Thursday, August 16, 2012

Genesis 22-23; Isaac as an offering, Sarah dies

Well, the title of our post tonight pretty much sums up what happens in these chapters, but if you'd like a little more detail, we'll synopsize for you.

God decides to tempt Abraham.  He's like, "Hmmm....what's the thing that Abraham loves the most?  Ah!  His son!  I'll ask him to give me his son as a burnt offering to see if he's REALLY my guy!"  So God instructs Abraham on what to do and where to go.  Abraham and his men get to the mountain and he says, "Hey guys, why don't you just sit this one out.  I'm going to take Isaac here and we'll do this burnt offering father-son style."  So  they get up there and Isaac's like, "Um, Dad?  I see wood for fire...but where's the animal for an offering?"  And Abraham proceeds to tie up his son to this pile of wood, picks up a knife and finally, the angel of the Lord calls out and says, "Stop!  I was just messing with you!  Man, you're dedicated!"  And as a result of Abraham's God-fearing, God says yet again that he will multiply Abraham as the stars and make him a great nation.

Who among us today would be this faithful?  I would like to say or think that we all would, but a sacrifice like he was willing to make is a BIG one, and I bet that many/most of us wouldn't be so noble.  But it's something to chew on.  We see stories in the bible again and again of people who are willing to choose death over disobeying God--and they're always rewarded for doing so.  Just remember this the next time you are faced with a tough moral dilemma; so long as we choose God (even over the people we love the most!), God will take care of us (and ultimately the people we love the most).

Chapter 22 ends by outlining the family of Nahor, Abraham's brother (Haran was his other brother, Lot's father).  This is setting the stage for meeting Isaac's future wife, Rebekkah...yup, you guessed it, more inbreeding (evidently this was not frowned upon at the time).

In Chapter 23, Sarah dies.  She lived to be 127 years.  Abraham asks the sons of Heth (I'm not sure who Heth is) if he can bum some land for a burying place off of them.  They're like, "Yeah, take whatever you want."  So Abraham says, "I want that much do I owe you, Ephron?"  To which Ephron replies, "No, take it, it's yours.  You owe us nothing."  This goes back and forth a couple of times until finally Abraham says that he insists and they accept.  So now Sarah is buried in (as described in the book) "Machpelah before Mamre; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan."  So I'm not sure exactly what that Machpelah before Mamre just another way of saying Hebron in Canaan?

Anyway, big stories.  Lots of information.  If you haven't read the book, do it.  It's never too late to start!

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