Surprising Love: A Genesis Reflection

Like some of you I have been part of a church for many years. As we entered into the Year of the Bible, if I’m totally honest, I really didn’t expect to be blown away or terribly inspired by the Old Testament. If you grew up in church, you’re probably familiar with the stories of Creation, Noah’s Ark, Abraham, and his family. You’re probably aware of these characters even if you haven’t been a part of church for very long. But what I found as we began this adventure is that the Read Scripture App and The Bible Project are helping me weave MY story into the story of the WORLD including God’s plan to bless ALL people through us, HIS people.

Two themes really stood out to me in Genesis, driving home the example God’s word gives us of how we, His followers, are to interact with humanity. Throughout Genesis, God is referred to often as “the God of my Father” or “the God of my Master.”  This was usually in reference to something amazing that God had done or as part of a prayer that someone was offering when asking God to intervene. While I’m sure these phrases were simply cultural, it made me wonder how I could apply this personally. I realized what an honor it would be if, in representing Christ, people (even those family, friends and acquaintances who are not yet followers of Him,) recognized His work in my life! Imagine a co-worker saying, “The God of Cheryl Wood did this!” or “I can tell by the way she lives that the God of Cheryl Wood is real. I’m going to ask for His help.” This is one example of God using us to bless all people.

The other example of this stood out to me in Genesis 47:7-10 when Jacob was introduced to Pharaoh. Twice within these verses it tells us that Jacob, grandson of Abraham who was a worshipper of God, BLESSED Pharaoh, who not only was almost certainly a worshipper of many gods, but likely exalted himself to the position of a god…definitely not a “righteous” man. But Jacob blessed him anyway! I realize that he probably had an obligation out of fear for his life to show respect to him, but he went beyond that and blessed him.  When I meet people whose beliefs and lifestyles stand in stark contradiction to mine, what is my response? Do I bless them (with acts of kindness, invitations for fellowship, prayer, etc.) or do I reject, judge, avoid or criticize them? Ouch!

Genesis reminded me that God’s plan to bless ALL people through a family that He set aside for Himself is His plan for me…for us today.  Just as the family of Abraham was appointed to introduce the Messiah into the world, so are we, His children set aside to introduce Him to OUR world. What an honor!

-Cheryl Wood