could you imagine having the responsibility of being the one that stands between man and YHWH?  Every day you must perform your duties and bring the sacrifices and offerings of the people before Him.  Thus the process of being set apart for God is extremely important.

One thing of interest that i did note, in these first 25 verses of Exodus 29, is that in verse 22 it talks about taking the fat from the ram and from all of these different parts, and then it says, “and the right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination)“.  When i was looking at this, i thought it was kind of weird that it said to take the fat from the kidneys, and the fat from the entrails, and the fat tail, etc. and then randomly talked about the right thigh because it is a ram of ordination.

It does seem kind of strange, but not so much when you refer back to Genesis 32:24-32.  This passage in Genesis is where Jacob, who had been blessed and set apart by God, wrestles with God.  God touches his thigh socket and he has a limp from then on, and the sons of Jacob do not touch the sinew of the thigh of the meat that they eat.  It is an interesting parallel.  I don’t know beyond a doubt that this is what this is referring to, but it sure does give you pause to think.

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Exodus – Introduction

It’s amazing to me  to consider that Genesis is done.  I have made a personal copy of one of the most powerful and influential books ever written.  All 50 chapters word-for-word.  Now we enter a new era.  It is a time of re-revelation; a time of hope, struggle, inspiration, and new life (revival).

Four-Hundred years have passed since the close of Genesis.  The Israelites have gone from blessed and honored guests to mistreated and abused slaves.  The Pharaoh who knew and loved Joseph and insisted that the Israelites had to stay there has long since died and been forgotten.  Since then the Egyptians have become concerned with how blessed the Israelites have been, and how quickly they are growing.

The Israelites are here residing on their land and overrunning them like rats in the sewer.  The Egyptians realize that if they don’t do something about this “Hebrew problem” soon, it’ll be too late.  So a “wise” Pharaoh decides that it’s time to turn the table on these Israelite invaders.  He begins by hiring them.  He uses them for cheap labor.  Pharaoh even goes down to help work in the trenches.  He takes his clean robe off and becomes one of the men; doing the work of the masses.

However, what has started out as hard work for a decent wage becomes sweatshop work, then eventually slavery under whips and cruel taskmasters.  The Israelites are toiling and dying under the abuse and under the expectation of their daily quota.  So, they begin crying out for help from the God of their fathers.

This is the God that they know only from their history; the stories passed down of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob / Israel and their covenants with Him.  The Israelites are surrounded by the many gods of the Egyptians, each one with a name, a face, and a purpose.  Yet their God seems to have none of those things.  Yet in order to worship Him properly, the Israelites need to know these things.  Is He one of the gods of the Egyptians?  How about one of the Baals from a neighboring nation?  Maybe he’s Moloch of the Ammonites?

How do you serve a God that you do not know?  How do you cry out to Him?  How do you appease Him when He is angry at you for some unknown transgression and therefore allowing you to be mistreated, beaten, and killed, and He doesn’t appear to be doing anything about it?  What do you do!?!

That’s the backdrop of this book.  The Israelites don’t realize that this is part of a plan much bigger than they are.  A plan with a story that is about to play out for all of history to see.  Their Exodus is about to begin…

In the meantime, what does this say about us?  How are we treating those who are sojourning in our land?  …those who have left their homes due to famine, troubles, and a desire for a better life?  Do we treat them with contempt because they don’t speak very good English?  Do we kick  them out and tell them “We don’t want your kind here”?  Do we put them into sweatshops, one step above slavery; sometimes not even a step above?  Do we fear  them like the Egyptians did, or do we embrace them?  What is God’s plan?

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Genesis – Word Cloud

Genesis posts - white

Genesis posts as word cloud - white

 

 

Genesis posts - black

Genesis posts as word cloud - black

 

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Genesis 50 – Mourning & Hope

What is the difference between happiness and joy?  How about between mourning and dismay?  What keeps trials from becoming desperation, and sadness from depression?  There is one word; one concept or idea that divides these from each other.  That is hope.  Hope creates joy (long-term & deeply rooted) rather than happiness (short-term & fleeting).  Hope separates mourning (the natural response  to loss) from dismay (fear of facing the future resulting from loss).  This almost undefinable, nugget of life we call hope is a key and defining ingredient that separates sadness from depression.

Jacob is dead; he has died of old age.  The time of mourning is here, and Joseph and his brothers work to fulfill their responsibility to bury him in the cave of his fathers resting place.  There is a huge procession of Israelites and Egyptians that carries the body of Jacob to the burial mound.  All that is expected and more has been done.

With the passing of their father, Joseph’s older brothers begin to lose that hope.  Their past sin that has continued to haunt them their entire lives now comes to a head.  What will Joseph do to them?  What will he do to their families and children?  Will he enslave them as they did to him?  Will he treat them with cruelty and contempt?  Will he have Pharaoh and the Egyptians do it for him?  So many troubles caused by one choice.  They fear because of the seeds sown by their own actions so long ago.

What does Joseph do?  He relieves them of those full grown weeds; the result of those seeds planted so long ago.  He gives them hope.  He tells them that all that they did was part of the plan meant not for the destruction of his life, but for life for the Egyptians and themselves.  They have no need to fear.  They have no need to be troubled.  God has a plan bigger than they are, and all this trouble and fear is simply wasted life.

How about us?  Do we have a hope, or are we buried in our mourning and fear?  Does mourning turn to dismay and sadness become depression?  It’s time to let all of that go, and to seek the hope that has been freely offered and given.  The one who has created us has a plan.  He has a purpose that includes you and me.  We need to pursue Him… to find He who has been pursuing us.  Are you ready?

 

Rev. John Camiolo

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Genesis 49 – Jacob’s Last

Well, Genesis is almost done.  It is the beginning’s end.  I really liked copying this chapter down.  It was easy to process and write as there is a solid thought on each line (or in the least a solid chunk of a solid thought).  It makes the process, oh, so much easier!

Israel has some final words to say to each of his sons.  It is here that Jacob makes changes to the natural order of his progeny.  Reuben was the firstborn, but here he officially loses that honor and privilege due to his hasty actions of sleeping with his father’s concubine.  Yeah, now that was smart, Reuben </sarcasm>!  Simeon and Levi are next in line, but they both lose that honor due to their rash decision to annihilate the Hivites  (chapter 34)  whose prince raped their sister Dinah.  In fact, Simeon ended up receiving no natural inheritance at all when the Israelites reentered the land of Canaan.

So that left Judah to become heir apparent.  He received the lion’s share of the blessing and inheritance (and gave some to Simeon because it was too much for them).  Judah also received the blessing of having the Messiah, the Christ, come through his line.

It’s interesting to note that this is probably the last time that Joseph specifically gets named in the listing of the sons/tribes of Israel.  From now on, Joseph’s place is taken by the half-tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph’s two sons that Israel claimed as his own in chapter 48).

After charging his sons (i like the way this brings the word “charging” into a clearer understanding than the way we recognize it today) to bury him with his fathers in the cave at the end of the field bought from Ephron, Jacob finally breathes his last.

What do we do to ruin our inheritance?  Are we like Reuben, Simeon, and Levi allowing our rash, unthinking, and angry natures to destroy our blessings?  Is that even possible?  Think on these things.

Also of note, there are some interesting names of God that appear in this text: Abir Yacob (Mighty One of Jacob), Ra-ah (Shepherd), Eben Yisrael (Stone of Israel), Shaddai (Almighty), and of course El (God).

Rev. John

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