The Ten Commandments – Exodus 20:1-21; Deuteronomy 5:1-21

EXODUS 20:1-21                        THE  TEN COMMANDMENTS          Day 10                        DEUTERONOMY 5:1-21

Of the 613 commandments Medieval Jews identified in the Torah, the ten written by God on the tablets of stone Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai are the most famous.

Though written as negative commandments (with two exceptions), they all have a positive meaning for public behavior and private morality. These commandments govern virtually every relationship that man has: religious, family, social, personal integrity, and goals for life. Think of what they cover:

1.       Serve God alone.

2.       Images distort our perception of God.

3.       Reverence God’s name.

4.       Your life is more than work.

5.       Honoring parents preserves society.

6.       Respect the image of God in human life.

7.       Keep pure in your sexual relations.

8.       Earn your own bread.

9.       Be truthful.

10.   Know that life is more than things or pleasure.

Is it any wonder Moses said to Israel:

See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today? (Deuteronomy 4:5-8)

In addition to moral laws, God gave the sacrificial laws and instructions for building the Tabernacle, which was the center of the camp in the wilderness. God made His presence known among His people by the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night over the Tabernacle. After entering the Promised Land, it continued to be the center of religious life for the nation.

Other parts of the law governed civil matters. What do you do when someone’s ox gores your ox? Or when someone builds a fire that burns your field? Or accidentally kills someone? Why should you should build a parapet around the roof of your home.

The laws of ceremonial cleanliness were also laid out by Moses after he came down from Sinai, laws that still keep practicing Jews from eating pork.

Some of these laws made a separation between Israel and the nations around them. Most of the nations practiced polygamy; Israel was monotheistic. Law kept them from intermarrying with the Canaanite nations, though there were exceptions. The law of the Sabbath, when observed, also marked a major difference between Israel and its neighbors, as did circumcision.

God had called Abraham for his descendants to bless all nations. That was to be their place in the STORY. How did they do? Our next readings will follow them into the promised land – where they desire to be more like the nations around them than to walk with God.

Israel Leaves Egypt – Exodus 12:37-51; 13:17-22

EXODUS 12:37-51; 13:17-22                             ISRAEL LEAVES EGYPT                                                                                     Day 9

Most of us know the story of the Exodus of Israel from Egypt via Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Moses in The Ten Commandments, which is (for Hollywood) a fair telling of this story. What we may not realize is how crucial and important this event is in the STORY of Israel and our STORY today. Since the time of Moses, Israel’s deliverance from Egypt has helped Israel define itself as God’s chosen people. The New Testament also uses this story as background to crucial elements of Christianity.

Jews continue to observe Passover as an annual memorial to this redemption by God. It was at Passover that Jesus first gave His disciples the Lord’s Supper, and Passover is a key part of the background for and the meaning of the Christian’s regular observance of that meal. In fact, Jesus is spoken of as “our Passover lamb” (1 Cor 5:7).

This comes from instructions Moses gave Israel for their last night in Egypt. After each of nine plagues, Pharaoh hardened his heart against Moses’ request for Israel to be allowed to go into the wilderness to worship. God then said He would kill the firstborn in every Egyptian home. Moses told Israel to slaughter a year-old lamb or kid, sprinkle some of its blood on the door posts and lintel of their homes, roast the animal, eat it in haste with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, and be prepared to march out of Egypt. Then, He said, when He sent the destroyer to slay the Egyptian firstborn, He would “pass over” Israelite homes to spare them.

Afterward, God told Israel to redeem every firstborn, because the first-born were His. It is interesting that in Hebrews 12:23 the great assembly to which we have come is “the assembly of the firstborn” where “firstborn” is plural. That is, God today considers all His people as “firstborn.”

The rest of the Old Testament frequently hails God’s power in destroying the Egyptian army at the Red Sea. Just after their deliverance, Israel sang this song of deliverance:

I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;

The horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.

The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation;

This is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name. (Exodus 15:1-3)

In 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 Paul spoke of Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea.

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink….

This is a reference to Christian baptism, the new birth “of water and Spirit” (cf. John 3:5; see also 1 Cor 12:13 where he said we are all baptized in one Spirit into one body and are all “made to drink of one Spirit”).

So, God’s redemption of Israel has continuing importance, not only to Israel in the rest of the Old Testament, but also for Christians as God redeems us from bondage to sin and “passes over” our guilt because of the blood of our Passover lamb.

