Monday, August 18, 2014

The Middle East- Will Peace Ever Come/3

Abraham and Isaac are inextricably linked to every thing that happens in the middle east. One might think that with the birth of Isaac Abraham's life of faith would rest in the reward of his son. It was not to happen. The Lord promised Abraham that the entire world would be blessed through his son, Isaac. The Lord needed to find out from Abraham just how strong his faith was. So, waiting for many years for the birth of his son was not the end of Abraham's growth in faith.

Genesis 22 gives us the story of Abraham's testing in the command of God in regards to Isaac. God commands Abraham to take Isaac up to a mountain and offer him there as a sacrifice. Abraham complies and walks to the mountain with Isaac at his side. At one point in the walk up the mountain Isaac asks his dad about the animal to be sacrificed and Abraham tells his son that God will provide a lamb.

The sacrificial altar is made complete and Abraham binds his son. The writer, my opinion, cheats us in the narrative. The matter of fact sequence of events does nothing to paint the picture of pain and torment that must be passing between father and son. Picture the scene with me as Abraham raises the flint knife over his head to plunge it into his son. In his soul he must have passed the point of no-return. Isaac was going to die.

In a split second God himself calls to Abraham from heaven. His words set Isaac free and Abraham finds a ram caught in a thicket. Abraham's obedience to the voice of God brings another reassurance of the Divine Covenant between God and Abraham. The truth of Abraham's posterity and property inheritance is given again. This point in the covenant relationship between God and Abraham is the one that Israel rests upon.

As time passes Abraham buries his wife Sarah. He has other wives who bear him children. As Isaac matures Abraham gives his concubines and his children, by them, gifts and sends them out to the east. Abraham sends his servant to find Isaac a wife and brings back Rebekah. Abraham's tasks on earth are completed and he dies at an old age. His children occupy the land from the Sinai to the plains to the east.

God answers the prayers of Isaac and Rebekah becomes pregnant. Her pregnancy is a sign of things to come. The scripture describes her unborn as, jostling within her. She prays and God tells her that her two sons are going to be two nations and that the older son will serve the younger. That declaration from God is the opposite of the culture and Rebekah must understand what the implications are.

Rebekah delivers two sons, Esau and Jacob. During the delivery Esau enters the world first with Jacob holding onto his heel. Esau grew to be a rugged individual who enjoyed hunting and bringing game to his father. Jacob was a quiet man who stayed near the tents. Rebekah favored Jacob and Isaac favored Esau. Trouble is brewing as Esau comes in from hunting and is hungry. He sells his birthright to Jacob for red stew.

Such a simple act will lead to more deception and two brothers will become enemies. Isaac was old and his vision was failing. Desiring some wild game from the hand of his son, Esau, he sent for him. He told him to go and get some meat and prepare him a savory dish and that he would pass his blessing to him. Rebekah heard the conversation and while Esau was out hunting she planned to deceive her husband.

As Rebekah had planned, Jacob disguised himself to appear as Esau. He put goat skins on his hands and neck, his brother was a rather hairy guy. Jacob deceives his father Isaac with meat. Isaac passes the patriarchal blessing to Jacob. Jacob is now the sole heir of the blessing of property and rule. When Esau returns he learns of the deception and pledges to kill his brother.

Esau begs his father for his blessing but Isaac is unable to give his son what he has already given away. Isaac tells Esau that he must serve his younger brother and Esau heads to the East.

I will post the next piece on Thursday.

No comments:

Post a Comment