2013 – Pilot Mountain, North Carolina
One messed up family
Genesis 27: Fix me a hearty meal so that I can…bless you.
If there ever was a dysfunctional family, this is it. Isaac, frail and blind, is basically interested in being taken care of. Rebekah is a conniving, manipulative wife. Esau, well, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer and Jacob is, as his name suggests, “a heel.” Here my friend is a family in dire need of counseling! Isaac, who will live for years longer, is convinced he’s dying and needs to pass the promise given to his father, Abraham, on to his son. However, he can’t imagine blessing anyone without his having a full belly. Rebekah hears her husband’s intention and goes to work to secure the blessing for her favorite, Jacob. Again, this is a messed up family! For the people of ancient Israel, hearing this story must have been a letdown. After all, these are their ancestors: their heroes of their faith. Abraham had his share of blunders, but, ultimately, he comes out looking good. Isaac, his son, ends up with a family that would be at home in a modern sitcom. However, there’s one redeeming feature to all this. You see, the story isn’t really about the tragic comedy of Isaac and family. Instead, it’s about God. Their pitiful story is redeemed by the Redeemer. The Lord has made promises to this family and he intends to keep those promises. The Lord’s always gracious and while their situation may not be very pretty it does serve to highlight the brightness of God’s grace.
Take away: I’m thankful that the Lord works through the comedy of my life in redeeming ways.
2013 – Smoky Mountains and vicinity – White Water Falls area
Genesis 26: Any why? Because Abraham obeyed my summons and kept my charge.
Abraham is one of the great heroes of the Bible so it doesn’t surprise us that his son, Isaac, seems pale in comparison to his colorful father. Isaac, in fact, is better known for things that happen to him than for things he does. As a child, Ishmael picks on him. On the mountain, he’s the object of his father’s greatest test of faith. Later on, a trusted servant gets a wife for him. He keeps getting pushed around by the people of the area, and then, as a poor blind man, he’s deceived by his wife and son. In some ways, he’s a historical place holder between Abraham and Jacob. I don’t want to be too hard on Isaac. None of the things I mentioned about him would tend to produce a vibrant, powerful leader. Can’t you imagine him on a modern psychiatrist’s couch? Talk about a person with issues! Still, we see that God is with Isaac blessing him and multiplying his wealth. The scripture says the Lord does this because of Abraham. All the blessings the Lord promised his father spill over onto Isaac and are then passed on to the next generation. This is an example of God working according to his purposes and in view of the big picture. I’m reminded today that sometimes I’m the recipient of what might be called “accidental blessings.” I’m not saying that God doesn’t intentionally allow them into my life, but just that the blessing has a lot more to do with the obedience of others than it does me, or that I’m blessed because of God’s larger plan and not really because of anything specific about me. Such realizations ought to cause me to be humbly thankful for good things that come into my life.
Take away: When I’m blessed I need to be humbly thankful and realize that, at times, they aren’t about me at all.