Slideshow image
The first few chapters of Genesis demonstrate the detrimental impact of sin. Besides the sin committed by Adam and Eve, we read about later generations involved with murder, polygamy, and a general rebellion against God. God described man’s corruption in this way: “Every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” As punishment for sin, God sent a worldwide flood that destroyed His creation, except for eight people and a few animals. 

From these eight, He would again populate the earth. Sadly, even after this monumental punishment, humans continued to sin. God, however, refused to give up on those made in His image.

Early in the Bible story, we are introduced to a man named Abraham and the great promises that God made to him. These promises included a large family and a land in which they could dwell. Greatest of all was the promise that through him, “All the families of the earth would be blessed.” Do you recall in our first lesson when God told Satan that one would come who would bruise his head? This promise to Abraham was part of the plan for Satan’s defeat. Through Abraham’s family, a Savior would be born who would take away the sins of the world. However, this would not occur until many centuries after Abraham.

If you are familiar with the Bible, you know that there are two major divisions: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament, which is divided into 39 different books, basically tells the story of Abraham’s family growing into a nation known as Israel. It also explains how they were not to be like other nations. God made a covenant with the Israelites; He told them that if they would be His people, then He would be their God. This covenant required the commitment to love Him, trust Him, and be obedient to the laws He gave. In doing so, they would not only show their commitment to God, but they would also serve as a light to the nations around them and demonstrate how all people should seek this type of relationship with God.

In giving humans freewill, God knew that the people of Israel could make the choice to faithfully follow Him or to sin and reject Him. Within the law that He gave them, He provided a way to gain forgiveness for these sins through offering sacrifices. To seek God’s forgiveness, His people were required to kill animals and present them to the Lord as offerings. This was to demonstrate that wherever there was sin, there was death. The animal served as a substitute for the sinner; while the sinner should have died, God allowed the animal to take his or her place. In this, God displayed His magnificent grace and mercy. The gift of a restored relationship with Him was provided, though the sinner had forfeited this privilege because of sin.

Despite the kind gift of a covenant relationship with Him, the Israelites did not remain steadfast to their promise to be His people. Throughout their history, God sent many prophets to warn them that they must turn from their wicked ways or else punishment would come. While these prophets had to bring a bleak message, many of them also had a message of hope. This message concerned the coming of a future Savior whose sacrifice would provide forgiveness for the sins of mankind. 

This message of hope would be the culmination of God’s plan that had been established before our beginning. It would be the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham that through a member of his family, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. It would be the bruise to Satan’s head. Most of all, it would provide hope to the hopeless; those lost in sin would find the ultimate grace and mercy of God in a Savior who would give His life as a sacrifice for His creation.