I wonder just how many times I've read the book of Genesis during my lifetime. Selected passages? Hundreds of times. The whole book? Dozens of times. What about sermons I've heard preached from this book? More than I could possibly count. Yet, every time I read it, I found something new. Fresh questions pop up and insights appear that weren't there before.
My Discipleship group just finished up a study of Genesis, and several phrases caught my attention, some again and some for the very first time.
For example, look at Chapter 46, verses 33-34. Joseph is giving instructions to his father and brothers when they were moving to Egypt. Joseph knew Pharoah would ask questions, particularly about their occupation.
"And it shall come about when Pharaoh calls you and says, 'What is your occupation?' that you shall say, 'Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,' that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians."
What? First of all, WHY were shepherds loathsome to the Egyptians, and secondly, why is Joseph so nonchalant about getting them to confess their profession to Pharoah. Wouldn't that have been dangerous?
Then, look at Chapter 47, verses 8-9. This is a conversation between Pharoah and Jacob (Joseph's father).
And Pharoah said to Jacob, "How many years have you lived?" So Jacob said to Pharoah, "The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty, few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of the sojourning."
Now, let me see. Abraham (Jacob's grandfather) lived to be 175. Isaac (Jacob's father) lived to be 180. Jacob himself eventually lived to be 147. I wouldn't refer to that as FEW, would you? Yes, his life was shorter than his forefathers, but he still lived a long life. And what about the "unpleasant" part? Jacob was very wealthy. He had 12 strapping sons with his 2 wives and 2 concubines. In a vision, God Himself had promised to make him a great nation. Sounds the opposite of unpleasant to me. Almost reminds me of Jimbo Fisher, head football coach at Texas A & M getting fired recently but set to receive $76 +/- million in a buyout agreement. I hardly believe Jimbo is somewhere crying.
And look at Chapter 49. Jacob knows his time to live is short, and he brings all 12 of his sons to his bedside basically to predict their futures. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan, and Joseph receive lengthy pronouncements, while the words directed toward Gad, Asher, Naphtali, and Benjamin are noticeably shorter. Judah gets the best blessing, although he was not the firstborn. Why? Aren't parents supposed to love their children equally? Yet we know that Jacob's parents, Isaac and Rebekah, did not love their TWIN sons equally either, and those results were disastrous. Why didn't Jacob learn from his parents' mistake?
So many questions? And I have a lot more just from this one chapter in the Bible.
My point is that there will always be something fresh to capture my imagination or bring me a new insight when I read God's Word. Truth be told, I suspect the amount I have yet to learn exceeds what I have already learned in my 73 years of studying and listening to sermons and Sunday School lessons.
What do you say? Let's keep digging.