Genesis is the first book in the Bible and it is the book of beginnings. It begins with God’s creation. It tells about the first man and woman, Adam and Eve in the beautiful Garden of Eden. It shows how sin entered the world and how God destroyed the sinful world with a flood, saving only Noah and his family on the ark. Genesis tells of God’s chosen people, beginning with Abraham. His son was Isaac, and Isaac’s sons were Jacob and Esau. God chose Jacob and changed his name to Israel and he had 12 sons that were the beginning of the Children of Israel, or the Tribes of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, and Joseph. The book of Genesis ends with the children of Israel going into Egypt for food because of the great famine. Other interesting stories in Genesis include the Tower of Babel and Joseph and his coat of many colors. You can also find Methuselah, the oldest man who ever lived, in chapter 5.
You can remember the theme of Exodus if you think of the word “Exit”. After the death of the Pharaoh that knew Joseph and his family, the Children of Israel became slaves to the Egyptians. Pharaoh tried to kill all the boy babies, but when Moses was born his mother made a small boat and set him afloat in the Nile River where the princess found him. Later, God spoke to Moses from the burning bush and told him to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Pharaoh would not let the people go, so God sent these 10 plagues: (1) Water turned to blood (2) Frogs (3) Lice (4) Flies (5) Egyptian animals died (6) Boils on the Egyptians (7) Hail stones and Fire (8) Locusts (9) Darkness for three days (10) Death of all firstborn that did not have the blood on the doorposts of their houses. You can read about the Children of Israel crossing the Red Sea on dry ground and God giving Moses the law and the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai (Exodus chapter 20). The book of Exodus ends with the glory of the Lord filling the Tabernacle (tent of worship).
The Levites, or Tribe of Levi, were chosen by God to be the Priests. The book of Leviticus gives the laws that God commanded and the sacrifices that had to be made to pay for sin when the people could not keep the law. The theme of Leviticus can be found in several verses, including Leviticus 20:26, “And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” This is repeated several times in the book of Leviticus and quoted in the New Testament. “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16)
The book of Numbers opens up with the number of men in each tribe. (The tribe of Levi was not numbered because they were God’s chosen priests and would not go to war. The two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, were numbered to equal 12 tribes.) The book of Numbers took place as the Children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. It includes the story of the 12 spies going into Canaan where there were giants in the land (chapter 13) and the unusual story of Balaam and his talking donkey (chapter 22). My favorite verses from this book are Numbers 6:24-26, “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
Deuteronomy is the last of the five books of the Law. The Israelites journeyed for 40 years in the wilderness and when they reached the Promised Land Moses talked to the people to remind them of their journey and instruct them to keep God’s Law. The Ten Commandments are repeated in Deuteronomy chapter 5. The “Great Commandment” is in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” We find this in the New Testament in Matthew 22:37-40 when someone asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” In the last chapter of Deuteronomy Moses died and Joshua became the leader of the Israelites.
The book of Joshua is the first of 12 books of history and begins with God’s charge to Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. It tells how the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and tells about the battles and conquests. It ends with the death of Joshua in the last chapter. You can read about Rahab and the spies in chapter 2 and the great victory at Jericho in chapter 6. The priests and men of war marched around the city once each day for 7 days. On the 7th day they marched around 7 times and blew the trumpets and shouted, and the walls fell down flat. The book tells how the land of Canaan was divided among the tribes of the Children of Israel. Joshua 24:15 is a very familiar verse, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Those are great words to end our study of the first six books of the Old Testament… “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Week 1 -- Do You Know???
1. Can you number the days of creation?
__________The Firmament (Heaven) __________The Sun, Moon, and Stars __________Animals and Man __________Light __________Land and Sea, and Plants __________Birds and Fish __________God Rested
2. Who were the first man and woman? _________________________
3. Who was the oldest man that ever lived and how old was he?
4. Who was Jacob’s twin brother? __________________________
5. Who did God choose to lead the Israelites out of Egypt? __________
6. Where can you find the Ten Commandments? _______________________ and _________________________
7. How long did the Children of Israel wander in the wilderness?
8. What is the total number of times that the Israelite Army marched around the walls of Jericho? _______________________
_____ Genesis A) The numbering & wandering of the Israelites _____ Exodus B) The book of beginnings _____ Leviticus C) Joshua leading the Israelites into Canaan _____ Numbers D) The Law _____ Deuteronomy E) Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt _____ Joshua F) Moses reminds the people of the law and their