Are you caught between a rock and a hard place like David fleeing from an angry king? Have you been seemingly cast, like Daniel, into a den of lions, or into a fiery furnace like the three Hebrew captives? Have you been falsely accused like Joseph and thrown into prison? And, don’t forget that he was sold into slavery to start with through no fault of his own. These men all suffered through no fault of their own. They were persecuted for their faith in God, all as a result of jealousy, I might add. Someone was jealous of each one of them.
But, maybe you don’t feel completely innocent in the situation you’ve found yourself this time. Perhaps instead, it’s the belly of the whale that swallowed you whole that has entrapped you. Remember Jonah? His situation was entirely different from the 6 men mentioned above. He got swallowed up in a desire for revenge, on a national scale. His situation was unique on so many levels. Unlike David, Daniel, Joseph, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Jonah was guilty of some fault. In contrast to the early prophets; Jonah came in a time after the glory days of Israel, while Elijah, Elisha, Nathan and Samuel were a part of Israel’s majesty. Unlike the later prophets, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah; Jonah did not have a compassionate heart towards his mission field. He didn’t want to see them spared from the judgment he knew was coming. He knew God was angry and he wanted to see God’s judgment.
You see, Jonah came along at a time when Israel had been pretty much doing as they pleased, just like the unbelieving countries around them. Only Obadiah had begun the litany of doom predictions to Israel, and that had been twenty years before Jonah. Jonah knew that the non-believing Ninevites had a history of killing prophets sent to them. The country was a dangerous mission field with a record for brutality towards the people of Israel. So, Jonah was called by God to carry God’s message of warning to a non-believing nation of brutal terrorists, while no one else in his generation was speaking up. Picture that! Politically, everyone was turning an eye to the bad neighbors, in an effort to be politically correct and “tolerant” of cultural differences. Meanwhile, folks at home were beginning to act like the neighbors. This would be much like becoming a missionary to Muslim terrorist cells today. It is illegal to try to convert Muslims, to begin with. And, no one doubts the danger of trying to convince the radical terrorist cells of anything! But, call him God did.
The problem with the call was that Jonah knew the need, but refused to care. He knew they needed God, but didn’t care that they have God. He saw they were going to burn in judgment, and approved wholeheartedly. So, he ran from the call. He boarded a ship headed in the opposite direction. He felt so secure in his decision that he took a nap below deck. This decision to run from God was the reason he found himself in the middle of a storm. Waking up and seeing the destruction that was about to happen to all on board the ship, he told them they could just throw him overboard to save themselves from God’s wrath. He was certain that God had decided to destroy him for his disobedience. And, the sailors believed him. They tossed him overboard, and he began to sink. Things seemed to go down from there. He not only went down into the sea, but he was swallowed by a great whale and went down into his stomach. After three days in the belly of the whale, Jonah realized he had a problem.
Jonah began to pray from inside the whale. He could have prayed on board the ship, but he didn’t. But, now he saw that he needed a deliverance that could come only from God. So, he prayed for deliverance. And, God answered. God delivered him from the whale, he was spit up onto the seashore, and God gave him a call to Nineveh again. This time Jonah answered the call. All of Nineveh was saved at his preaching. But, the striking thing about this situation is not that Jonah was delivered from the whale, but that he was delivered from the sea. The whale was not the problem. The whale was the solution. The Bible clearly shows that the whale was God’s deliverance for Jonah. God prepared a fish that would swallow Jonah without digesting him, so that Jonah would not drown in the sea. Notice that God was not the one who had Jonah thrown into the sea. God was rocking his boat trying to get his attention. Instead of opening his ears and listening to God, or calling out to God for an answer, Jonah gave God the cold shoulder. He became practically suicidal. He ASKED to be thrown overboard in the middle of a tempest. He wanted to die because he knew he had displeased God and God was not happy. He knew God wanted more from him than he was prepared to give.
