Today’s exploration of these ancient themes in Genesis is going to be a bit different.
We’ve been walking with Abraham the last several weeks,
seeing God move in and among the creation
choosing a people to be God’s people
and then helping them SEE differently, ACT differently
and God shapes them, molds them, guides them.
These ancient stories are about who God is,
God’s persistent, challenging, sometimes inscrutable love
and how that goes head-to-head with human proclivities
to do things our way, following our convention.
But Abraham now has died, Ishmael even comes back from the wilderness
and helps Isaac bury him, in the very cave Abraham bought to bury Sarah
and the story moves on: with Isaac and Rebekah and their own follies.
Isaac and I will always have a close bond. We father’s of twins.
But If there is anything I’ve learned as a parent of twins, its that all twins are different.
These two: Esau and Jacob, seem to be completely different personalities:
One ruddy, athletic, a marksman
the other dark, contemplative, cunning.
My girls: much more alike, much less conflicted with each other. Thank goodness.
All twins are different.
And this story in Genesis is the beginning of another sordid affair
the first act in a multi-part production where Jacob wrestles
the birthright duly owed to Esau
first through this pot of lentil stew,
and then through tricking Isaac
for a blessing a bit later down the road.
It is part of Genesis’ explanation of how the lineage of the Hebrew people
passed not through the expected right of succession…
through the firstborn son (even in the case of twins)
but through Jacob, the one who later would wrestle with God
who would be renamed Israel
Israel—the name which literally means “wrestle with God”
Jacob, the one who would father 12 sons of his own, bless his heart
and his Technicolor dream coat.
It continues the tradition of God being God, and not doing things the expected way.
God chooses the younger kid, the weaker kid,
even before they were born.
Esau would also be great, would also be the first of many nations
but the line of the Hebrews, of the covenant,
would go through Jacob.
Unexepected. Unpredicted. Unplanned.
What kind of God is this, exactly?
But we also have before us this terrific story of Jesus
that gets the same themes, the same rumblings, the same disruption.
Maybe today, rather than looking directly at Isaac and Jacob,
we could look at the parable of the sower… [Read more...]