Sunday, February 25, 2007

Day Eleven (11)

Reading: Genesis 27-28, Psalm 11, Matt 5:13-20, Acts 7:1-38

Genesis 27-28
Lots of questions arise in this story of Jacob and Esau and blessings. Ironically, Jacob and Rebekah are working in deception what God has already foreordained (25:23)! We, as readers of the Bible, love to dichotomize all of the characters in absolute polarity. But really, neither Jacob nor Esau is "good" versus "bad" - they both have negative characteristics which God must deal with in accomplishing his purpose to form a nation in His name. There are some good thoughts at this site:

We are often puzzled by the whole irrevocable blessing idea. One writer says, "The concept here is that a word spoken has its own existence and power, so a blessing once given was a power already implemented."

There is an interesting pattern here. God consistently uses children other than the firstborn to pass down the covenant. This was completely opposite of cultural norms. But the Kingdom of God is always a reversal of humanity's power structures. Here's a graphic of it: Of course, the greatest example of this is Jesus Christ as the Second Adam.

Psalm 11
The theme of God as Protector has been prominent for me as I read the Psalms. I think we underestimate God's ability to shelter us and be a refuge for us in the midst of our every day (often, not always) tumultuous lives. Even when outward appearances seem otherwise, God is still protecting us. Why is this so hard to believe? Why can't we just trust in this? Too often, our five senses overrule our relationship with God.

Matthew 5:13-20
A wonderful passage. Jesus is talking to the outcasts of his society! THEY are the salt of the Earth, the light of the world. How? Because they are a part of God's Kingdom, empowered by the Holy Spirit. As Christians, our actions so often become rooted in moralism and legalism - doing the right thing because we're "supposed" to and that's what Christians should do. But our actions should always cause others to praise God (v. 16). What are we doing that causes people to praise God? Christianity in the large part is more known for what it is against than for the good deeds it does...

Acts 7:1-38
Stephen responds to the accusations that he had been telling people Jesus would destroy the Temple and change the customs handed down from Moses. A very tight summary of the story of the formation of the Jewish nation.

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