Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Weekend Report - Genesis 25-31

Text ColorPassing on the Abrahamic Torch
[Genesis 25-26.] Thursday came with some changes. The writer of Genesis ends his history of Abraham in chapter 25, and focuses more in chapter 26 on Isaac taking on the faith and promises of his father (as well as a few repeated sins). Isaac has grown from the promised child, to helpless teenage sacrifice, to the new Abraham here. Genesis doesn't claim to give a complete history of the people and events it describes. Not even close. But in these snapshots, we get to see our fathers in the faith at different stages. We get to relate to Isaac as children; as teenagers; as men making their way in the world; and then finally as old, accomplished men ready to give our blessings to the younger generation. Abraham's story has ended, and for one, solitary little chapter, Isaac's has just begun (Jacob takes over in the next chapter). The torch has passed. A new day is coming. And, 4000 or so years later, how will you take Abraham's torch from Isaac and run with it?

You Must Begin At the Beginning
[Genesis 27-29.] No generation starts off with everything covered. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - each does his own work and builds on the family's legacy. Jacob especially: although he was blessed by his father and given Esau's birthright, we are told that he crossed the Jordan with only his staff and came back with enough possessions to be two camps. He grows too. He turns from an indoors kind of guy to a full-time shepherd; from tricking his blind father to trusting in Yahweh; from dirt poor and penniless to ridiculously rich; from single to married with kids. He starts to take on more responsibilities and gets less radical as the years go on. He crossed the Jordan a tricky, deceiving young man. He came back a responsible family patriarch. He is a testament to the fact that you usually do not start where your parents were. You start at the bottom and work a dead-end job shepherding (or something else) while you build wealth. You get married. You start a family. I'm getting married in a couple of months. This is where my mind is right now.

On Marrying the Boss' Daughters
[Genesis 30-31.] Okay, so Jacob never planned to marry both of Laban's daughters, stay on as his shepherd for 20 years (originally just a year or two, while Esau's anger subsided) then have to escape by night to get back to his home land with his wives to start his new family. But he probably needed the time to become a new man; back home he was only the lesser-loved son of a father who took favorites (Isaac picked up that trait with Rachel's sons though), who only narrowly escaped "dwelling away from the fatness of the earth" through his mother's devious actions by tricking an old blind man. The kid grew up around preferential treatment of others by his father. That causes some identity issues. So, back to marrying the boss' daughters: as Jacob found out, this isn't necessarily a great way to get a raise. And even if it was, you still shouldn't try. People are evil. A guy like Laban would sell his own daughters for a husk of corn. Sometimes people are successful because they are very good at taking advantage of others. Laban was like that. So be aware before you marry at work. That's a word to you office dwellers.

*Based on's Chronological Bible In a Year schedule. If anyone would like to join in, this blog's comments sections would be a good forum in which to share insights from the text.

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