Genesis is a book about many beginnings. The beginnings of the world, the human race, sin and redemption, and the nation of Israel to name a few. In fact, the word Genesis from the Greek means “origin,” and in Hebrew it means “beginning.” The book of Genesis contains the events of the flood, tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the lives of the Patriarchs.
In the beginning, God created everything by simply speaking, “God said…and it was so” (Genesis 1:6-7, 9, 11, 14-15). This is not a scientific technical account of creation, but it shows a loving God creating a universe and mankind to rule it and fellowship with God. Man was formed especially from the ground and given the breath of life from God. The woman was made from the man’s rib (Genesis 2:7).
After man fell into sin, things began to spin out of control quickly. Cain murdered his brother Abel and the human race became so violent that God decided to destroy them all with a flood. God saved one righteous man (Noah) and his family in an ark filled with animals to deliver the human race from extinction. God chose Abraham and blessed a special group of people named “Israel.” God began to unfold a plan of salvation from a coming famine by sending Joseph to rule in Egypt. The failure of man in every circumstance is met by the salvation of God. We fail, but the good news is God saves us.
Genesis Chapter 25 lists the genealogies of Abraham and of Ishmael, as well as the death of the patriarch and his son. But the genealogy of Isaac, the Son of Promise, has only just begun. He and his wife Rebekah have twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau is an outdoorsman, a hairy hunter. Jacob is docile and stays at home. When the twins were grown, there came a day when Esau returned home after hunting, famished. Jacob prepared a stew, and traded it to Esau for Esau’s birthright, which was the right to lead the family. Esau’s neglect to value his future inheritance is held up in scripture as an example of immorality and godlessness.