So, God sent the whale to solve all Jonah’s problems. Jonah was not happy with this method of salvation, but he hadn’t asked for help before now. God only took him out of harm’s way. So, Jonah began to pray. Luckily, there's nothing WRONG with praying in the belly of the whale. Jonah 2:1 It is always better to pray the storm away. It is best to be “prayed-up” and in the middle of God’s will before the storm. But, if you have waited this long, it’s better late than never. Don’t be bashful, just go ahead and cry out to Jesus. God listens to all our prayers. I remember hearing well-meaning Christians say that God does not hear the prayer of sinners, with the exception of repentance/salvation prayers. I don’t believe that. I believe God hears all our prayers. People have the remarkable ability to be in so many different relationships with God. Even individual people can be at different places in their walk with God on any given day or year. God tarries with us all. You may be further along in your walk with God, or you may be totally standing at ground zero. Yes, I meant that expression that way.
Regardless of where you are with God, it is never too late or too early to pray for help, until you are dead. Jonah was a backslider. Ruth was a heathen Moabitish woman in the Old Testament. God attended to the needs of both. He helped backslidden Jonah when he sent the whale, BEFORE he prayed. He saved him from suicide. So, don’t worry about who you are. Just ask yourself this, “Who is God?” Then pray where you are now. God will turn your storm inside out. He will deliver you from this situation. Don’t live in the belly of the whale. Look to God for escape. He didn’t bring you this far just to leave you.
The Genesis record continues to be credible in our day. The record provided by Genesis is verifiable on many counts. The New Testament contains over 200 references or allusions to Genesis, indicating that the Apostles and Disciples, as well as the Pharisees, Saducees, Jewish leaders, and Jesus Himself accepted the validity of the text.
Science lends credence to the creation account. Evolutionists contend that things of greater complexity derived from things of less complexity. This is purported in the development of intelligent Homo Sapiens from higher primates of the animal kingdom, which in turn developed from lower primates, reptiles, fish, down to a single-celled organism. This single cell developed from a “soupy Sargasso Sea” that formed from gases that appeared from nothing. This line of reasoning is in direct contradiction to the laws of Science. Science shows that intelligent life comes from intelligent life. All creatures reproduce “after their own kind,” as in the Genesis account.
Furthermore, the Big Bang theory supposes that a colossal explosion hurled the planets into their orbits. Of course, it wasn't supposed to be a fast explosion, just some unknown force moving things apart, as the Universe is thought to be ever expanding. Opponents of the theory first called it the "Big Bang" and the name just stuck. We know now that not all the planets or their moons orbit in the same direction, which would defeat the idea of the planets spinning as a result of an explosion. The idea of chance producing a complex universe is as absurd as the idea of a Mercedes Benz being created in the aftermath of a tornado going through a junkyard. Theoretically it could happen. But, would there be gas in the tank to make it go? I think not. In the same way, wildflowers can grow in a field, as fragile objects of beauty deriving apparently from nothing. But, in a hundred years the field of wildflowers will not remain, unless tended by human hands and caused to continue their growth. Living things decay. The earth changes continually, seemingly at the whims of nature. A garden continues to grow because it was planted. The universe continues to spin because it was constructed and hung in space by the Creator.
The universality of the Deluge in Genesis is a fact, based on Non-Biblical evidence (i.e. dating of oldest living things at post-Flood time, marine fossils found on crests of mountains, sudden extinction of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.)
Further, 87 important Biblical words were first mentioned in Genesis, providing strong internal evidence of the validity of this collection of ancient books. The words life, atonement, command, glory, just, impute, mercy, love, light, salvation, and righteousness all appear first in Genesis. This supports the idea that Genesis was the foundation work of the other 65 books of the Bible.
I think the most compelling reason to believe the Genesis record is the stark plainness and simple honesty of the recorded events. The polished omissions of a story weaver are not there. We read succinctly about Jacob’s lies, Sarah’s laughter, Eve’s deception, Noah’s drunkenness, Lot’s incest, Tamar’s adultery, Dinah’s seduction, Miriam’s outrage that her brother married a black woman, and Leah’s lewd accusation to Rachel concerning the mandrakes. These character deficits are not the usual list of accomplishments of a nation’s heroes or the founding fathers of a religion. You never read in the history books about what a drunk U. S. Grant was, but only about his military prowess. The detailed record of such foibles in Genesis, (as well as the accurate list of birth records) gives undeniable credence to the Genesis account.
Furthermore, if we expect to believe that God is capable and willing to redeem us, then we must first believe that He created us. If we cannot accept the accuracy of Genesis miracles, such as creation, then we have no basis for belief in later miracles, such as Jonah and the whale, water into wine, Elijah in the chariot, etc. This is one of the primary reasons Atheists try to deny the credibility of Genesis. They seek to tear out the foundation for the cross.