The Israelites Go To Egypt – Genesis 46:1-30

GENESIS 46:1-30                                               THE ISRAELITES GO TO EGYPT                                                                        Day 8

Much had happened in Abraham’s family in the two generations after Abraham. Isaac repeated the mistakes of his father, as he lied to Abimelech about who his wife was (Gen 26:8-11; cf. 20:1-13). Each did this because he feared the Canaanite king. Then, the rivalry between Ishmael and Isaac was replayed in rivalry between Esau and Jacob. Jacob fled from Esau’s wrath, going to his mother’s family in Haran. There he married sisters and began his large family before returning to Canaan as a wealthy man. Genesis 34 tells a tale of Jacob’s daughter being raped and his sons taking vengeance by killing all the men of the home village of the rapist. Jacob, rightly, said to them, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land…. I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” God had brought Abraham to Canaan, but increasingly it was apparent that they would be in constant tension with the people there.

Sibling rivalry continued in Jacob’s family with the older brothers selling the favored son, Joseph, into Egyptian slavery. In Egypt, Joseph proved to be a heroic character. He resisted seduction by his master’s wife, but was imprisoned because she lied. In prison he became the chief “trustee” in charge of other prisoners. He interpreted dreams of two prisoners who had displeased the Pharaoh, one of whom was restored but the other executed. Then, after a 2 year delay, he was called to Pharaoh’s side to interpret his troubling dreams – dreams that pointed to 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine.

Pharaoh was so pleased with Joseph that he put him in charge of storing up food in the time of plenty to prepare for the coming famine. When the famine came, it was also felt in Canaan where Jacob and his other sons still lived. They heard there was food in Egypt, so Jacob sent the 10 older sons who had sold Joseph into Egypt to get grain. Joseph recognized them and treated them as spies, eventually sending them back to their father while holding 1 of them as a hostage. He said they should bring their youngest brother back to “prove” their story that they were brothers of 1 man. When they did, Joseph revealed who he was, and there was a tearful reunion (though the 10 brothers were terrified because of what they had done to him at least 20 years before).

That brings us to Genesis 46, where the brothers had returned home with the news that Joseph was alive and was second only to Pharaoh in Egypt! God assured Jacob that He would be with him in Egypt, and that he should go there where the family would be safe.

Non-biblical history tells us that the ruling Pharaoh in Joseph’s time was from a foreign dynasty, the Hyksos. These rulers of Egypt were Semites, as were the Hebrews. The native Egyptians hated shepherds, which the Israelites were. Accordingly, Pharaoh settled Jacob’s family in Goshen, a part of Egypt well suited to the life of shepherds and somewhat isolated from the Egyptians who hated them. Here they were able to live and increase in number in safety.

God’s providence was caring for Abraham’s family in Egypt – though dark days lay ahead when a new king, in an Egyptian dynasty, would come to power – a king “who did not know Joseph.” But that is where we next take up the STORY.

Abraham Tested – Genesis 21:1-7; 22:1-19

GENESIS 21:1-7; GENESIS 22:1-19                                                                  Abraham Tested                                                                                  Day 7

At last! Abraham has a son, born to his own wife, Sarah. This birth was miraculous; Sarah’s womb was dead, for “The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah” (i.e., she was post-menopausal). Because of this, she had laughed when she overheard angels telling Abraham she would bear a child (Gen. 18:10-12). But when she bore a son, she laughed again – this time in joy. She named him Isaac, which means laughter.

As the boy began to grow up, his older half-brother, Ishmael, “mocked” or “laughed” at him. Sarah saw that and put her foot down: she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac” (21:10).

In Galatians 4:22ff, Paul allegorizes this incident. The son of the slave woman, he compared to “the Jerusalem that now is” and Isaac, the son of promise, he compared to the New Jerusalem. The one was in slavery; the other is free. We, he said, are the free children of promise – but are persecuted by those who are born of the flesh. Then he quoted Sarah’s demand: “Cast out the slave woman and her son….”

Abraham did cast out Ishmael and Hagar, though God protected them when they were in distress.

In chapter 22, God put Abraham to a supreme test. He told him to go to the land of Moriah with his only son, Isaac, and there sacrifice the boy as a burnt offering to the Lord.

As Abraham and Isaac climbed the mountain Isaac asked, “My father! ….Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham replied, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”

At the top of the mountain, Abraham prepared the altar with the wood laid on it. Then he bound Isaac, placed him on the altar, and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Do not lay your hand on the boy…for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from me.”

Abraham then saw a ram in a thicket, which he sacrificed as the lamb God provided.

At this point, we see the depth and extent of Abraham’s mature faith. In the Hall of Fame of the Faithful, we read:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, form which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. (Hebrews 11:17-19, ESV)

God went through with sacrificing His Son – and He did, in truth, “receive him back” from the dead. It is our faith in that Son of God, who was brought back from the dead, that makes us children of Abraham’s faith as we live our lives within the STORY of God’s redemptive purposes. We also go down into death and are raised together with Him through “faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12).

