Creation, by God’s very pronouncement, is “very good” at its inception (Gen 1:31). Last week we explored the goodness of creation and this goodness, completeness, as providing a launching point for the biblical narrative from the perspective of justice.
But as soon as God created a good world, rebellion, chaos, disorder, pain and injustice entered the story (Gen 3-4). As we begin to tease out how justice will be regained in God’s world, we will first need to consider the story’s next significant chapter: the story of Israel. Israel’s story begins in a very inauspicious way, a pattern we will see repeated throughout the biblical narrative. The story begins with a promise to a single person, Abraham, and his descendants. The nations of the entire earth will be blessed through Abraham. In distinction from the Canaanites (Gen 12:6) and Egyptians (Gen 12:14) of Abraham’s time, who would seek to oppress those around them, Israel is called to be the instrument through whom God would bless the nations (Gen 12:3).
As is widely known, after creation the story unravels quickly through the book of Genesis and we find Israel in bondage in the great empire of Egypt. What is the state of the promise to Abraham now? How will God restore the goodness and the justice of creation, with his people enslaved in a powerful nation? While in bondage, God continues to unfold his promise through just this one family, fulfilling one of the great intentions of the creation narrative (see Exod. 1:7). It is God who is restoring his intention for creation and his promise to Abraham. God hears the cry of the oppressed, his own people, and delivers them from their oppression (see Exod. 3:9).
PRAYER: You are the Lord. Everything in heaven and earth belong to You. Thank you for rescuing Your people. Thank you for rescuing me.