The Genesis record is important as the foundation of our salvation plan. Genesis 3:15 is called the protoevangelium, which means “the first good news.” Now that man has sinned, God’s grace is evident in that He promised a Messiah who would come later and bruise Satan, destroying his power. There are many types of Christ in Genesis; including Isaac and Joseph. There is no purpose for the cross work of Jesus if Genesis is discredited. This would destroy all our Christology and Soteriology Doctrine. Without a Fall, we would not need a Savior-Hero.
There is evidence that God could have created a universe with “age-dating factors” already in place to support life? After all, it is stated that Adam and Eve were created as adults, not babies. It is reasonable the earth would have appeared aged at Creation. There are fossil records dating back billions of years, as well as human attempts at “carbon-dating” that indicate an aged terra, well beyond the age indicated by creation and the Genesis account. This, as well as the existence and extinction of the dinosaurs indicate an apparent conflict in dating. However, one theory is that God created the earth fully mature, as he did Adam and Eve and the animals. Therefore the mature earth was created with fossils intact, sufficient to support plant life. Another theory conflicts with this idea. This theory contends that the earth was perfect after creation, according to God, and could not have contained death within the earth. The fossils only appear to be so aged because of the devastating effects of the worldwide flood. Both are viable options. Why should they be less viable than current evolutionary thought?
When Enoch was 65 years old, his wife had a son. Enoch named this first son Methuselah, meaning literally, “man of the dart.” That can be interpreted as meaning “God’s Judgement comes next” or “When he dies, Judgement” for two reasons. First, Enoch was a prophet, according to Jude 14, 15. He prophesied of the Second Coming of Christ. Second, the Flood began the year Methuselah died; indicating God seemed to have a promise with Enoch concerning the life of his son. So, it seems Enoch was prophesying of the Flood when he named his son. We know that God relates longevity to adherence to his laws because of Exodus 20:12 and the fact that Enoch (and Elijah) was translated not to even see death because of his walk of faith. Methuselah lived 969 years, the oldest recorded. He must have had a good relationship with God. Its interesting to note that God stayed his hand of judgement for 969 years in loving compassion, just as He now tarries so long before the final judgement. As Peter said, God is “longsuffering,” not willing “that any should perish.”(II Peter 3:9) This lays a foundation of our escatological doctrine. Escatology, the study of things to come, is meaningless if there is no resurrection from the dead.
The Patriarchs were a part of the Genesis Record: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees, 19 generations after Adam. Terah, his father moved the family to Haran, possibly to separate his family from the prevailing idol worship. Abraham moved the whole family to the Promised Land, after Terah’s death. The word patriarch means “rule by the father,” so these men were the ruling fathers who formed the roots of the nation of Israel. Pulling Genesis out from under the Biblical Canon would quickly unravel the whole Gospel.
A dispensation is a period of time in which God deals with humans in a very distinct and unique way. It refers to the geographical concept of time and place. It includes the different groups of people who were treated in a different way from other people, or people of a different time. The seven dispensations can be broken down the following way:
1st Innocence Gen.1:28 One rule, close (perfect) communion with God
2nd Conscience Gen.3:10,23 Do your best, communion through sacrifice
3rd Human Government Gen.8:20 Man governs for God, communion through government
4th Promise Gen. 12:1 Blessings tied to the land, communion through bloodline
5th Law Exo. 19:4-8 10 Commands and many laws, communion through strict adherence
6th Grace John 1:17 Love brother as self, communion through blood of Jesus
7th Kingdom Ephesians. 1:10 Rule by Jesus Christ, perfect or Messianic communion restored
We live in the dispensation of Grace. Genesis establishes reason and evidence of God's plan through the ages for a redemption of mankind from the curse of death. Paradise was lost in Genesis. Paradise will be restored in Revelation. Unless, of course, Paradise never existed. Where would we be without Genesis? There is so much more to look at when considering the Genesis record, and I have not scratched the surface. But, there is more than enough evidence to convince a thinking person that the record of Creation has been retained through the generations intact. I believe in Creation by an omnipotent Creator God. I believe Genesis was inspired by Him, and outlines not only His work of the ages past, but His plans for the ages to come.