Whew! I made it! All of the generations and the beginnings of law all piled together is one of the most daunting parts of the Bible for many folks and I am not exempt. What I found was a new appreciation for law and generations by choosing not to dig deeply or try to remember, but to just read and see what rose up.
I ended up with pages of notes and questions each day but here are a couple of the most striking points from this first week:
(Genesis 1)Both Light and Dark were created from the void- and God called BOTH good. What can we embrace and learn from the dark?
(Gen. 1) Plants were given seeds “according to their kind.” This equates to people and what we bring out into the world- we create seeds according to who we are. If we are kind, we create seeds of kindness. If we are cruel we create seeds of cruelty. What kinds of seeds are being created by you in your daily life?
(Gen. 1) If we believe this story to be true in all ways, then our nature to distrust God and seek our own truth was created in us. You see, in order to even desire to eat the forbidden fruit against God’s command required a level of distrust in God and self-security in our capacity. The ability to disobey God is NOT the result of sin. It was there before we were cut off by that choice. It is what caused that choice. And it is how we were created. God created us to be thinking for ourselves, not to be puppets. We were created to be able to choose to nurture relationship or choose to destroy relationship. So what is the real lesson here? If we choose to believe the one absolute truth of the Bible is that it accurately depicts the relationships between humans and also between us and God, then we can see that we tend to destroy relationships and must conciously choose to stop doing that or we see our lives filled with sorrow.
(Gen. 20-ish) Abraham was a jerk. Time and again he goes somewhere and rather than standing boldly (heck, even meekly) by his wife, Sarah/Sarai, he protects his own hide and tells her to tell everyone she is his sister. Not just one time. And every time she is taken as a wife by someone and that required Abraham’s permission. So he was pimping his wife out to gain safety. He was a jerk.
So much for caring. No wonder God had “closed up her womb” until she was no longer of child-bearing age. Otherwise, he likely would have argued it could have been another man’s child. She was blessed and protected by God when her mate would not do so for her. But wow- did that blessing and protection also cause her sorrow.
I certainly no longer see Abraham/Abram with this fatherly, loving, positive view. He was not a good guy. But…. He was righteous in God’s eyes. Why? Because even in his imperfection and screwing people up and over, he loved God and followed God’s commands. What do we learn here? God loves us for trying to be obedient even when we do it imperfectly (which we always do).
(Gen 31) Question: Did fathers still “own” their daughters after marriage? Why was it bad for Jacob to flee Laban with his daughters when they were legally wed to him and had even born him children? I don’t know the answer-but am intrigued enough to find out as it reveals more about the role of women in that time.
(Exodus) Pharoah and Moses: Why are we always Moses/the Israelites and always assume someone else is Pharoah in our lives? (see another blog post for this as I believe it is worthy of extrapolation.)
Leviticus: Blood is scary shit!!! Ok. Let’s back up and say this, having worked in a hospital I know that human fluids bear all kinds of scary stuff. Blood especially. It holds our very self in it and all of the ugliness of what is in us too. One drop of blood can wreack havoc. How amazing is it that the Israelites had these laws to protect life and they actually bear up to our science today? Shellfish, pork, blood, semen. These things all have the potential to be deadly very quickly and they simply did not have the science we have today to help them deal with the consequences so the rules were hyper perfectionistic. Funny though how God gave ALL animals and plants to humans to eat in Genesis and then there are limitations later in Leviticus. One point of proof that God does indeed change the rules for our own welfare.
Is your mind reeling? Mine sure is. I am seeing all kinds of new details by reading so quickly and directly through the Bible. Read on next week to discover what else pops up. As deeper topics arise, I will post out seperately on those topics. I have a feeling I will have a year of blogs to write out of these notes!