God’s Covenant With Abraham – Genesis 15:1-21; 17:1-8

GENESIS 15:1-21; GENESIS 17:1-8              God’s Covenant with Abraham                                                                      Day 6

Abraham had no heir. At some point after his brother Haran had died in Ur, Abraham had taken Lot, Haran’s son, into his family, perhaps thinking that Lot would be his heir. But that had not worked out so well. Abraham and Lot had come a parting of the ways in the end of Genesis 14 with Lot pitching his tent toward the well-watered plains and the city of Sodom.

So, when God appeared to Abraham again at the beginning of Genesis 15, Abraham’s first words were, “What will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer?”  God assured him that Eliezer would not be his heir, but “your very own son shall be your heir” (v.4). He then promised again that his seed would be as numberless as the stars in the sky and that they would possess Canaan, though they would be slaves in another land for 400 years before returning to Canaan, “for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (v. 16).

What does that mean? God is patient, not willing that any perish but that all would come to repentance. It has always been so. Yet, when the Amorites’ wickedness reached the tipping point, God judged them and gave their land to Israel. God rules in the affairs of men. When a nation becomes so wicked it cannot continue, God will still step in to check the immorality of man.

Having been assured Abraham would actually have a child (though by this time he was past 80 years old and Sarah past 70), Sarah next suggested (Gen 16) that Abraham take her Egyptian handmaid (a slave girl) as a concubine to raise up children. She quickly changed her mind when the slave girl put on airs before her mistress. Sarah treated Hagar so harshly that she fled into the wilderness, but an angel found her and sent her back, assuring her that her son, Ishmael, would also have a multitude of offspring – the modern Arab people.

Things continued until Ishmael was about 13 and Abraham was 99. Then the Lord came to Abraham again when He told him he would be the father of “a multitude of nations.” He renewed his covenant to be Abraham’s God and the God of his offspring after him. He also repeated his promise that his offspring would live in the land of Canaan – and gave him a sign of this covenant, the rite of circumcision of all males.

God also told Abraham at this time that Sarah would have a son who would be the child of promise and Abraham’s heir. Abraham laughed, and said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” (Gen 17:18). We, like Abraham, often prefer our “plans” to God’s Plan and want God to accept our “Ishmaels” in place of His Son of Promise.

Yet, in the end, Abraham accepted God’s promise – and the sign of circumcision as a token of God’s Covenant with him.

Back in Genesis 12:1-3, when God called Abraham He made 3 promises to him: 1) He would make of him a great nation; 2) He would give his descendants a land of their own; and 3) He would bless all nations of the earth through Abraham’s descendants.

We will see more of how God would bless the nations through Abraham in our next reading.

The Call Of Abraham – Genesis 11:27-12:9

GENESIS 11:27 – 12:9                                                      Call of Abraham                                                                                                    Day 5

Abraham (Abram) was in the 10th generation from Noah, just as Noah was the 10th generation from Adam. The significant event between Noah and Abraham was the building of the Tower of Babel and God’s confusion of the languages. This, of course, divided the people of the world into various ethnic groups that led to the spread of humanity over all the earth.

Why did God do that? Perhaps it was so that the entire world would not have a single culture, but would be diverse. Diverse cultures develop in different ways at varying speeds. The entire earth would not fall completely into sin at the same time, as had happened before the flood. Accordingly, God would be able to discipline the nations as needed without destroying the entire world, which He had promised Noah He would not do.

Yet, the world became pagan, worshiping many gods. Joshua referred to this when Israel came into Canaan as “the gods that your fathers served beyond the River [i.e., the Euphrates, JS] and in Egypt” and “the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell” (Joshua 24:14-15). This encompassed the entire fertile crescent of the Old Testament world.

The first 11 chapters of Genesis tell us how the world got into the mess it is in. Beginning with the call of Abraham, the story of what God is doing to get us out of the mess begins.

Out of the pagan, polytheistic culture that does as it pleases and invents its own gods, God called one man to begin His work of redemption, reconciliation, and rescue. The rest of the Bible tells that STORY.

When God called him, Abraham lived in a pagan society. Yet he responded to God’s call – but he was not yet the great man of faith that he later became. God told him to leave his father’s house and his home city of Ur of the Chaldeans. From Genesis, we could infer that this call came in Haran; Stephen tells us it was while he was still in Mesopotamia (Acts 7:2-4). He did not leave his father, but came with Terah and the entire family to Haran where they stayed until Terah died. Then Abraham, perhaps being reminded by God, moved on toward “the land that I will show you” (Gen 12:1). Yet, he took Lot with him, which later led to trouble.

