OT: Gen. 24:52-26:16
A lot of my reading today was just spent picturing all these family relationships in the history of Israel. I love history, mainly because I love picturing what happened in the past and imaginatively immersing myself in a different world. Thus, I try really hard to imagine what the characters looked like, to picture what their interactions were like. I picture the relationships between Laban, Rebekah, and their mom. And Isaac's relationship with his mom, for that matter. They seemed very close, seeing as how he and Rebekah were married in her tent, and the text specifically says Rebekah was a comfort after his mom's death. And I especially picture the scene where Isaac sees Rebekah for the first time. I think the Bible wants you to picture it. It is the closest thing we have gotten to a romantic scenario in this crazy wife-swapping, people-bartering culture. I picture Isaac thinking deep thoughts in the field at sunset and seeing the camels on the horizon. That whole description was so cool.
I picture the wedding in the tent, and I try to picture what their marriage looked like for the first twenty years. The text makes clear that Isaac "loved her," which is a Scriptural first. But for those first twenty years, they didn't have children. Meanwhile, Abraham and Keturah are being a pair of rabbits, having a whole slew of kids. I wonder if that was weird. I wonder what Isaac thought of Keturah and his new half siblings. I wonder about the contact between Isaac and Ishmael, as they buried their father together. I wonder what their relationship was like. Frankly, I'd like to see that whole funeral.
You can tell this text was written by a man:). I need more detail on the social interactions here! It's like I'm trying to get information out of Greg:).
Other things: I love the phrase, "was gathered to his people." I really wish I knew what that meant. It is interesting that Ishmael, who was not one of the chosen people of God, was also gathered to his people. Again, I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it doesn't sound bad.
I think it is interesting that Rebekah inquired of the Lord about the tempest in her womb, and that God answered her. And I pictured that birth scene a lot more graphically this time around.
And...enough with the "wife-sister" thing! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it? I bet Abimelech about had a stroke when he found out. I would have been so peeved. Luckily, the Philistines seem to have learned not to take sketchy "sisters" as their wives these days. Once bitten, twice shy, I guess:).
NT: Matt. 8: 18-34
I never really know what to make of these type of responses from Jesus. I guess when disciples ask to follow them, Jesus discerns their heart and gives them a tailored response. Regardless, he seems very clear on the fact that following Him entails denying earthly comforts (like a place to lay one's head) and requires full commitment (like leaving before you can bury your father). Not to be all "relative" here, but it definitely seems like Jesus calls different people to different things. For instance, he tells the rich young ruler to give up everything material, but he is impressed with Zaccheus just giving half of his things to the poor. The underlying commonality, though, seems to be that Jesus calls people to stretch their comfort zones. Maybe that just looks different to different people.
Psalm 10: 1-15
I love the frankness in verse 1: "Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" I love that God lets man talk to Him like that. Pretty remarkable, if you think about it.
Maybe it's a sign of the times, but I picture the arrogant wicked here like the people who think up credit card and mortgage schemes that prey on the weak. And I like that the psalm acknowledges that some people have decided that "God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees." Wicked men feel that way, but sometimes even the righteous wonder where God is, much like the psalmist himself did in verse 1.
Good stuff. I especially like the call to humility. Sometimes it is easy to seem "wise in [our] own eyes." Proverbs really puts in perspective how stupid that is.