Hello! Welcome to Episode 1 of the Faith Chase Podcast. I’m Heather Tabata. This podcast will be about making our faith real in everyday life. This year, I want to share reading through the Bible. I’ll be following a canonical plan, which means starting at the beginning in Genesis and reading to the end in Revelation. I won’t be reading it on the podcast; I’ll just share highlights and thoughts about how it’s relevant to us today.
We’ll cover an average of three chapters a day. I’ll be posting a calendar I made based on the YouVersion plan I’m following on my website, http://www.heathertabata.wordpress.com. January is already up. It’s free to download and share, so check it out for our schedule. If you get behind, don’t give up, just catch up when you can. I’ll try to post the podcasts about every Tuesday, but I’ll be leaving them up, so if you aren’t ready to listen then you can always come back for it.
I really want this to be a conversation, and not just a one-sided monologue, so please do comment or ask questions. You can share your thoughts on my website under the Faith Chase tab, or you can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @HeatherTabata. I’ll also post transcripts of the podcasts to the website, and I’ll share a link to the podcast episodes there.
Why is this so important? We’re all busy. We’ve got school, jobs, families, and hobbies. But if we want something to really give our lives lasting meaning, we can look to faith for that.
I’m not going to ask you to believe the Bible because I do or because your preacher does. It’s not enough to say, here’s a really good book that all these people say is true so you need to accept it. We need to have reasons for what we believe. As we go through the year, I’ll share some of those with you.
So let’s get started! Today’s episode is on Genesis 1 – 24.
The Bible has two sections, the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament is first, and Genesis is the first book. It starts with the account of how God created the world and everything in it. The Bible says He spoke it into existence. I know this isn’t the most popular viewpoint today, but there’s a lot of evidence to support it.
There are lots of examples of intelligent design. One example is the bombardier beetle. It shoots hot liquid out turrets in its back when it feels threatened. To do this, it has two chemicals that react stored in separate compartments. When it wants to fire, it mixes them, but there’s an inhibitor in there too. So it also has to add an anti-inhibitor to allow the reaction to happen.
Explaining this by evolution doesn’t make sense. This is a complicated system, and there wouldn’t be any benefit to the beetle to only have part of it for generations and then another part of it. If the combination didn’t work right, it could even explode itself. One of the key concepts to evolution is that living things keep the traits that are beneficial to them. So for a beetle to gradually put this system together would mean generations of beetles spent energy on something that didn’t give them any advantage. The beetle needed all of this system to be perfectly put together the first time.
The creation story goes on to tell how God made people. Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” I love how God says He was going to make people in His likeness. What an honor to think that God shared some of His traits with us.
There’s something else in this verse that’s neat. Notice how God says “Us” and “Our?” He’s not referring to Himself in the plural third person for no reason. This is the first indication of God being a Trinity with three parts making up the whole. We’ll talk more about this later on, but the gist is that God isn’t just one Being.
When God was creating people, He knew that we don’t do well by ourselves. Genesis 2:18 says, “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'” God made people designed to complement each other. It’s not good for us to try to isolate ourselves and get through life without needing anyone.
This is part of the reason we need to spend time together as a church today. First Corinthians 12:17-18 says, “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.” The church is designed to have people coming together, sharing their talents, and supporting each other.
Genesis goes on to tell about Adam and his descendants. A lot of times names in the Bible had a special meaning. Adam and nine of his descendants, the first 10 men at the beginning of Jesus’ lineage, had names that told a story. In order, they are: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah. The meanings of their names, in order, are:
- Adam – Man
- Seth – Appointed
- Enosh – Mortal
- Cainan – Sorrow
- Mahalalel – The blessed God
- Jared – Shall come down
- Enoch – Teaching
- Methuselah – His death shall bring
- Lamech – The despairing
- Noah – Peace
Doesn’t that sound like Jesus? In the first five chapters of the Bible, God basically shared the gospel.
Then comes the story of Noah. Genesis 6:9 tells us, “This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” Our reputations are so important. Noah had a good one. People aren’t always going to think well of us, but we can be known for standing up for what’s right, even if people look down on us for it.
When God told Noah to build the ark, he did, and he preached for years to try to get people to change and follow God, but people didn’t listen. So, even though they were the only eight people who did what God wanted, Noah and his family got on the ark. After the flood, God promised in Genesis 8:21-22 that as long as the earth lasts, the seasons won’t stop and the time for planting and for harvesting will continue.
Genesis 12 tells about the beginning of the Jewish nation. Verses 1-3 say, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'”
We usually call Abram Abraham today. His name was Abram to begin with, but later God changed it to Abraham. When God says that all the families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham, this is another prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus.
Abraham did what God asked him to do and left his home and family and moved away with his wife. This took a lot of faith, but Abraham had struggles too. He and his wife were old and hadn’t been able to have children. God had promised Abraham he would have descendants, and in Genesis 15:2, Abraham asks God what He is going to do because he doesn’t have children. Then in verse eight, Abraham asks again how he can know that he is going to inherit the land God had promised him.
Rather than be angry at Abraham and sent a lightning bolt at him for questioning Him, God gave Abraham a sign and a promise. This is a good lesson for us, because questioning God isn’t something He punished people for. God wants to give us proof that we should believe Him, and then He expects us to do that, but He understands when we have doubts, and He can help us through them.
Eventually God did bless Abraham and Sarah with a son, Isaac. After a few years, God asked something really hard of Abraham. Genesis 22:1-2 says, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.'”
I don’t have children, so I can’t know how Abraham felt after waiting so long for Isaac, and then being told God wanted him to do this. I do have dogs, and the thought of being told this about them makes me sick.
But Abraham got his son and headed for the mountain. When they got there, Abraham went as far as putting Isaac on an altar and having the knife in his hand. Then an angel stopped him and told him not to hurt Isaac, because God could see he wouldn’t hold anything back from him.
Hebrews 11:17-19 explains this some more.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
So Abraham believed that even if God had him kill Isaac that God could make it right. Even if it meant bringing him back from the dead.
Now let’s think about what happened here. Doesn’t the Bible say that God won’t tempt us? So why did He do this?
It’s not that God was tempting Abraham. There’s a difference in tempting someone, trying to get them to mess up, and testing them, or putting them in a difficult situation expecting them to do the right thing.
Let’s say I’m 17, have my license, and my parents are letting me go over to a friend’s house for a party one night. It’s the first time I’m driving myself to something like this, and they tell me to be home by ten. Maybe they’re testing me. They know that I’m capable of not doing anything bad and getting home by curfew, and they want me to do that. But they want to show me that I can do the hard thing and follow the rules so I’ll appreciate my freedom and the next time something happens where it would be harder for me to do the right thing I’ll be readier for it.
So that’s the first episode! I hope you enjoyed it. Now I want to hear from you. What were your favorite verses or stories from this week? What stood out to you? Head over to the website or Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let me know! Time to get started on this week’s reading. See you in a week!