Saturday, February 24, 2007

Day Ten (10)

Reading today: Genesis 25-26, Psalm 10, Matt 5:1-12, Acts 6

Genesis 25-26
There are so many stories and so many questions about them. Esau, indifferent to have given up his birthright - but why does simply swearing it to your little brother revoke it forever! Buchanan calls this "misplaced hunger" - wrong food, wrong time. And then we have a repeat of Abraham pimping Sarah with Isaac pimping Rebekah. What's the deal? What's the significance? The actions are motivated by self-preservation - worried they will be killed so the people can get to their wives. Is this lacking trust in God? Did He not tell them to go to those places? Will he not protect them (as in the Psalms!)?

Vv. 2-5 re-iterate the covenant once again, with the command not to go to Egypt. Then vv. 24 says it again with the words "Do not be afraid". Isaac must have been waning in his trust and needed re-affirmation of God's words after the conflict over water rights.

Psalm 10
Hmmm....God is silent. Those who do not believe in Him take it as a sign that He no longer sees, perceives, acts or judges and so act inhumanely. Those who do wait in patient endurance and trust, knowing that God will arise to protect the oppressed and judge with righteousness.

It's easy to think God isn't watching sometimes!! How foolish of us...

Matthew 5:1-12
The Beatitudes...We often think these are about what we need to 'do' or 'be like' in order to receiving the blessing of God. I think it is just the opposite. Jesus is teaching about the absolute reversal that happens in the Kingdom of God. The order and structure and powers of the world are flipped upside-down. All of the "for they will..." phrases Jesus says are characteristics of life in the Kingdom - justice, mercy, children of God, seeing God...Our world gives rank and authority to the powerful, the drivers, the self-motivated, the confident. In God's Kingdom, it is those who know their weakness, embrace it and accept God's gift whom are given eyes for the Kingdom. One need only look at Jesus' entire ministry to see this - it is the outcasts who come to Him and receive from Him. Because they know they need Him!

Acts 6
Where you have people, you will soon have conflict and discontent! It doesn't take long for the early church to start having problems, does it...We don't know if this problem ever worked itself out in this chapter - but of course there was pretty consistent tension between the Hebrew and Gentile Christians...

v. 10 - "None of the was able to stand against the wisdom and Spirit by which Stephen spoke". I had a prof who said the person who wins a debate is the one who can take for five minutes longer. But nobody can withstand the words of Stephen, not even those from the synagogues. I personally hate getting into debates and typically lose because the other person has more quantity to say. But we speak with authority through the Spirit. Of course, no one will ever be argued into faith. But nevertheless, there are times when we must proclaim what God speaks into certain situations and it is here we must discern what is of the Spirit rather than our own human response.

Curiously too, Stephen is transfigured in v. 15. An interesting time for it to happen!

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