Monday, December 17, 2012

Hey - I'll give you my birthright for some of that stew

We have next the story of Jacob and Esau - Esau - who is what a man of his time was supposed to be - but also was very rash - comes in hungry and basically trades his rights as oldest son to his 90 pound weekling brother for an after school snack.  Not, perhaps, a sign of a thoughtful individual.

We move on from their to the story of a famine and Isaac repeating the mistakes of his father, Abraham, but also redigging some of his wells and having God reinterate the promises that He made to Abraham.

Bible study is taking a two-week break.  January 7 we will resume the story of Isaac and Jacob

Monday, December 10, 2012

Moving from Abraham to Jacob

We are reaching the end of the Abraham story and through to Jacob - to get there we go through Isaac.

In many ways Isaac is the hinge of the story - it is through him that we move from the story of a person (Abraham) to the story of a nation (Jacob)

But before we get to Jacob there are three things to point out:

1. Isaac takes Rebekkah into his mother's tent - he puts her in Sarah's place
2. When Abraham dies Isaac and Ishmael come together to bury their father
3. Ishmael, as God has promised, becomes the father of a nation (and has 12 sons - remember that when we get to Jacob) - but that his nation is established between Egypt and Assyria - in other words, far away from Isaac

Monday, December 3, 2012

Waiting for God

It seems appropriate that as we begin Advent we find Abraham still waiting for God to begin the process of keeping his promise.

We pick up Abraham's story with him heading to the land of the Philistines.  Abraham, apparently, wasn't paying much attention when he was in Egypt, because he tries the same thing here - having Sarah say that she is his sister and giving her to the king of the land.  God again intervenes and returns Sarah to Abraham.

Then, finally, Sarah and Abraham have a son, Isaac.  After the rejoicing subsides, Sarah gets very jealous of Hagar and Ishmael and Abraham sends them out into the wilderness.  God saves Hagar and Ishmael and promises that he, also will be a founder of a great nation. 

We turn back to Abraham and God has one final challenge for him.  God tells Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God.  To us this is a shocking thing for God to ask.  Abarahm would not have found it shocking - all of the gods of all of the people among whom Abraham lived required the sacrifice of a child.  What made it a test was that Abraham had waited so long for this son.  Abraham obeys God and God does not require the sacrifice of Isaac.

We then hear of Sarah's death and of Abraham securing a burial ground for her in the land of Caanan.  And then Abraham's thoughts turn to acquiring a wife for his son - this is the transition between the Abraham story and the next major portion of Genesis - the Jacob story.