The Shape of Things to Come
by Bobby Bruno 6/04/2014 / Bible Studies
The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) contains the story of the beginning of everything we humans have come to know as creation. In the beginning, God created what was needed for humans to live and enjoy their lives with God. In the beginning man failed God, but not completely. The Pentateuch gives us the ways and means that God had chosen to bring His people back into a relationship with Him. In the beginning, God first loved us and set out to prove to the humans He created that His love is for all time. In this paper I will show how God's love never wavered, even when His people rebelled against Him time and time again.
In the Book of Genesis, we find the account of how God created man and women and how man then decided, with evil's help, that God shouldn't be the only One who had all the knowledge of good and evil. Since Genesis means "beginnings," the account of man's creation and eventual fall fits perfectly in God's plans for the future of humanity. Without this account, we would have no idea why the race of man is having such a hard time dealing with not only the evil that surrounds him, but the evil that lies within him as well.
The importance of this account cannot be minimized by any other account of humanity in the Bible. The account of the Fall of Man gives us the reason why humanity is in so much trouble all of the time. God created man and man decided he needed to be his own master and therefore rebelled against God. But, what man hadn't realized was that the sin that would evolve from their rebellion would make them slaves to it instead of masters to themselves.
This account of the Fall of Man also shows us why man could not find his way on his own, no matter how much he tried to. Without God to guide them, men floundered as fish on the shore. But, even though His creation didn't seem to want Him, God never turned His back on His people at any time. This theme would be played out time and time again as God tried to show His people that they could trust Him and that He still loved them no matter what they did.
God's love is not only expressed in the things He does, but also in the things He promises. God knew that His people needed a place of their own to dwell and to call their own where they could all live together and worship their God. It was to Abram that God promised that he would be the father of this new nation. But, first, Abram (now known as Abraham) needed a son to continue the family line. God promised one to Abraham and Sarah, but they couldn't wait, so Abraham slept with Hagar, his slave (the offspring from this union has caused great problems for the nation of Israel since).
God showed His loyalty to Abraham when He asked Abraham to sacrifice his own son on an altar of sticks and wood. Doing as he was told, Abraham laid his son, Isaac, on the altar and just as he began to thrust the knife into Isaac's chest, and angel of the Lord stopped him and provided a lamb for the sacrifice. This proved to Abraham that God did love him and would truly keep His promise to make Abraham the father of many nations.
This account is the one of the many types of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the sacrifice of Isaac, Abraham showed himself faithful to God in actually attempting to sacrifice his son, just as God will actually sacrifice His Son on the cross. This account sets the tone for the Old Testament in that God will, time and time again, prove Himself faithful to His people each time they get themselves into situations that only their God could get them out of.
In the account of Joseph, we find the topic of forgiveness. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers because of his boasting about the visions that God had showed him, where he, Joseph, would be a leader over all of his family. Even though these visions were true, Joseph used them to boast about his importance at being the only son of his mother Rachel, and the apple of his father, Jacob's, eyes. Even so, God used Joseph in the mighty ways that Joseph's dreams had shown him.
Joseph, through the always moving hand of God, became equal in command to the Egyptian Pharaoh and kept the land from starving through the seven year famine the land experienced. During the famine, Joseph had the opportunity to talk with his brothers, even though they didn't know that the man in front of them was Joseph, their brother. After putting them through a great test, Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery, just as God forgives us and ends are slavery to sin. About this moment Matthew Henry (2011) says in his Concise Bible Commentary that, "Joseph shed tears of tenderness and strong affection, and with these threw off that austerity with which he had hitherto behaved toward his brethren. This represents the Divine compassion toward returning penitents." This account is significant for the Book of Genesis because it is another beginning when the forgiveness of God is given over and over throughout the rest of the Old Testament showing that God is indeed in control of everything.
In Numbers 11 we find the account God's people having had enough of the manna God gave them every day. But while the people had had enough of the manna, Moses had had enough of their constant bickering and complaining. It was bad enough that they were still in the wilderness, but their complaining was giving Moses a headache enough that Moses began to complain to the Lord about the people God gave him to lead. But God being a God of love listened to the people and gave them meat to eat in the form of quails thereby fulfilling the needs of the people.
In this account we see God continuing to lead His people and to supply them with everything they need to sustain themselves. It is a significant account in that we see that God responds to our prayers, our queries, our grumbles, and our complaints. God would do anything to keep His promises intact. In his commentary on the Old Testament Adam Clarke (2004) translates Numbers 11:23 as "Hast thou forgotten the miracles which I have already performed? or thinkest thou that my power is decreased? The power that is unlimited can never be diminished." As the nation grew, and as their enemies also flourished around them, God continued to supply their needs in every way as the years, the nation, and their enemies grew in time no matter how much they grumbled and complained.
Then along came the Promised Land. The nation of Israel had finally made it through the wilderness and the place God had promised that He would provide for their families. Forty years they had wandered in the wilderness because of their disobedience at the foot of Mount Sinai. Only Moses would not be entering into the land because of his disobedience at a striking the rock for water instead of speaking to it as God had told him to. But, the people were now in the home that they had waiting many years for.
This account is significant because it shows God's mighty powers and His mighty love for those He calls His own. This account wraps up the Pentateuch because man started from a home he could call his own, and ends with a new home that God would oversee for the people. It also is significant for the entire Old Testament because we see God fighting for His people over and over again.
In all of the first five books of the Bible we see God loving His people even when they do wrong in His eyes and don't always live up to the standards He sets that would protect them from anything that could upset their lives and steal their peace. Everything God did for His people from the beginning, including creation to the entering of the Promised Land, God show Himself faithful. Time and time again, God had to bring His people back around to His way of thinking. At times, Israel may have thought that God was dealing harsh with them, but He really was loving them back into His mighty arms. All throughout the Pentateuch, we see a loving God who cares for His creation more than we think He does. Like a good father, God corrects, punishes, rebukes, yet loves us greatly when we don't follow His plan. Maybe Abraham thought God was being controlling, but, in the end, of his life, Abraham knew God was leading Him into a better future for the Israelite nation. The Pentateuch is about not only the struggles of the early human race, but is mostly a romantic tale about a God who loves His people too much to leave them without a loving hand to guide and perfect them.
Henry, M. (2011). Matthew henry concise bible commentary. Database 2011 WORDsearch Corp.
Clarke, A. (2004). Adam clarke's commentary on the old testament. Database 2004 WORDsearch Corp.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.