Read Exodus 1:1-5
These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah;3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy[a] in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.
If you’re just joining us now, and didn’t start at the start of Genesis, let me fill you in.
We’re going to start reading the second book of the Bible, Exodus. As we do, imagine an old man named Moses (we’ll meet him very soon) sitting down to record his story, along with his understanding of its meaning.
He begins with God, because to him that’s where everything begins. Then he briefly explains the origins of life and humankind and the story of deeply ancient history as he understands it. These are the first twelve chapters of Genesis.
He’s writing what he’s heard. This is how he and others understood history from the stories they’d been told.
Those first twelve chapters tell of amazing things, weird things, hard-to-believe things, but they set the stage for the whole Story. They show how God made humankind, and then an enemy came along and tricked us into doubting God and taking life into our own hands.
I compared it to a dragon offering us his poisonous dragon-food which we ate. It created a craving in us for more and more, but it’ll kill us in the end.
Really, the whole rest of the Story is about how God – the hero – tries to rescue us from the dragon and his poisonous, addictive, food.
At chapter twelve of Genesis, Moses introduces us to Abraham, his great-great-I-don’t-know-how-many-greats grandfather.
He tells how God met Abraham and made some wonderful promises to him, but how Abraham had to wait a long, long, time before the promises were fulfilled.
A thing I especially like about the story of God and Abraham is how God works both directly in Abraham’s life – giving him a much-longed-for son – while at the same time starting a far bigger story that will reach way past Abraham and the son. The bigger story starts with a promise God makes to Abraham: that He will bless the whole world through Abraham and all his children.
Moses goes on to tell us about the land that God promised to Abraham, but at the end of Genesis neither Abraham nor any of his grandkids owns it. In fact, all the grandkids are in Egypt, because there was a famine everywhere else.
Now, we’re going to read Moses’ second book, Exodus, and see how that bigger story continues.
And I hope we’ll see how it continues not only through Exodus and the whole Bible, but all the way to your life and mine, because God keeps doing it. Moses wrote the story for his generation, but God wrote it for us, too.
What He does in a point of time, ripples through all time.
Even today. Even here, in my life and yours.