NOTE: I had a lot to say on this reading today.
Genesis 25: In this chapter Abraham remarries and has many children with his new wife. Abraham then dies and is buried with his first wife, Sarah. The text then explains Ishmael and his descendants followed by Isaac and his descendants, twin boys named Esau and Jacob. While Esau was a strong and gifted hunter, Jacob was clearly smarter and cleverer than Esau. At the end of this chapter, Jacob makes Esau give over his birthright for food.
One thing that I keep coming back to in my mind is that it is really hard to follow along when it comes to any type of family tree. I was about to try to make one, but thankfully other people beat me to it. For this situation, wikipedia is a good place to start. Go here for the family trees from Genesis and here for the genealogy of the Bible. Additionally page 52 in my Bible has a genealogy chart. This is definitely something that I want to explore further.
Genesis 26: It’s interesting how this chapter parallels parts of Abraham’s story. For example, there’s a famine so Isaac leaves and heads toward Egypt. God stops him and he settles in Gerar. Here God appears and says “Reside in this land as an alien, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath that I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring, ⁵ because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.’” (Gen 26.3-5) Abraham was pretty much told the same thing by God.
What surprised me was that Isaac told people that Rebekah was his sister because he was afraid men would kill him and take Rebekah. Just like Abraham. I may have actually said “again” out loud when I read this part. Isaac ends up getting rich and is asked to leave by King Abimelech. Also, poor King Abimelech. He was also tricked by Abraham. Part of me does feel sorry for the guy. Alas, onward. After he leaves God visits again and says something very similar as to what he said before: “And that very night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you and make your offspring numerous for my servant Abraham’s sake.’” (Gen 26.24-25) I’m a little confused as to why this was said again. It’s interesting that this chapter ends with a brief mention of Esau, his marriage, and how they make it difficult for Isaac and Rebekah.
Genesis 27: WOW! I don’t think I knew this story. This chapter was all about how Rebekah tricked Isaac into blessing Jacob over Esau. It was mentioned earlier how she preferred Jacob over Esau, but this was really deceitful. Dressing Jacob up like Esau and having him serve food to his blind father, Isaac. The entire time he pretended that he was Esau. This deceitful episode seems to be very sinful. The notes point out that during this time-frame women had very little power in their culture and used deceitful tactics to get their way. Pretty interesting that this story aligns with stories taken from other cultures. This is not the first time I read this. I know some of the creation story aligns with stories from other cultures.
Luke 8: I can’t help but think as I read about Jesus that I wish I knew more about his childhood and his life in general prior to his baptism by John the Baptist. I am a fan of history and typically want to learn as much as I can about topics that interest me. Jesus’ life very much interests me. What was he like as a child? Was he mischievous like most toddlers? What about as a teenager and even as a young man?
There is an interesting parable that made me think about something else I read today: “‘Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. ¹² The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. ¹³ The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. ¹⁴ As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. ¹⁵ But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.’” (Luke 8.11-15).
Earlier today I saw a clip showing an elected official in the Republican party argue that to pay for the border wall between Mexico and the US they should take money from the SNAP (food stamps) program. Seriously!!! I was absolutely disgusted by this. Over the past few months as I’ve prepared for this endeavor I’ve thought a lot about the bracelets that were popular a few years ago. They had WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) on them. As I pay attention more and more to politics, I’m amazed at the number of elected officials who proclaim to have a strong faith and then propose things that could harm the people most in need in our society. It makes no sense to me. But, how this relates to the parable: I wonder what group of seeds individuals like this represent.
Much of this reflection has not focused on the story in the chapter, but this is how I felt reading about Jesus and the good things he did. He healed people, he rid a man of his demons, and he brought a girl back to life. Now, as someone who accepts science and looks for evidence in things, it is hard to understand if these things happened. But as a person of faith, I can safely say that I can believe in these amazing actions. Unfortunately there are many people out there who fundamentally disagree with me. People of faith and people of science. However, my belief system is something that no one can take away from me. I feel good knowing that I can have that belief system in my life and still accept scientific achievements. As I have heard others say, if God created us, then he also gave us a brain. It would be a shame if we didn’t actually use it.