Saturday, January 08, 2011

New Year: Gen 25-28 for Jan 8

As we mature, our parents tell us things, but don't state all the implications they can think of, as often. They couldn't, and probably wouldn't, because they are also "telling us," by skipping some things, that they think we can follow more of those ourselves.

Here, at the very time we would expect "everything to be perfect" for the foundation of the nation that takes its name from this man, is Israel (Jacob), lying through his teeth (27:24), having been prodded by his mother into an elaborate makeshift masquerade (27:8), that could only work because of advanced onset of age on the part of has father Isaac (27:1). And yet the direction of history is described as coming through these events (27:33, 39-40).

This is not the first time the story has shown God's use of the contrary deeds of men, and the vicissitudes of events in time, inviting us to consider the implications of them, and how God's plans come about in the midst of them, in spite of them, using them. One way the explanation is given is by showing that the contrary deeds are taken up by God to bring about things in God's plan. The very promises to Abraham in 12:1ff. and 15:19-21 fulfil an imprecation and blessing uttered by Moses waking up from wine, 9:25-27. Abram and Lot separate due to conflict (13:8), and God uses that for teaching Abram what land to walk around in (13:12-18). A war, going back and forth (14:10-23); famines (26:1), and travels (25:18), and literal cover-ups (27:16), and barrenness of the womb (25:21), and old age, and people in the Old Country (24:27), and schemes to produce children (16:2). Here, even the warrior-personality of Esau (25:29-34), and even his revenge-plans to kill his own brother (27:41-45) all illustrate how God is over the contrariness of them all, fulfilling what He has promised. The text doesn't say "do you see that God's promises will come about despite these contrary things?" It teaches them this way, so that we will come to conclusions by following this history ourselves.

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