Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Soap opera families & their wells

So we head into the story of Isaac and his family which feels at times like reading the script from a dysfunctional family who are the main characters in a sitcom. Twins are born with very different personalities and characteristics and their relationships within the family are plagued by being favoured by mum, Rebekah or dad, Isaac. This leads to the twins being played off each other - perhaps as weapons used by mum and dad to get at each other.

Firstly, Jacob steels the birthright of the first born son, Esau. He takes advantage of his hunger and finds a weak moment to manoeuvre himself up the 'food chain' and take Esau's place and be in line for the inheritance of the firstborn.

Secondly, Jacob tricks old Isaac - once again, buoyed on by his mother - into passing on the paternal blessing - the equivalent of a modern day will in many ways, which was solemn and binding as an oath - to himself.

What is striking is that once again, through manipulation and scheming the purposes of God seem to be fulfilled. Perhaps its these verses that so many Christians base their conduct on!

I've skipped over the fact that Isaac repeats Abraham's misjudgement of passing off his wife for his sister to protect himself as there isn't time today but just two things to note before i go to cook the family meal...

The unplugging of wells - i love this sense of generations before finding the source of life-giving water and later generations re-discovering them and opening them up again for their benefit and blessing. Its so great to see in my lifetime the church (in particular Methodism) re-discover the old wells of long ago with a fresh desire to plant churches of all different kinds, a thrust for discipleship and mission, a renewed commitment to prayer and a fresh challenge to engage with God's word and grow in holiness. These are the great discoveries of the past. As much as we need pioneers to find the brand new ways God is moving and shaping the world and its people, we need people who will search the scriptures and watch the land closely to see where the old springs have been and to work to unplug those old wells of before in churches, in towns, even in people's lives, that fresh, life-giving water - the living water from which we will never thirst, is experienced and drunk deep again.

And lastly, after Jacob's affirming and God-given dream, as a response to God's goodness to Him he spontaneously offers a tenth of everything the Lord has given Him. Once again, the principle of tithing is present even before its command is given. It's encouraging to me and perhaps challenging to others that this principle of Christian giving isn't just tucked away in one obsucre reference, but this principle appears time and time again within God's word and is one God's people would do well to respond to.

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