After he entered Canaan, having passed through it to its Southern parts, God told him, “To your offspring I will give this land.” This was in spite of the fact that it was well populated by the Canaanites (a collective name for several clans or nations who lived there).

At this word, Abraham built an altar and worshiped God. From this point, the journeys of Abraham can be traced by the places he built an altar.

At this time, Abraham had not yet come to the full trust in God that he would have later, a trust we will see in a future reading of the STORY. Abraham’s faith-journey begins the STORY of salvation. As such, it is also part of our STORY as we come to share Abraham’s faith and obedience to God.

This STORY is a true one – and it is one that God calls us to live in as well, following the faith of those whose stories in the Bible collectively are the STORY that is the subject of this 30-day reading plan.

God’s Covenant With Noah – Genesis 8:20-9:19

GENESIS 8:20 – 9:19                                            God’s Covenant with Noah

Noah’s first action on leaving the ark was to build an altar. He “took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird” for a great sacrifice to God for his deliverance from the waters of the flood – and for his deliverance from the violence of the evil world God had destroyed.

Several things changed on the earth after the flood that still have implications for us today, some of which we tend to overlook in our modern world.

God promised several things to Noah:

·         He would never again curse the ground because of man. That is, the earth would not lose its fertility by God’s decree. Nothing is said here about removing the curse of thorns and thistles given at the Fall, however, nor does God say that the earth will never be cursed by man’s own actions.

·         He would never again strike down every living creature as He had done in the flood. To assure Noah of this, he made the rainbow a sign of this covenant promise, especially that there would never be another universal flood to cover the entire earth. Without this promise, would Noah and family have been fearful every time it started to rain?

·         He promised that the seasons of seedtime & harvest, winter & summer, and day and night would not cease.

Some things were changed with regard to man and the animals:

·         “The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast.” While it is possible to tame animals (at least to some degree), the companionship of man and beast is different from what it was in the Garden of Eden and on the pre-flood earth.

·         Animals now become food for man. Evidently, up to this time man was vegetarian. Now, he is also given meat to eat, as well as all creeping things. We moderns do not normally eat bugs – but God says it’s o.k., and in survival training, they are a source of protein.

·         One restriction was put on this: “You shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”

·         Capital punishment for murder was instituted, whether the human is killed by man or beast. The reason for this is that “God made man in his own image.” To take the life of a creature made in God’s own image requires an extreme punishment.

Some things continued as they had been, as God renewed what He had said to the newly created couple in the Garden of Eden: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” God created the earth to be populated, though He did not say that every couple should have all the children they possibly can. It is a concept that man himself is a curse on the earth, though it is very true that man often curses the earth by abusing it.

There are, as you can see, principles in this covenant with Noah that still have importance for us today. And these things predate the Law given by God to Moses, a law given for all mankind, not just one nation.

The Flood – Genesis 6:9-8:19

GENESIS 6:9 – 8:19                                                              The Flood

What happened between the Fall in Genesis 3 and the time of Noah, ten generations later?

Cain killed Abel because God preferred Abel’s offering over his own. Lamech killed “a young man for wounding me. He also was the first bigamist. The earth became corrupt and filled with violence. I wonder: how would a writer of the Bible describe the earth as it is today? Would it be the same as the world in which Noah lived?

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). He was a righteous man in the midst of great iniquity.

God told Noah He was going to destroy all flesh from off the face of the earth and begin anew with Noah, his three sons, and their wives. The earth was to be purged of its sinful ways by a flood of water over the entire earth. Noah, his family, and a pair of animals of every kind would be preserved in an ark Noah was to build.

This event receives a great deal of attention in the New Testament in at least four different contexts:

1.       Life went on as usual until the flood suddenly came and swept them all away (Matthew 24:38-39; Luke 17:26-27) as an example of how it will be when the Lord returns.

2.       Noah’s faithfulness condemned the world through his faith (Hebrews 11:7).

3.       The flood is a type of how baptism saves us from the evil world as the flood saved Noah from his generation. In a sense, for Noah to walk out of the ark into a renewed world was for him to enter a new creation even as Christians become new creatures by death and resurrection with Christ (1 Peter 3:20-21)

4.       The flood is an example of the certainty of judgment, even when scoffers mock his delay in his promised return (2 Peter 2:1-3, 5; 3:3-9).

Thus, the events of these 3 chapters lay a foundation for the understanding of our salvation and the end of our world, which will in many ways be similar to the end of Noah’s world . Noah is an example to us of how faithfulness while waiting for the Lord’s return is so important.

