The Seven Great Men of Genesis
- Abel – a man of spiritual desire. This is a contrast to Cain, a man of earthly desire. Cain was a tiller of the ground with earthward interests and holdings. Abel was a keeper of sheep, a tent-dwelling pilgrim desiring something beyond. Cain goes out from the presence of the Lord and busies himself with cities and with works in brass and iron. Abel reaches for better things, seeking rest in God; suffering and dying in hope of the better resurrection (Hebrews 11.16).
- Enoch – a man who walked with God. Behind the walk was the will. Enoch’s will was God’s will. Two cannot walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3.3). Enoch agreed with God. He made this choice to fellowship with God and walk with God. Enoch went God’s way; God did not come Enoch’s way. He was a dedicated man of spiritual choice.
- Noah – a man of spiritual renewal. Noah’s story begins as a man of spiritual choice on the ground of the old world (Genesis 6). He is separated from the old world in the ark and by the flood waters (Genesis 7). He then goes forth into a new life in a new world (Genesis 8-9).
- Abraham – a man of faith. He trusted in God’s guidance, believed in God’s promises, received God’s assurances, inherited God’s blessing, underwent difficult testing, and was accounted righteous through faith as a friend of God.
- Isaac – a man of sonship. Isaac is a son of special promise, special birth, special preciousness, the only son of his mother, and the only heir of his father, the son through whom promises are realized. A special bride is chosen for him. He dwelt in the land of inheritance, biding by the wells of water, with many joys and few conflicts, we see in him the privileges and joys of sonship.
- Jacob – a man of service. Jacob is the worker throughout, busy with his hands. He struggles to obtain the blessing. He is touched by God and becomes the prince of prayer. He is spiritual at heart. He is eager in his activity, work, and service.
- Joseph – a man of suffering and glory. Faith, sonship, and service blend together in his life. Joseph is made perfect through sufferings. These seven men are set apart by the writer of Hebrews as great men of faith (see Hebrews 11).
Suggestions to Study these Seven Men:
- Study them biographically. Note dominant features and determining crises. Illustrate and apply.
- Study them spiritually. Which transcending truths enlighten the mind? Which transcending truths regulate the life?
- Study them prophetically. Baxter suggests the following prophecies within Genesis: Christ (3.14-15); Earth (3.17-18; 8.21-22); Race (9.25-27); Israel (13.14-17; 22.15-18); Nations and tribes (17.19-20; 25.23; 48.17-20; 49.1-28).
- Study them dispensationally. A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. Baxter numbers seven in Scripture and four in Genesis: 1) Innocence in which God tests man; 2) Conscience in which God suffered man; 3) Human Government in which God restrained man; 4) Promise in which God wrought for man.
- Study Genesis geographically, critically, and textually.