The Book of Genesis has influenced all the people of the Middle East and North Africa. Christians cannot fully understand the beginning of the universe, or human sin and redemption if they ignore this book. As we continue to highlight our short web series on SAT-7, we turn to a storytelling program that takes Arabic speakers through the marvels of Genesis.
Stories with Sheikh Rifaat is a storytelling drama series that began airing in Fall 2016, with episodes lasting four to seven minutes each.
(“Sheikh” is an Arabic word for a revered community leader.) The series is presented by the renowned Lebanese actor, Rifaat Torbey, who is known for his strong faith in God and valuable contributions to Bible-teaching plays for children. In the episodes, the main character, Sheikh Rifaat, simplifies the meaning behind ancient historical events in Genesis.
Torbey conveys the greatness of the Old Testament by using all the elements of storytelling, capturing viewers’ attention with an honest and humble performance. By dramatically interacting with the characters of the stories, he debates with God and with his own consciousness. He voices questions, demanding explanation to uncertain passages in Genesis, such as, “Why did God give Pharaoh two dreams for Joseph to interpret, and not just one?” Torbey explains, “There is nothing like storytelling. We live in a culture that thrives on stories.”
For many modern readers and viewers, the Book of Genesis is seen as challenging in its content and controversial in its meaning. Torbey says, “The Book of Genesis is fascinating as it represents important symbolic stories reflecting the coming of the Christ in the New Testament.” He further clarifies, “Through the show, I simplify the process of understanding the stories in a thought-provoking way, obediently reaching out for answers from God’s commands in the Book of Genesis.”
This series ministers to a culture that is raised on storytelling. It combines teaching, imagination, and gives a response to challenging questions. It targets a wide audience of all ages and backgrounds, eager to listen and learn from stories of God the Creator.
Recent episodes tell of the scriptural account of Joseph being sold by his brothers into slavery, Potipher’s wife wrongfully imprisoning him, his interpretations of Pharaoh’s dreams, and his later promotion to become the ruler of Egypt. One might naturally wonder why so many bad things happened to Joseph, but Stories with the Sheikh highlights how God stays with him even in jail, restores his freedom and family relationships, and even uses him to see the nation through famine.
Joseph’s story of redemption is a testament to the saving power of Christ in the lives of our millions of viewers. The Book of Genesis talks not only about God the Creator but also portrays Him as a Redeemer who cares for His creation. God in Genesis is the Redeemer of the whole world and can transform the lives of our viewers. Thank you for your part in bringing this Truth to them!
Next week, we will introduce a short Turkish program that lets audience members ask their burning questions about Christianity.
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