In the book of Genesis, God creates, destroys and restores. In the beginning, before time, God exists. Out of nothing He creates Heaven, Earth and all things with his word.
God works through time and means, command and promise. This theme is continued in all the stories of Genesis. God commands Adam and Eve, “You must not eat from the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil,” and then promises “for when you do, you will surely die.” God tells Noah to “make an Ark out of Cyprus wood” but promises “to establish His covenant with him and that he and all in the Ark will be kept alive.” God destroys all life in the flood yet sustains Noah and his family through the water by the means of the Ark.
In the story of Abraham and Isaac, God commands the life of Isaac be taken but the promise came in God’s call to Abram. “I will make you a great nation,” and “To your offspring I will give this land.” Abraham believed God’s promise through faith and trusted that even in death God could restore Isaac to life. God restores with His word. “Abraham! Abraham... Do not lay a hand on the boy.” He promises his descendants will be as numerous as the stars and works through the ordinary means of life - planting, harvest, birth, death; the wonder of youth and the wisdom of old age.
God’s plan in creation was perfection. We see in Genesis that as sin entered life through Adam and Eve, the perfect creation became corrupted. As God said, “surely you will die,” Adam died spiritually, but now must die physically. In spiritual death he was separated from God but we also see God at work for restoration. He sacrifices one life, an animal, to provide skins to cover Adam and Eve. He in love banishes them from the garden, so as not to allow them to eat from the tree of life and live forever in their fallen state.
This picture of restoration is beautifully pictured in the story of Joseph. But we can only understand the work of God as it is revealed in time. Israel loved Joseph. Joseph was a blessing given to Israel in his old age by God. But because of Joseph’s dream, his brothers and father rebuked him. We only know after the story is played out in time that the dream came from God to Joseph. Israel sees Joseph created, destroyed (lost) and then restored. But Joseph is sustained by the promise of the dream. That the promise of the dream is from God and that in time, God will restore all that was lost or broken. “What was meant for evil, God intended for good.” Many were saved in Egypt and Canaan because of Joseph and the promise of God.
God promises to restore the world, corrupted by sin through the seed of the woman. Joseph assures his brothers that “God will come to their aid.” The same Word of God that created the Heavens and the earth will in fact redeem and restore the relationship between God and man. This is God’s promise.