Lesson 1: Taking Time for Yourself
One of the first lessons in Genesis I have to be sure to apply to my life is Genesis 1:31-2:2:
God saw all that He had made, and it was very food. And there was evening, and there was morning–the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.
I don’t know about you, but I know that personally, I have a problem with never taking a moment to myself. There’s a constant to-do list looming over my head with way too many items not crossed off, and I feel like I can’t relax until every last thing has been done. But it isn’t realistic to live like that; believe me, I tried, and it didn’t turn out very well. I have to remind myself that even God rests every now and then. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of everyone (and everything) else.
Lesson 2: Giving Up Control
Another tendency I have is to over-plan. When it isn’t possible for me to plan things down to the minute and when I don’t know what’s going to happen or what to expect, I start to panic. When that starts to happen, I have to remind myself of Genesis 12:1-4:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation,
And I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse,
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.
God told Abram He would bless him and that his name would be great, but He doesn’t tell Abram how that is going to happen. Despite that, Abram did as God told him without a single question or doubt. Abram had no idea what was doing to happen! But he uprooted his entire family and went where he was told. If Abram could do it, why shouldn’t I? God has a plan for me, and He knows just what’s going to happen:
Since God knows what He’s doing, it’s okay for me to not always have the answers. I just have to have faith that He’s doing what’s best for me, even if I can’t see that from where I’m standing.
Lesson 3: God Will Pull You Up
Even worse than my tendency to panic when I don’t know what’s going to happen is my tendency to let bad times get me down. I get depressed and feel like nothing will ever go right again. I frequently have to look back at the story of Joseph. First he was thrown into a pit by his own family and left for dead, then he was falsely imprisoned. Even when he’s in prison, “The Lord was with him” (Genesis 39:20); Joseph is essentially running the prison and is consulting with Pharaoh and other important people. Even while Joseph is imprisoned, he still knew God was with him. When Pharaoh asks Joseph to interpret a dream for him, Joseph replies he will listen but that God will do the interpreting. Instead of giving up hope, Joseph remembers that God is with him even in bad times. I need to take a note from Joseph and trust that God will raise me up from whatever pit I’ve fallen into.
Genesis isn’t just the story of Creation. It’s the story of people trusting God when they have no clue what’s going to happen or how. We should all follow their example and trust that God will keep his promises.