According to the Guinness World Records, the Bible is the bestselling and widely distributed Book.
Does this carry any meaning?
It is one thing to have a loaded firearm and it is another thing to know how to use it. In addition knowing how to use it does not equal to using it.
The Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature.”
I think Mahatma is right to some point. We are yet to fully appreciate and relate this Great Book.
Going through the first Book of Genesis opens up one to many attention-grabbing tit bits.
The first verse in the Bible does not tell us about God. It assumes we know who He is. Genesis 1:1 goes like this, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’. This introduction takes for granted who God is. It does not tell us about the Author. This kind of a welcome teaches me faith. It tells me that as I start to study this Book, I must approach it by Faith. Hebrews 11:6 buttresses this argument – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
The first verse of the first book in the Bible requires faith from us. The journey of studying the Bible demands faith.
As I walk through the Book, I am startled that the first man to die on the face of the earth is the one who practiced righteousness. Abel is murdered by his brother Cain. Abel’s righteousness earns him acceptance before God, and this angers Cain who is nursing rejection. (Genesis 4:8).
Righteousness earns us enmity with Satan. But it is heartwarming to know that Satan has no power to snatch anything that is in the hand of the Father (John 10:28-30).
After this I encounter Abram. It is fascinating that Abraham went to Egypt during famine – Genesis 12:10 – and later his grandson Jacob and his great grandsons run to Egypt to save themselves from famine too. Abraham is treated well then shortly he is send away in haste as God punishes Pharaoh for taking his wife. His grandson and great grandsons are first treated well too, then afterwards are subjected to slavery. God intervenes by afflicting Pharaoh. Pharaoh is forced to send them away in haste.
At times in our lives, Egypt and Pharaoh are part and parcel of destiny. There are times we will end up in Egypt. There are occasions we will collide with Pharaoh. Despite this, God’s promises cannot be frustrated by anyone.
My journey in Genesis continues and in Chapter 13 I bump into two relatives in altercation: Abram and Lot. It is ironic that the green and watered land Lot chooses to live in (i.e. after disagreeing to agree with Abraham) is Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 13:10-11). Not all watered lands around our lives are fit for settlement. Some are better left alone.
Abram astounds me. In Genesis 17:23-27, the man circumcises himself. He inflicts pain on himself. He causes himself to bleed so as to bring the covenant between him and God into binding. A similar scenario is observed in the New Testament with Jesus. He caused himself to bleed and die so that the covenant between humanity and God can be binding. Matthew 27:50, “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.”
We are supposed to circumcise our hearts. We are to beat ourselves and line up with His purposes as the Bible requires. It is a painful process, but worthy.
God promises to give Abraham a son and through this son Abraham is to become a father to many. Interestingly, after fulfillment of this promise, God comes back and tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the only hope for promise fulfillment (Genesis 22:1-2.). God’s ways are wonderful before our eyes. We are supposed to remain focused on Him despite the shifting winds in our lives. It is expensive to go through life scheming. Every now and then we just need to let go and let God.
Jacob takes blessings which are due for the first born – Genesis 27:19-29, funnily through conniving. He too, is tricked by Laban (Genesis 29:22-25). Isn’t it surprising that the last can be the first? The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.
However crafty we get, we always meet somebody craftier than us.
Joseph is the beloved son of Jacob. He report to Jacob the mischievousness of his brothers. Joseph has a dream of reigning over his brothers (Genesis 37:5-7). Shockingly he is sold as a slave to Midianites (Genesis 37:28). The happenings that follow Joseph are nowhere near his dreams.
There is always a cistern, a service and a prison before premiership. Between our God-given dreams and their actuality, there exist times and seasons that almost erase them.
The name Israel means ‘The Prince with God’, (Genesis 32:28). I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that the Prince can also starve (Genesis 42). Princes and princesses do occasionally starve.
Finally I start to move away from Genesis into the Book of Movement. I find the man Moses. Moses, at one point a murderer, is given Ten Commandments. One of the commandments states that ‘You shall not murder’. God is using a-one-time murderer to preach against murder. God can use what vexes us to bring healing to others.
Isn’t the Bible a gem of wisdom?
All the Scripture Quotations are from the New International Version.