ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Flipbook - Page 343
T he S tories and the S tor y
with his aims. God’s people are lured into self-assertion and rebellion. This
disrupts not only their relationship with God but also the way they function
in the world. Because of humanity’s bond with the rest of creation and their
special vocation within it, great tragedy comes into the world. As their own
humanity is twisted out of shape, guilt, pain, violence, and death begin to
wreak havoc throughout God’s good creation. Human beings are made for
worship, created to bring glory to the Creator. But when humans direct their
worship elsewhere, the damage reverberates throughout the world.
You’d think this would be enough to make God reject humans completely. But instead, God makes a promise to Adam and Eve that he will
continue to work in and through human beings. In fact, it will be an offspring of the woman who will defeat the powers of evil. God will overcome
the moral chaos of the world, and he will do it in partnership with humanity. In the Bible’s Story, the fate of humanity and the rest of creation are
irrevocably bound together.
But the question then becomes: How will God do this?
3. The Story of Abraham and His Family
The book of Genesis reveals a surprising answer: God is going to mend
the world and bring his blessing to all the families on earth through one
man and his descendants. God calls Abram (his name is later changed to
Abraham) to leave his home and go to a new land and a new future. God
narrows his focus to one family for a time as the means for bringing restoration to all the world’s families.
From this point on, the big stories of humanity and of creation will hinge
on what happens in the smaller story of Abraham’s descendants. God intends for this family to be an agent for the renewal of the world. This plan
begins with God’s making promises to Abraham—to bless him, to make his
family into a great nation, and to bring blessing to all nations. Over time,
God makes a series of these promises, or covenantal agreements, with
Abraham’s family. Each new covenant moves the story forward and makes
God’s ultimate intentions more clear.
Early in the narrative, Abraham’s descendants go down to Egypt and are
eventually enslaved there. But God comes down to set them free and bring
them into their own land, an event known as the Exodus. This great act of
liberation becomes the template, or pattern, for all the acts of deliverance
that God will bring in the future. (The nation that comes from Abraham’s
descendants becomes known as Israel, named after Abraham’s grandson.)
As part of the Exodus, God gives his Law to the people through the
great leader Moses, and this Law becomes an important part of his covenantal agreement with Israel. In revealing his mandates to Israel, God