God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18 - Genesis 19-21: Dysfunction in the Ancient World

Today’s Reading: Genesis 19-21

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

This section should remind everyone—especially if you have a dysfunctional family—of God’s ability to take non-ideal situations and have things made right through them.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Lot tried to save God’s angels from being harmed by the residents of Sodom. He fled to save his family from the angels’ destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. To preserve their lineage, Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.
Abraham and Sarah repeat their deception in the Negev. Abimelech asks them to leave after Abraham blesses them and prays for the health of their women.
At 90 years-old, Sarah gives birth to a son, Isaac. She now wants Hagar and Ishmael out. God allows this to happen and promises both Hagar and Abraham that Ishmael would become a great nation.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Lot wants to protect God’s angels even though he does not realize they are God’s angels.

Lot’s righteousness is seen when he pushes these visitors to sleep in his house to protect them from the residents of Sodom. He does not realize they are God’s angels (Hebrews 13:2). God sets things right when his people protect those who they may have no relationship to.

Lot’s daughters provide an example of a "lost in translation" moment.

Americans read this section with horror and disgust. This decision made sense to these women: 1) (because I believe in a literal, six-day creation) Genes were less spliced at that time. Close relatives could reproduce without the major problems of today. That is why Abraham married his half-sister, Isaac his first cousin once removed and Jacob his first cousin. It wasn’t taboo because there weren’t as many problems for the children. 2) There weren’t as many men to choose from at that time. Marriage had major political ties. Marrying a woman from a land that had just been completely destroyed was unthinkable and there weren’t any Hollywood producers to create a man willing to rebel against that.

Sarah’s prejudice against and hostility toward Hagar and Ishmael is never resolved.

Yesterday I mentioned these hostilities could be a cause of the animosity between Arabs and Jews today. This story seals that fate. Yet Abraham does not simply kick them out or tell his wife to leave them alone. He consults God who promises Abraham Ishmael would become a great nation.

The Bible is not sanitized for your listening pleasures.

Never let anyone tell you the Bible is not believable because the stories are too much like children’s stories. With stories like these, no one should ever accuse the Bible of being too Disney. These were real problems faced by real people. These people were not heroes or heroines who had super-human faith and made the right decisions every time. They were just as human as people living today. Abraham and the rest decided to act on their strong faith because they had faith willing to act. Oh, may we have faith as strong as these!

What did you see reading this passage? Questions? Comments? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.

If you missed a reading or want to go to a specific date, type the link as follows: http://grahambates.blogspot.com/2013/mm/dd.html That will take you to the reading for that day. Enjoy!