Genesis/Exodus Week 13

“Survival in the Wilderness”: Exodus 14:1–19:25

God solved Israel’s first wilderness problem: the lack of water. But when they encounter a second problem — the lack of food — amnesia sets in again. Instead of recalling how Moses had turned bitter water into sweet, they complain to Moses and Aaron. Full reading and audio …

Genesis/Exodus Week 12

“From the Frying Pan Into the Fire”: Exodus 11:1–15:27

We have come to the final plague with which God afflicts Egypt. This one, too, is reflective of divine sovereignty. This time around, according to the Lord, the result will be Pharaoh’s release of Israel. But with this plague there is a twist. Full reading and audio …

Genesis/Exodus Week 11

“God Versus Egypt”: Exodus 5:1–10:29

The first episode in this section lays the groundwork for understanding issues involved in God’s rescuing of Israel and confrontation with Egypt. Moses and Aaron ask Pharaoh to let the people go into the wilderness to celebrate in behalf of the Lord (YHWH), the God of Israel. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 10

“Unlikely Heroes”: Exodus 1:1–4:31

As Exodus begins we are immediately struck by something positive and something negative. The former is that Jacob’s/Israel’s descendants have grown exponentially: “the land was filled with them”. This is hardly happenstance. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 9

“Lurking Providence”: Genesis 39:1–50:26

Once Joseph is under his Egyptian master Potiphar, we learn that God is with him (Genesis 39:2, 3, 21, 23). The phrase is curious in that, so far, one is hard put to see divine favor on him. So far his brothers have plotted to kill him (37:18), tossed him into a pit (37:24), and then sold him into slavery (37:28). Does this seem blessed? Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 8

“Conflict in God’s Family”: Genesis 37:1–38:30

Every Sunday-school child knows the Joseph story. Joseph, who dominates every chapter from Genesis 37 on (except Chapter 38) is among the more admirable biblical characters. Still, calling this material the “Joseph Story” is not quite accurate. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 7

“Saving the Future and Seeing the Face of God”: Genesis 25:1–36:42

Isaac comes into focus once his parents die. Abraham’s other children reflect good fortune, but only Sarah’s child, Isaac, counts in terms of God’s agenda. Pointedly, Abraham keeps his other offspring separated from Isaac. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 6

“Exclusive Election and Inclusive Purpose”: Genesis 12:1–24:67

We knew a little about Abram and Sarai previously (11:26, 31). But there is no indication that their travels had a religious dimension. That changes when God commands Abram to leave his country, his relatives, and his father’s house to go to a land to be identified later (12:1). Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 5

“The Flood and Its Aftermath”: Genesis 7:1–11:32

As threatened, God destroys the earth with a flood. With the exception of those aboard the divinely commissioned boat, the destruction is near total. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 4

“Ending It All and Starting Over”: Genesis 4:1–6:22

We have come to the place where life outside the garden begins. At first, we are pleasantly surprised, for the previous accent on fertility and progeny (1:28; 2:24) is undiminished. The garden couple produces two sons. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 3

“Eden and East of Eden”: Genesis 2:4–3:24

Genesis 2:4 is the first segment in Genesis introduced by the tôledôt-formula. Here God engages the created order in a new way. Still, this episode is organically connected to the first one, as seen in the way the phrase “the heavens and the earth” in 2:4a is reversed (“the earth and the heavens”) in 2:4b. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 2

The Created Order: Genesis 1:1–2:3

You and I had a beginning (obviously!). Everyone had a beginning. A song from the musical The Sound of Music tells us delightfully that the beginning is “a very good place to start.” Scripture, too, begins at the beginning. If you know the Bible at all, you know to refer to this beginning as creation. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 1

Introduction to Scripture

The only Scriptures Jesus and his earliest followers recognized and appealed to as God’s authoritative word were those Christians would eventually call the Old Testament. Indeed, this goes for Jesus’ detractors as well, virtually all of whom belonged to various branches of Judaism (it was not known as Judaism in Jesus’ time). Full reading and audio »