As a child I was almost always the stubborn or strong-willed son in my family. My brother could be disciplined with one look from my father, but I required a more “direct” form of discipline. And when being punished, even though my father always told me that he loved me before the punishment, it was still hard to understand since what he was doing didn’t feel very loving! Later on I began to understand that there was love and compassion in my fathers discipline (just not the kind I wanted), and those experiences helped illustrate the love of God.
Genesis begins with the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they chose to disobey the command of God. As a result of their rebellion, God cursed them (Gen. 3:14-19) and they were forced to leave His presence (3:22-24). Looking at this passage it’s hard to see God as loving or kind; how can someone who is loving condemn Adam and Eve for sinning one time? But he does show them love, we just have to look for it.
God tells the serpent (Satan) that Eve’s offspring would one day bruise or crush his head. This is the first prophecy of Christ’s coming and death on the cross. God is saying that Adam and Eve will have to suffer consequences for their sins but someday he will send a Messiah to set them free from that curse. God then illustrates that promise by performing the first blood sacrifice to cover their bodies and sins (3:21).
The rest of Genesis tells the story of God setting aside a group of people through which Jesus would come, the Jews. At first this is accomplished by choosing those who lived a Holy life and obeyed God such as Abel (Gen. 4:3-5), Enoch (Gen. 5:22-24), and Noah (Gen. 6:8). But the majority of this book centers on the Patriarchs (fathers) of Israel, and the beginnings of this nation that would bring us the Messiah.
When God commands Abraham to leave his home, a special promise is given. Part of this promise, which later became known as the Abrahamic Covenant, said that all families of the earth would be blessed through his family line. Here the Lord clarifies his promise to Eve by explaining exactly what people group Jesus would come from. This Covenant was later given to Isaac (Gen. 26:3-5), Jacob (Gen. 28:10-15), and Joseph (Gen. 37:5-7).
Throughout Genesis God protected and cared for those who had received the Covenant, Jacob was protected when meeting his brother Esau, and Joseph became successful while in Egypt. This was done because the Lord was determined to prepare the Nation through whom Christ would come.
The Love of God is sometimes hidden from us, much like my father seemed very unloving when he disciplined me. But even while cursing Adam and Eve the Lord shared a promise of future Redemption. And though he worked behind the scenes for most part in Genesis, his love was still there. There are times when we experience the judgment or rebuke of God and it definitely won’t feel loving. But rest assured that he does love us, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
Grace and Peace,