Bible Discussion: Genesis 23-26

April 11, 2007, 11:15 am; posted by
Filed under Bible, Job, Josh J, Steve, Tom  | 16 Comments

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next four chapters of the Bible, Genesis 23-26.

Previous discussions from Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22

 
INTRODUCTION:
Pastor Dave:
Hi, I’m Pastor David Maxon, associate pastor at Dexter Faith Fellowship, husband of Connie, father of Stephen, Jeremiah, Thomas, Rose, Sarah and John — need I say more?

Steve:
One of the common criticisms of the Bible is that it’s nothing but a book of fairy tales cooked up to consolidate power and keep the lower classes in line. But for a so-called “myth,” it’s crawling with incredibly specific historical details, many of which can be easily verified today, and would have been taken for granted by its ancient readers. The place names, the genealogies, the pitch-perfect description of Middle Eastern bargaining, courtship, and real estate sales — all are more fitting with a contemporaneous recording of historical fact than an ex post facto work of fiction.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Tom:
The elaborate flattery and veiled negotiations over Abraham’s purchase of the field and cave in which to bury Sarah seems a lot like typical marketplace bartering.

Job:
It’s noted that the Chief Servant waited until the camels had finished drinking before breaking out the jewelry and further questions. Kind of like when you wait for the fizz to recede before adding more soda. You just don’t want to rush it…

Steve:
The use of the nose ring when Abraham’s servant found Rebekah.

Pastor Dave:
I never noticed the steps Abraham went through to procure a parcel of land to bury Sarah — all the tribal politics he had to negotiate to be sure not to offend the sons of Heth.

Josh:
Chapter 24 is a good deal longer than seems necessary. When Laban asks Abraham’s servant what he has to say, rather than summarizing, the account has him tell us nearly verbatim what we just read, even repeating conversations. It would have been great if he finished his tale by saying, “So then I came here and told you I had something to tell you, and you asked me what it was, so then I said…”

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Josh: Bury Your Dead
Pastor Dave: Kindred
Steve: Red Stew
Tom: Out Red
Job: This Oath of Mine

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
Tom:
When Rebekah comes back with the servant to become Isaac’s wife and first sees him across the field, I’m reminded of the scene in The Muppet Movie where Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog sight each other across a field of wheat, run to each other, and she crushes him in her porcine arms.

Pastor Dave:
Two elderly women were driving in a large car; they could barely see over the dashboard. As they drove, they came to a red light, but they just went on through. The passenger thought, “I must be losing it. I could have sworn we just went through a red light.” In a few minutes, they came to another red light, and again they went right through. The passenger was almost sure the light had been red but was also worried she was crazy. At the next intersection, she was sure the light was red, but they went on through again.

She turned to the other woman and said, “Mildred, did you know you just ran through three red lights? You could have killed us!”

Mildred turned to her and said, “Crap! Am I driving?

(You didn’t say the story had to relate to the passage! I just was reminded of it.)

Job:
When Jacob earns the title ‘supplanter’ for grabbing onto Esau’s heel, I am reminded of all the supplanting and treachery in the Shenawana Hall Room Draw at the end of each year at Houghton. Devious men, working quietly to bring complete destruction to my plans of having a corner room single!

Steve:
The parable of the prodigal son, and any other story where perception of a parent’s love, whether accurate or not, sends a child in the wrong direction. Anna Nicole Smith, perhaps.

Josh:
The effusively complimentary bargaining for Sarah’s tomb reminds me of how sterile much of the economic exchange in our culture is. When I was in South Africa, I enjoyed the experience of shopping in aggressive street markets as much as anything. In my parents’ home sit a pair of candlesticks that I quite literally could not refuse. As the man selling them haggled the price with me, he simultaneously wrapped them and put them in my hand, saying, “Take these back to America.”

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
Pastor Dave:
Even after Isaac lied about his wife being his sister, God’s blessing was not removed from him. Why are we so quick to think that because of a failing on our part, God will turn His back on us?

Josh:
Our choices reflect our true priorities. Esau was said to despise his birthright, based on the choice he made. We know that where our treasure is, there are hearts will be, but it could also be said that what we treasure shows where our hearts already are.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Job:
Isaac strikes me as a “caretaker patriarch,” never achieving the same sense of urgency with his life as Abraham and Jacob had, but with nothing overwhelmingly dramatic or disastrous either. Fewer chapters are devoted to his life than the others, and in fact, his story is abandoned for Jacob’s, long before Isaac even dies.