As a matter of interest, many ancient people in diverse parts of the world have traditions of a great flood from which the human race was preserved by a single family in an ark-like vessel. One of these is The Epic of Gilgamesh from ancient Sumeria. While some use this to say these chapters in Genesis are simply another of these flood traditions and should therefore be discounted, it is more likely that all of these traditions spring from a common experience in the history of the human race – and that Genesis is the story of  that event. Where it differs from the other traditions is in how the others are mixed with pagan influences that reflect how man’s understanding of God has devolved from the time of Noah.

The Fall – Genesis 3:1-22

GENESIS 3:1-22                                                                      THE FALL

What happened to the Creation that God declared was “very good”? In one word, it was S-I-N. We could say that is an acronym for: Satan Is Naughty – but “Naughty” is not nearly strong enough a word to describe this powerful enemy of God.

The Satan (a Hebrew word meaning adversary) came to the Woman and began to ask her about restrictions God had placed on her and her husband. He came in the form of a serpent, although the serpent was a manifestation of the evil one. His question had a “spin” that would cause a questioning of the goodness of God.

“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

He makes it sound like forbidding one fruit prohibited all fruits, doesn’t he? God actually said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:16-17).

She pointed this out to the serpent who continued by directly contradicting what God had said: “You will NOT surely die,” adding “for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

“Knowing good and evil” does not mean knowing that there is such a thing as good and something else that is evil. It means she would be able to know within herself what is good or evil – without any reference to God.

God wants his people to be able to discern good and evil (see Hebrews 5:14), but he also says it is not in man who walks to direct his steps (Jeremiah 10:23). The temptation was to desire wisdom to determine good and evil for herself without any reference to God. In other words, she would be able to direct her steps without the discernment that would come through God’s instruction.

What happened as a result?

·         Shame came into the world, for they knew they were naked.

·         Fear entered the world, for they did not want God to see them naked.

·         Blame arrived in the world, for each passed responsibility to another.

·         This meant animosity, rivalry and enmity soon followed.

·         Pain moved into the world, as labor in childbearing became difficult.

·         Conflict between the husband and wife corrupted the peace of Eden.

·         The earth itself was cursed with thorns and thistles making man’s work toilsome, sweaty labor.

Even here, though, God promised a day would come when one would “bruise the head of the serpent,” pointing to the purpose of the story as God would reverse the curse.

But we have much to see as the story develops. Since man wanted to make it without God, God let him try – with disastrous results so bad God determined to destroy man from the face of the earth.

Creation – Genesis 1:1-2:3

GENESIS 1:1 – 2:3                                                  CREATION

The story of the Bible begins with God. It begins with God creating a universe so magnificent and vast that we stand amazed before it. It is a creation that cannot contain God, for the Creator is greater than His creation. God existed before creation. He is self-sufficient. He does not need anything. So why did He create? Paul gives at least a partial answer:

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:24-27, English Standard Version)

God does not live in temples made by man – but some have compared the world He made for a habitation for man to a temple in which He dwells. As we will see as we continue the story, God came to this temple for fellowship with man – to walk and talk with humankind in the cool of the evening. Later in the story we read of a man, Enoch (Genesis 5:22), who “walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” This is the only man in that genealogy of whom it is not said “and he died.” Was this God’s original intent for man? He did tell the earth’s original inhabitants to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…” (Gen 1:28). He obviously intended for them to reproduce. Had they continued in the way in which God created them to live, would they have lived, walking with God, until a time when God would take them to be with Him always?

It is easy for us to worry more about how God created than that it was God who created. Genesis does not tell us how. If it had, would we have been able to understand it? Rather, in a simple, almost poetic way, Moses describes for us the days of Creation. Look at the symmetry of his account:

DAYS OF SEPARATION                                                                             DAYS OF FILLING

Day 1 – Separation of Light and Darkness                                        Day 4 – Light Holders to fill the Sky

Day 2 – Separation of Waters               and Sky                                               Day 5 – Birds & Fish to fill seas & sky

Day 3 – Separation of Sea & Land                                                        Day 6 – Animals & Man to fill the Earth


Day 7 – God Rested (and Began His Fellowship with Man)

Thus the Earth began as well as our habitation on it. God put the Earth into the hands of man, who was in God’s own image, to serve as a care-taker of the Earth. He gave Adam dominion, or rule, over the fish, the birds, and all that is on the earth – not to rape and pillage it (as we have often done), but to work the land and subdue it as a careful tenant in fellowship with God Himself.

The next part of our story will tell how our early parents treated this task God gave to them.