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Sunday November 4 – Israel’s mission (1): Genesis 12 comes after Genesis 1-11

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

Scripture reading: Genesis 12:1; Genesis 1

Yesterday we saw how Jesus summarized the story of the Bible: as being about Him – fulfilled in His death and resurrection – and as being about the mission of God to bring salvation to the nations. That mission begins with the call of Abram in Genesis 12. But it is important to remember that Genesis 12 comes after Genesis 1-11.

Genesis 1-11 tells a story, not of Israel in particular, but of the whole world. It tells of Creation in Genesis 1-2 and then of the Fall in Genesis 3. And think of the rest of the stories in chapters 4-11 – Cain and Abel, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, what do they have in common? They make it clear that the world is messed up by sin.

When God called Abram, Israelites were tempted to think God was rejecting the rest of the world in favor of Abram’s family. That cannot be because God is the One who made the world. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).

Israel needed to remember – and we must remember – that God created the world, that He declared it very good, that He loves the world and will not abandon it to sin and death. That is where God’s mission begins: with the goodness of Creation and His promise to defeat sin and death (see Genesis 3:15).

Suggestions for prayer

That we would remember God’s love for the world He has made and that our love for the lost would reflect God’s love.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Nick Smith is pastor of the United Reformed Church of Nampa, Idaho.

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