Showing posts from July, 2014

Reflections on the text – Genesis 29:15-28

Read the text here:  Genesis 29:15-28 What Goes Around… We are about halfway through the Jacob cycle and it might be a good time to pause and consider where we are in the story.   We began this entire set of stories with God speaking to Abraham – 1. you will be a great nation; 2. you will be blessed; 3. so that you will be a blessing to the nations.   This promise is at the foundation of the entirety of all three narratives.   With the Jacob cycle we have shifted the focus from the concern of securing the inheritance and having children of promise to the issue of blessing.   And Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob have all bought into the belief that God’s blessings are scarce and unique.   This consequently fuels the conflict that divides this family.   Jacob tricks Esau into giving up his birthright (which would have included the blessing – Genesis 25); Jacob and Rebekah conspire to deceive and steal Isaac’s blessing for Esau (Genesis 27); Esau is so incredibly angry about this betra

Reflections on the text – Genesis 27:41-45, 28:10-19a

Read the text here:  Genesis 28:10-19 A recording of the sermon - preached on Sunday, July 20 is available here:  Wartburg Parish “On the Run” or “Jacob Didn’t Climb No Ladder” I am climbing Jacob’s ladder, I am climbing Jacob’s ladder… Every step gets higher, higher, Every step gets higher, higher…   Because of this well-known camp song this story in Genesis 28 may easily be the best known of entire set of Patriarchal/Matriarchal story cycles.   But at the same time just because we know the song and have a familiarity with at least the overall theme of the story doesn’t mean we get the point, in fact I think the opposite is true – we often miss the point of this story because the popular and well-known song provides an image that completely contradicts the story itself – who is actually climbing the ladder (which in Hebrew is more of a ramp and not really a ladder)?   Hint – it’s not Jacob! Last week we focused on the first part of chapter 27 and heard how Jacob and his mo

Reflections on the text – Genesis 25:19-34 – The Jacob Cycle

Read the text here:  Genesis 25:19-34 Esau & Jacob – A Couple of Wild and Crazy Guys! We move into a new cycle of stories with our Genesis lesson for this weekend.   Up until now we have been focused on the story of Abraham and Sarah and Abraham’s sons Ishmael and then Isaac.   This weekend we move to a new set of stories that are centered on Isaac’s sons – Esau and (especially) Jacob.   At the same time there is also a shift in the focus from God’s promise and the fulfillment of this promise – in particular the promise of being a mighty and populous nation – to the issue of blessing .   God’s promise to Abraham in chapter 12 (repeated in chapter 16) is in three parts – 1. Abraham and Sarah would be a great and mighty nation, and in order for this to be fulfilled they would have to have at least one son, who (eventually) is born and named Isaac; 2. God will bless this people of promise freely and unconditionally; 3. All of this is so that they might be a blessing to all th

Reflections on the text – Genesis 24

Read the text here:  Genesis 24:1-67 Blessings All Around We have come to the end of the Abraham and Sarah cycle of stories and next week we will move into the Jacob cycle.   Often I think we look upon these Biblical characters as larger than life and as models of great and heroic faith.   One of my goals in preaching on these texts for this summer is to try to bring them down to earth and to help us see that they are just human beings like you and me, who can at moments exhibit great faith and courage (such as when Abraham packs up and moves his household south on the basis of God’s command – chapter 12; or even when Abraham takes Isaac to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah – chapter 22).   But then there are also moments of great failure, weakness and unfaithfulness (like all of their dealings with Hagar and Ishmael – chapters 17 and 21, and Sarah’s cynical laughter in response to the 3 visitors – chapter 18).   In this they are like us. So we come then to chapter 24.   Sarah die