One of my great joys as I engage in this Bible reading journey with you, is the privilege I have of reading these passages with my oldest son, Isaac. When I announced a couple of Sundays ago that this would be a reading plan for the whole church he presumed I meant him as well….after all, he is part of the church, right?! Foolish me! When I was making plans, I didn’t presume that a nine year old would actually consider himself part of the congregation and desire to read the Bible in an intentional, methodical, devotional fashion! God continues to bless me in embarrassing ways!
It is in reading with my son that this week’s passages have taken on a new emphasis. Many of the passages are built on family relationships. Not only will you read about the great faith of Abram (soon to be renamed Abraham) the man, but you will also read about the failure of Abram, the husband. You will read heart wrenching accounts of parents, Abram and Hagar, who are asked to trust God with the well-being of their beloved children in ways that defy our sense of logic and decency. You will read about the blessing of a father over his two sons and the competitive, manipulative relationship shared by these brothers.
These are some difficult passages to swallow and I welcome specific questions you may want to offer about any of the individual readings!
Here’s the bottom-line for me this afternoon as I think and write about what I’ve read: We serve a God who is able and willing to work through the mess that defines our life to accomplish His great purposes! Sometimes it’s impossible for us to understand what God is doing, especially when it comes to people we love like our family. However, I believe the entirety of our study in God’s word will demonstrate that, indeed, He can be trusted in the midst of the chaos! This encourages me when I think about the chaos of my own life!
Some questions for you to consider and respond to:
1. What do you think was going through Abram’s mind as God commanded Abram to sacrifice his son, Isaac….the son that God had previously promised would be the seed of nations and generations that would number the stars in the heavens?
2. How do you reconcile God’s use of Jacob’s deceit to accomplish his purpose of founding and blessing the nation of Israel? Does this mean that God condones deceit?