Summary – The Gospel in Genesis 1-50 and in the City

Summary – The Gospel in Genesis 1-50 and in the City

Genesis has introduced us to the Creator-Redeemer God who graciously gives mankind a garden-temple in which to serve God and from which to extend the worship of God throughout the earth.

In Adam all mankind rebels against God and is banished from the temple-garden. Prior to banishment from the temple-garden, a promise is given of a second Adam, who would not succumb to Satan’s temptation and would finally defeat Satan.

After the progression of sin and rebellion, mankind and the earth are eventually judged by God in a worldwide flood. Consequently, after the flood Noah and his descendants are given the renewed kingdom responsibility in a new world, but they also fail to extend the worship of God, choosing instead to congregate at Babel. Again, the world is judged; this time through dispersion.

God then chooses Abraham and his descendants to be the family through which the worship of God will be extended throughout the world and through which the nations of the world will be reunited in worshipping God.

The story line of Abraham’s family keeps the reader wondering whether they will be the people who will extend the worship of God throughout the earth and unify the nations in the worship of God. The story unfolds with moments of success in their being the people who carry out God’s purposes but also includes too many moments of forgetfulness, neglect, and outright rebellion against God’s purposes.

As we read Genesis through eyes and hearts illumined by New Testament revelation, we understand that the successes and failures of the descendants of Abraham provoke us to anticipate the One whom God promised would ultimately defeat Satan and not only succeed where Adam had failed but would triumph more gloriously over sin and death. Through this One the worship of God would be extended through the earth and the nations of the world would be unified in their worship of God.

Today, because of the triumph of Jesus Christ over sin and death, through His body, the church, His kingdom is quietly being extended through the earth and people of all nations are joining together in worship of the Triune God. This kingdom will be consummated in the New Heaven and Earth.

Cities are not the only places where there is evidence of that happening, but in a unique way, city churches can become a microcosm of the multi-national, multi-ethnic, world-wide worship that God desires.

Cities churches offer a greater possibility for tasting the cosmopolitan worship of the New Creation, where people from every tongue and nation will join together in the worship of the living God.

Cities offer opportunity to those who are now the seed of Abraham in Christ to be His people in extending the worship of God among the nations of the earth and seeing the diversity of the world brought together in unity in Christ.

Cities are the crucibles which test the power of the gospel to create new communities that are unified in their love of Christ and in their commitment to do justice and love mercy in the midst of depravity and diversity.

The Gospel for the City in Genesis 46-47

Jacob’s family in Egypt (46:1-47:27)

As Jacob and his family go to Egypt during the time of famine, he is assured by the Lord that the Abrahamic promise of numerous descendants will be fulfilled in Egypt and that the covenant family will eventually return to the land of promise.

While in an alien land, God continues to bless Joseph with wisdom and influence so that he becomes a blessing to the Egyptians. God prospers His people as they settle in the alien land.

27 Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly.”

This sojourn in Egypt is temporary in the plan and purposes of God. Eventually God intends to bring them out. What remains to be seen is whether the people of God will settle down in Egypt, be content with the prosperity they enjoy, and eventually lose sight of the land of promise.

Ultimately their sojourn in Egypt anticipates the greater son of Jacob, Jesus, whom God will call out of Egypt (Matt 2:15) to deliver those who are held captive either by the prosperity or the oppression of Egypt.

People in urban centers are often held captive by either the prosperity or the oppression of the city. Many come to the city and stay because cities offer a promise of economic opportunity. Others remain in the city held captive by their oppressive circumstances and are not able to find a way out. The city becomes like an Egypt that first offers prosperity but often leads to oppression. Yet, whether in prosperity or oppression, there is a restlessness of the soul.

In the midst of this restlessness, the human heart retains a feint recollection of a better promise – a place where the soul can rest. The quintessential son of Jacob, Jesus, who himself was called out of Egypt, is the one who delivers us from the Egypt of our restless of souls. Whether our souls are restless in prosperity or in oppression, they are restless and cry out for that promised place of rest. The call of Jesus needs to be heard everywhere but especially in the city: 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:28-30 ESV)