Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Joseph

Awhile ago I posted questions/observations I had from the beginning of Genesis. Well, I finished Genesis and LOVED it. Who knew it would be so cool to go back and read this book of the Bible I have only read sections of before. So, without further ado, here are my observations from the rest of Genesis:

* I got PISSED in Genesis 19 with Lot (Abraham's nephew). Two angels of the Lord are at his home in Sodom. While they are there, men from the city surround his house and demand that Lot bring out the two "men" (not knowing they were angels) so they could have sex with them. Lot goes out to them and says, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them." What a great dad!! Jerk.

* Even though I have heard the story of Abraham being tested many times, I still love it as much as ever. He was asked to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. And he was totally going to do it! Dang! I liked the idea of how the Lord stopped him right before he did it, and provided a ram instead for Abraham to sacrifice. One life for another. Just like the ram took the place of Issac, Jesus would one day come and give his life instead of us.

* Issac's son, Jacob, was a little swindler! He took his older brother Esau's birthright (the inheritance rights of the firstborn) AND his father's blessing by pretending to be Esau. Issac was too old and couldn't see and knew he was near death. He wanted to give his oldest son his blessing before he died. With prompting from his mom Rebekah, Jacob lied to his pop (saying he was Esau) and stole what wasn't his.

This scene breaks my heart: (it happens right after Issac gives Jacob his blessing) Esau comes in from hunting and is bringing his father food. " 'My father, sit up and eat some of the game, so that you may give me your blessing.'

His father Issac asked him, 'Who are you?'

'I am your son,' he answered, 'your firstborn, Esau.'

Issac trembled violently and said, 'Who was it then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him - and indeed he will be blessed!'

When Esau heard his father's words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, 'Bless me - me too, my father!'

I can just imagine Esau's anguish and tearful pleading. His younger brother had taken his birthright and now deceitfully stolen his father's blessing as well. And he cried out to his father for a blessing, too, but it was too late. Jacob received what was meant for Esau and would in turn be lord over him. Sad sad sad.

* Favoritism sucks. Parents, don't have favorites. Look at what Rebekah caused by favoring Jacob over Esau. Look at what happened to Joseph because Jacob favored him over all his other brothers (more on that in a moment).

* In Genesis 32 when Jacob struggles with God, the angel tells him his name will no longer be "Jacob", but it will now be "Israel" because he had struggled with God and men and overcome. I have a study bible, which has been awesome. The notes according to this section talk about how the name Jacob/Israel shows the characterization of the nation of Israel: the people who struggle with God and with human beings and overcome.

* Joseph. It wasn't his fault that his dad, Jacob, favored him over his bros. But he could have been a bit more selective in what he shared with them. For example, if your brothers are already annoyed at their father's favoritism and that you have been given an amazing coat with tons of colors on it while they are stuck still wearing boring blah clothes...you might not want to tell them dreams you've had about them bowing down to you one day. It's called tact, buddy.

* Another cool note from my study bible: "Joseph's experiences in Egypt, as well as those in his youth in Canaan are similar to Israel's national experiences in Egypt. Initially, because of God's blessing, Joseph attains a position of honor (in Potiphar's house); he is then unjustly thrown into prison, his only crime being his attractiveness and moral integrity (not to sleep with Potiphar's wife). And finally he is raised up among the Egyptians as the one who, because God is with him, holds their lives in his hands. Similarly Israel was first received with honor in Egypt (because of Joseph); then it was subjected to bondage, it's only crime being God's evident blessings upon it; and finally God raised Israel up in the eyes of the Egyptians (through the ministry of Moses) as they came to recognize that these people and their God did indeed hold their lives in their hands." I like the comparison!

* Later when Joseph is number 2 under Pharoah and his brothers come to see him to ask for food (they don't recognize him), chapter 43 verses 29-30 say, "As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother's son, he asked, 'Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?' And he said, 'God be gracious to you, my son.' Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there." There are a few other passages that talk about Joseph openly weeping (revealing himself to his bros, hugging Benjamin for the first time, seeing his father when Jacob comes to Egypt, receiving a message from his brothers after Jacob dies, etc). He was emotional and sensitive, no doubt through all the experiences he had been though in life. It is very beautiful to me.

* Joseph's brothers intended to harm him, but God intended it for good. He was able to accomplish many good things through something that had been meant for evil. How true is that in life! Romans 8:28 comes to mind.

Anyway, these are just my random ramblings. I have so many more, but these are the biggies. Feel free to add any commentary of your own or call me out if I've misunderstood something. And seriously, when you get the chance, I totally recommend going back and reading Genesis. It's been so cool to see how God can use fallible, sinful humans and do amazing things through them. It gives hope to the rest of us!!


Amanda said...

I love this! There's so much truth in what you have said, but at the same time you make it funny.

Carolyn said...

Good post.