Almost everyone wants to know information about their family’s heritage, and I venture to say that most people have a sense of pride in their family’s heritage. Yet, along with the good and successful, there is almost always that side of our family that we would like to forever bury. Genesis, the book of origination, our book for this month, is absolutely no different.
For me, it seems natural that people would desire to know their family’s history – their roots. Perhaps you are one who enjoys learning about your family, or maybe you just like listening to the family’s stories, or you are just beginning your journey into learning your family. While our physical family is important, God does not want anyone to remain in the historical investigation of only the physical family.
The book of Genesis is not just a book of origins, but a record of history. This historical record embodies a span of time of about 3500 years.1 And no matter how one looks at it, the 50 chapters of Genesis contain much, but not nearly the whole history of mankind for that length of time. But what Genesis does record for us is something that each of us should find valuable.
This book of history provides information about the origin of the universe, the earth, humans and various languages. We learn some history of the world’s first family, about their triumphs and tragedies. Through the record of Genesis, we learn about betrayal,2 jealousy,3 and murder;4 but we also learn about faith,5 sacrifice,6 and trust.7 While Genesis provides information about historical events from creation to the foundation of nations, Genesis is also about family history.
Recall our discussion about knowing your roots, Genesis is about roots. Genesis provides the roots of what will be (using historical future tense) the Hebrews who are the nation of Israel. This nation, which is fledgling, is being given information about their “founding fathers” Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These men were faithful to God and special, being utilized by God to establish a nation that would be the seat for the blessing for the families of the world.8
As we discussed, some find it important to discover their family’s history and roots; however, it is vital for Christians to find their spiritual roots. While Christ is without doubt God’s Son and our Savior, Christians must become familiar with our heritage – the good and the bad. The Christian’s spiritual heritage is fundamentally important. It provides the basis for understanding the whole of Scriptures; it provides more than family lineage; it provides our spiritual heritage (Galatians 3.6-9). Let us all be encouraged to learn of our long and rich spiritual heritage.
1 Calculated based upon dates provided by the Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts, Old and New Testaments; p. 5.
2 Jacob’s stealing Esau’s birth right; Genesis 27.1-46
3 Jacob’s special treatment of Joseph leads to his brothers’ jealousy and hatred; Genesis 37.1-36
4 Cain’s killing of his own brother, Abel; Genesis 4.8
5 During his ultimate test, Abraham had faith that God would provide; Genesis 22.1-8
6 Abram/Abraham sacrificed everything he knew, business and family, when leaving Ur; Genesis 12.1
7 Joseph knew to be faithful and trust God, but he had no clue where it would lead; Genesis 39.1-23
8 In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed; Genesis 12.3