Steve:
Another wife for Abraham, filling up the ancient world with kids. With the current legal climate edging away from that outmoded “one man, one woman” definition of marriage, polygamy won’t be that far behind gay marriage. There’s a Biblical case against it, as well as logical and utilitarian arguments, but there sure is a lot of it all through the Old Testament.

Josh:
I love the OT sign of a human promise. Handshakes today may be considered binding, but they can be done quite casually. If I’m putting my hand under another man’s thigh, best believe I’m serious about what I’m saying.

Pastor Dave:
After digging two successful wells and being sent away each time by local herdsmen, Isaac’s servants dug a third with success, and then lived at peace with their neighbors. Don’t be too quick to pick a fight — look for God’s will in every situation.

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
Pastor Dave, Josh, Steve:
26:4 — “and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”

Job:
The encounter between the servant and Rebekah at the well reminds me of John the Baptist and Jesus when the Savior comes to be baptized. One moment the servant is the face of Abraham’s family, an authority, and the next he’s the escort charged with bringing the new matriarch back to the clan. With John the Baptist, Jesus drew near to the water, and John was the first to call Him “Messiah.” With a dip, He began His ministry.

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
Pastor Dave:
26:35 — “And they [Esau’s Hittite wives] were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.”

My sons are getting to be of marriageable age, you see…

Josh:
25:23 — “And the LORD said to her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.'”

Tom:
The most romantic verse in the Bible, Genesis 24:63 — “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming.”

Job:
24:1 — “Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.”

Steve:
25:28 — “And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”

 
PORTION YOU WOULD MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Josh:
Why does there appear to be no consequence and accountability for the repeated “she’s my sister” lies of Abraham and Isaac? Their fears of death seem completely unfounded and certainly no excuse. These lies seem to show a lack of faith, so why are others the only ones who suffer, while the patriarchs prosper?

Steve:
Was all that polygamy just to populate the world? If so, what were David and Solomon doing? And what was the deal with the patriarchs picking all those barren women?

Tom:
Did Abraham’s servant pierce Rebekah’s nose when he gave her the nose ring, or did everyone just happen to have their noses pierced at that point?

Pastor Dave:
A birthright for a bowl of lentil stew — what were you thinking?

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Pastor Dave:
“…and may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them.” The gates referred to the area where important decisions were made. We can and should live a victorious life over our enemy and foil his plans.

Steve:
Isaac and Rebekah’s selfishness in affection toward their sons created a lot of problems, starting in this passage and continuing through the next few chapters. Did she tell Isaac what the Lord had said to her? Did she tell her favorite son, Jacob?

Josh:
Don’t make important decisions on an empty stomach.

Job:
In the back-and-forth dealings with the Philistines, I see parallels to my confusion with the cocktail of blessings and rebukes God can bestow in tandem. It’s like the game Labyrinth, where you pivot the deck to direct the ball through a maze, pitching the angles to different extremes with incredible frequency. Wells are stopped up, new wells are unexpectedly found. The Lord’s will, and our path to it, is littered with blessings and sorrows, but hopefully always lit by obedience.

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
Pastor Dave:
Here we see the formation of a godly nation, founded on obedience to the voice of God, which is followed closely by His blessing.

Josh:
One theme from this passage is the importance of choosing the right spouse. Abraham took the responsibility of finding his son’s spouse seriously and took steps to ensure that she would be the woman the Lord chose. Esau, on the other hand, extended his poor judgment to his marriages, choosing wives from among the Hittites, and they were a source of grief to his family.

Steve:
This is really a fascinating glimpse at a culture and a time far removed from our own. Almost everything around us in the world has changed over the past 4205 years, but people are exactly the same — motivated by greed, lust, hunger, respect, thirst . . . and occasionally love and devotion.

 
CONCLUSION:
Josh:
As our friends at Campbell’s would say, never underestimate the power of soup.

Pastor Dave:
God’s got a plan, God wants to tell us His plan, and God wants us to follow His plan.


Comments

16 Comments to “Bible Discussion: Genesis 23-26”

  1. Steve Carroll on April 11th, 2007 12:23 pm

    Hey Josh are you allowed to use existing band names. If I knew you could do that i would have used Twisted sister last week!!!

  2. Steve on April 11th, 2007 5:06 pm

    Thanks for joining us this week, Dad!

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