I have read all of the Bible and am now reading it for the second time. I started with The New Testament. The New Testament is very easy to understand, at least on a superficial basis. Whereas I dread reading The Old Testament because I find it so hard to understand. The New Testament to me seams to be a manual for living, where the Old Testament appears to be more of a history book, full of genealogies and Mosaic law.
A few weeks ago, I finished the New Testament and started on Genesis. When I first read the Bible my overriding motive was to gain a broad overview of The Bible and to Finish it, as I attempted to read it in 1 year. It actually took me 13 months.
This time I I wanted to gain real understanding, and would therefore read passages over and over again, trying to gain real meaning from them.
Again I struggled with the meaning, so I prayed to God. I said I believe there is more meaning in these words than I am grasping. People tell me that all of The Bible is God breathed, so therefore he must be trying to tell us something about himself, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, their relationship with man, their purpose. our purpose and how we should live and worship God.
I said please give me in-depth understanding of your word. So I read Genesis and struggled to understand it except in a superficial way. So I prayed every-time I read a few more chapters everyday. I had just read about Jacob and wondered why he wrestled with God all night and nearly overcame him, but then God defeated him. I thought why is this? I thought Jacob is not a very good man, he is the deceiver, he was not worthy of God's favour, he was an arrogant and greedy man who dared to challenge God.
I then read about his son Joseph, and thought why was he so blessed by God, why was he so forgiving to his brothers. What is the story about overall, feast and famine storing up food?
Again I prayed, for understanding. The next day, I turned on the television and I saw David Pawson and he spoke about why Jacob wrestled with God. The next day I turned the television on and I chose the TBN special from the listings and it turned out to be a movie about Jacob and Joseph. Now the story became clearer in my head in terms of the characters, the culture, the location, the events etc. But I still did not understand any hidden meaning.
So I continued reading and praying every-time before i read, please give me in-depth understanding. This time The Holy Spirit revealed just a tiny glimpse of the hidden meaning. I do not think i have complete understanding but just a tiny glimpse and I may have made mistakes.
God chose Jacob,not because of his birthright/blessing or righteousness but because of God's grace and Mercy. I believe that Jacob who was later called Israel represents us. He was a sinner, unworthy, unrighteous, yet God chose him to give his favour and Mercy. He did not receive this favour from his Birthright or by stealing his brother's birthright.
Joseph represents God's righteousness and provision, a little like Jesus. The descendants of Jacob/Israel willingly gave up their livestock, land and sold themselves into slavery in-order to preserve their lives. This is what God asks us to do. We must be willing to give up everything we own, including our freedom, in order to gain eternal life with God, which gives us total fulfillment and freedom. This freedom is represented in Moses and the Exodus, the next chapter which I am about to read.