Genesis 19: This chapter is about rescuing Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. I found several parts of this chapter troubling. First, the fact that Lot offered his virgin daughters to the men of the town so they wouldn’t harm his guests: “Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please” (Gen 19.8). That one definitely bothered me. Second, the death of Lot’s wife bothers me: “But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” (Gen 19.26). I kinda feel this was Lot’s fault. Yes she turned around, but he hesitated several times and questioned the angels. Last, the whole incest thing: “‘Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the world. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, so that we may preserve off spring through our father.’” (Gen 19.32-33) Just wow! Granted, his daughters thought they were the last people, but wow. One last thing, why was Gomorrah destroyed? It’s not really clear from this chapter. The first mention of Gomorrah in this chapter comes in Gen 19.24: “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.” The only explanation I could find is from Gen 19.29: “when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had settled.”
One thing I have to remind myself is that I’m reflecting on the Bible based on my modern day values and not the values of the times in which it was written. In my mind this doesn’t make these types of actions any less disturbing, but it is something that I have to remember. In no way does this excuse the actions. One of the scariest things is that there are probably places in the world that still operate in this way.
Genesis 20: Abraham traveled again. And again he said Sarah was his sister, not his wife. King Abimelech took her as his own. God came to the king in the dream and explained why this was wrong and that Abraham is a prophet. The king returned Sarah to Abraham and did good things to the king and his people. My first thought when reading this was “again?” Didn’t he learn the first time when they went to Egypt? Abraham explains that technically Sarah is his half-sister, but still not good. I’m trying hard not to judge, but it’s tough. Although, there is a lengthy explanation of why there is overlap between this story and the story of their travels to Egypt in Gen 12. The explanation is on page 38.
Genesis 21: This chapter is about the birth of Isaac, Abraham and Sarah’s son. God had promised this to Abraham and it happened. One strange part was the celebration that Abraham held when Isaac was weaned from nursing. I hope the notes explain this, but I definitely find this a little strange. Nursing is a natural part of life. It helps the mother and child develop a bond unlike any other bond. NOTE: No explanation was found in the notes.
Also in this chapter Sarah makes Abraham throw out Hagar and her son, Ishmael. Thankfully God took care of them because Ishmael was Abraham’s son. This aligns with Gen 16. The chapter ends with an arrangement between Abimelech and Abraham. It seems this is like a strategic partnership because Abimelech understands how important Abraham is to God.
Luke 6: In this chapter Jesus starts to attract more attention from others who are currently in power and who want to hold people back. I had forgotten that the Pharisees felt so threatened by Jesus: “The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him” (Luke 6.7). Also, this is the first time in Luke where Jesus names his 12 disciples. Considering that I know what happens, I felt a shift in my emotions when I saw Judas Iscariot. Although, more evidence that this was written later is in this verse: “Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor” (Luke 6.16).
There are several verses in here that resonate with me:
- “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. (Luke 6.20-21) (NOTE: I read in the notes that these were the beatitudes. I knew this before, but had forgotten.)
- Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6.27-28)
- Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6.31) (NOTE: Notes say this is Luke’s version of the golden rule.)
- But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great… (Luke 6.35)
- “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; ³⁸ give, and it will be given to you. (Luke 6.37-38)
Each of the above verses are important to me in different ways. First, I think these verses and especially this chapter provide more argument that Jesus would be considered a socialist in today’s world. Second, these verses are pretty much like rules to live by. Not just for religious people either. Obviously these verses would most likely mean more to a Christian than a non-believer, but the messages are important for everyone. These messages could and should be shared with everyone, even the non-believers.