Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Jan 8, Gen 25-26

Today's readings are Gen 25-26.

In Gen 25, after Sarah dies, Abraham takes a concubine and continues to produce offspring, though none are as favored as Isaac, who is blessed by God after Abraham dies (Gen 25:11). Isaac's wife, Rebekah, is barren like Sarah was. Isaac prays for his wife and she conceives. Like Abraham, Isaac is another type of advocate/arbiter. God seems to provide someone to stand in for His people, someone He will listen to and use as a blessing at times and as one who convicts at others. This is another pattern we will see as the biblical narrative develops, there is always an arbiter, someone who will pray for and represent God’s people. These arbiters (
also known as mediators) that we see in the old Testament are imperfect representations of the One to come.

Rebekah has twins, Esau and Jacob. The way they're born is a harbinger of the path their lives will take. Jacob, although he is second strives against Esau, holding on to his heel. Esau grows into a hardy and seasoned hunter, Jacob seems to be somewhat of a momma's boy. Esau foolishly gives up his birthright for a bowl of Jacob's stew. This embitters Esau and will become a problem later. It shows us something about both boys that will play out as the story develops. Jacob seems to be devious and manipulative. Esau seems to be impulsive and perhaps a bit reckless, not to mention volatile and independent. 

Meanwhile, Ishmael, Isaac's brother, becomes the father of twelve sons, just as God promised. The beginnings of what will become nations are rising up out of Abraham's two sons. Ishmael settles in Havilah and Shur. Isaac is in Gerar.

Gen 26 reveals how much Isaac is like his father when he lies in calling Rebekah his sister, causing a problem for Abimelech (probably the first Abimelech's son or grandson). Nevertheless, God shows grace to Isaac and remains true to His promise, preserving Rebekah and protecting the lineage. In another act of incredible grace, the covenant God had with Abraham is formally passed on to Isaac (Gen 26:1-5).

There is ongoing tension between Isaac and the Philistines, this time over water and wells. Isaac has God's blessing but struggles with those around him. This is a snapshot of how God's people will survive in the world. Even though they receive God's favor, provision and protection, this is no guarantee that things will be easy for them nor that they will be liked or well-thought of. Indeed, they will be at odds with the world while walking in the grace of God.

Esau shows his true colors by marrying foreign women and causing grief for Isaac and Rebekah. This couple, Isaac and Rebekah, who have been so blessed by God still have their heartaches and struggles. This comes from living in a fallen world. None of their stumbles, hardships or heartaches nullify God's promises, alter His plan, nor diminish His grace.

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