Back to Basics
What the foundation is to the house, what the Constitution is to United States law, and what the periodic table of elements is to chemistry, the Book of Genesis is to the Bible.
An understanding of the basic truths of Genesis, especially chapters 1–11, will give you the key you need to unlock the rest of Scripture and to live to the glory of God.
But you don’t stop with Genesis 1–11; you build on it.
Let’s review some of these basics.
1. God is real and we can trust Him
2. We live in God’s creation
3. We are made in the image of God
4. Obedience is the key to usefulness, joy, and blessing
5. Satan is real, but is a defeated enemy
There is such a thing as sin
7. Sex is God’s idea and He knows best how it should be used
All humans are made of one blood
9. Israel is God’s chosen people
God doesn’t change and is always in control
Our relationship to God is based on faith
12. Living for God is the most rewarding life possible
The Christian life isn’t always the easiest life, but it is the most satisfying and rewarding life.
These are just a few of the basics found in Genesis 1–11, and illustrated and explained in the rest of the Bible.
When you give your life to Christ and build on these basic truths, you build on a solid foundation that can’t be moved.
To ignore these basics is to build on the sand and make a life that won’t survive the storms of life or the final judgment from God. Jesus calls us all back to the basics.
Read and ponder Matthew 7:21–27.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Basic, “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor Pub., 1998), 143–149.
Body: Having considered Primeval History in Genesis 1-11, seen in four major events [namely Creation (Gen.
1-2), Corruption (Gen.
3-6), Condemnation (Gen.
6-9), and Confusion (Gen.
10-11)], Moses now directs our attention to four major people, the first being Abraham (Gen.
I. Abram’s Listening Ear (Gen.
A. The Call First Out of Ur (Acts 7:2-3).
Hitherto, God had only interposed, as in the flood, and at the confounding of tongues, to arrest the attempts of man against His purposes of mercy.
But when God called Abram, He personally and actively interfered, and this time in mercy, not in judgment.
[Alfred Edersheim, Bible History: Old Testament, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), 73.]
From Ur to Canaan was about a 1,500 mile journey
Illustration - That would be like driving from Denver to Toronto, Ontario, Canada and would take twenty three hours to DRIVE in a CAR.
Imagine taking our entire church family there on camels!
2. Ur was a sophisticated, well-designed, wealthy city, providing the best available comforts of its day
3. Abram had to abandon all that was significant to him: his land, his kindred, and his father’s house
4. God never demands personal sacrifice without the compensation of even greater blessings
God’s calls are not always easy to follow.
He stressed the difficulties first of all, telling Abram he would have to leave his home and family and go into a strange land, a land which even at that time had become notorious for its wickedness, the land settled by the descendants of Canaan, the cursed son of Ham.
At the same time, God also made to Abram a wonderful promise.
He told him He would establish a great nation through him, a nation through which someday all other nations would be blessed.
This promise has justifiably been regarded as one of the first promises of the coming Savior, who would bring salvation to all nations.
God had long ago made it clear that the Savior would be born into the human family (“seed of the woman,” as promised in Genesis 3:15), and now it becomes clear to Abram that it would be accomplished through his own family.
God also promised protection, saying He would bless those that bless Abram and curse those that curse him.
This was an unconditional promise, assuming only that Abram would migrate to Canaan as God had told him.
Although this promise was made specifically to Abram, it may also have applied in a secondary and broader sense to his descendants, the Jewish nation, which has certainly been blessed and protected in a marvelous way through the centuries.
[Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1976), 294–295.]
B. The Call Reiterated While in Haran (Gen.
After Terah (Abram’s father) died, Abram left Haran
Note - Chiasm of the Greater Context:
A Genealogy of Terah (11:27–32)
B Start of Abram’s spiritual odyssey (12:1–9)
C Sarai in foreign palace; ordeal ends in peace and success; Abram and Lot part (12:10–13:18)
D Abram comes to the rescue of Sodom and Lot (14:1–24)
E Covenant with Abram; Annunciation of Ishmael (15:1–16:16)
Eʹ Covenant with Abraham; Annunciation of Isaac (17:1–18:15)
Dʹ Abraham comes to the rescue of Sodom and Lot (18:16–19:38)
Cʹ Sarah in foreign palace; ordeal ends in peace and success; Abraham and Ishmael part (20:1–21:34)
Bʹ Climax of Abraham’s spiritual odyssey (22:1–19)
Aʹ Genealogy of Nahor (22:20–24)
[Rendsburg, The Redaction of Genesis, 28–29.
29–52 for details.]
Quote - “The life of faith does not consist of one act of obedience in a single journey to some distant scene.
It is an experience continually related to the unseen and the eternal.
Its symbol is a tent, its secret is an altar.”
-Charles R. Erdman
3. Abram pitched a tent (temporary structure) for his own comfort
Illustration - Life among the Bedouin’s
4. Abram built an altar (permanent structure) for worshipping God
Abram’s Lying Tongue (Gen.
A. Famine in Canaan prompts Abram to look for relief in Egypt
Note - this is the first of 3 major famines in this patriarchal period:
B. God Apparently Allows Abram’s Flight into Egypt
Note - Apparently, God did not prohibit this journey as He did later for Isaac
1. “…went down into Egypt...” = Interpretively referencing TOPOGRAPHY, yet the English has a subtle innuendo that could apply spiritually
2. During the famine of Jacob’s time, Egypt will become a refuge for the entire family
Note - consider also the fulfillment of Jesus concerning prophecy:
But does Abram neglect to seek God’s guidance on this journey?
4. Is Abram trusting in Egypt for his help instead of God?
God had told him to go to Canaan, where He would bless him, but now it seemed that Canaan was no longer able to support him.
On the other hand, the land of Egypt was prosperous; so he finally made the decision (evidently without calling on God for guidance) to move to Egypt.
Although the Bible doesn’t say so, it is possible that this decision was reached in part because of the complaining of his wife and nephew, who had never been accustomed to hardship and whose faith was not yet as strong as that of Abram.
In any case, they all headed “down into Egypt to sojourn there.”
5. Abram’s LIE in Egypt and his later trouble with Hagar the Egyptian may point to his waywardness here
C. Abram & Sarai’s Falsification of Pertinent Information
Note - Abram and Sarai agree to say that she is his sister, instead of his wife
1. Sarai, about age 65, is a “fair [beautiful] woman” (and she’s only about half the age she will be at her death - 127!)
2. While she was his half-sister, their statement is only HALF-true; that means it was a LIE!
Quote - “Sarai, when we get down there, they’ll see you, they’ll want you, they’ll kill me, and they’ll take you...” -Evangelist Paul Schwanke
D. The Fruit of Their Disobedience