Have you ever gotten hooked on a great show with a cliff-hanger at the end of the first season? That’s kind of like the book of Genesis.
The story of Genesis 12-50 tells the dramatic stories of Abraham’s family, right up to the point of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt. The thing is, that’s not at all a good ending for the story. Instead, it’s a sort of cliff-hanger ending that demands a sequel or, better yet, a second season.
If you’ve got eight minutes to spare, take this overview of the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Consider it as a season one recap. This short video illustrates the great narrative of Genesis, tracing the story from the call of Abraham all the way to the cliff-hanger season-finale story of Israel in Egypt that concludes the book of Genesis. The video points to the major themes at work behind the narrative, and it shows how the stories all work together to present a larger picture of God’s work of redemption. Plus it’s not a bad way to cram on B’reisheet if you’ve fallen behind on your weekly parashah readings.
The stories of Abraham’s family all point toward an unresolved tension between God’s promises and the experiences of the patriarchs. The writer of the book of Hebrews sums it up like this:
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised. (Hebrews 11:13)
Nevertheless, they conducted their lives with confidence that God would ultimately fufill his promises. The writer of the book of Hebrews calls that confidence “faith.” That’s what faith is all about:
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
The cliff-hanger at the end of Genesis leaves us with unfulfilled promises and an unfinished story—the perfect recipe for a great sequel.