Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Springs of Life and Death

Genesis 29-30: Wells and springs are symbolic in scripture of birthing new life. Think of all the stories you know (example) of that happen by wells. In today's reading, Jacob meets Rachel, the new woman of promise and soon to be vice-president of the covenant seed line.

If you're like me, your heart goes out to Leah. Jacob earned the 7yr dowry, fully expecting to receive Rachel, and got tricked by his uncle. Some would say it was comeuppance for "stealing" the blessing of the firstborn, but as I posted yesterday, I now (with the help of Jordan) think that view is wholly unjustified.

Jacob the righteous has wrestled all his life with his godless brother and compromised father and now he would wrestle with his deceitful father-in-law. Will it never end?

Jacob does honourably in that he does not abuse or mistreat Leah, but he clearly (and understandably) does not love her. The hand that Laban has dealt Jacob and his household is not ideal, but actually, God has done this and through the story of this seemingly dysfunctional family, he would show us many things about Messiah and his work of redemption.

Laban becomes an outright oppressor of Jacob, saying that all the spotted and speckled livestock will be Jacob's wages and then promptly removing them from Jacob's fold so that he has no opportunity to make any livelihood!! But God is with Jacob so the breeding technique he uses with the poplar branches is mightily successful. God does not forget his promises.
The more I live, the more v7-8 of Psalm 12 resonate in me.
Jesus starts nuking some of the religious assumptions of his hearers and reminds them that the obedience required by God is on a whole different level to that sold them by the Pharisees (You heard it said, but I tell you...) Of course, it was always that way, but the Jews, and especially the Pharisees, had idolatrously lost sight of it. Man in his impotence and desperation can only restrain evil or block its source. He cannot destroy it. The only way he can destroy it is to maim or kill himself - a somewhat self-defeating notion. He needs transformation, not morality.
Stephen becomes the first martyr of the New Testament church having rebuked the Sanhedrin for setting their hope on an earthly temple and persecuting the righteous. They should have known so much better. But, like Jesus, from his death, new spiritual life would spring.

The (true) logic of God is not our (twisted, self-serving) logic.

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