Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bible in One Year: Day 4

February 4, 2017 Genesis 10, 11, 12; Matthew 4

Today's readings include another genealogy, or three, a lot of Babel, wife swap, and an odd conversation partner.

Genesis 10

This chapter contains the generations of descendants of Noah. While at first these genealogies are overwhelming, there is a benefit to reading them. This particular section tells us a lot about what the Israelite faith believed happened after the flood. The children did not stay in the same area, but spread over the land. Note that Canaan's family become the ones who populate areas such as Sodom and Gomorrah, making it even easier to revile them later.

Genesis 11

The Tower of Babel is another one of those great stories of the faith. I remember hearing about it in Sunday School and then wondering what God thought about all of our advances technologically and building wise. I admit being nervous to stand on the top floor of the tallest building in my hometown (21 stories high) because I was scared God might think it was too high.
What do you think is the importance of including this account in scripture? What question might the editors have been trying to answer with these words?
 Next we have the genealogy of Shem in more detail. Here we are given the ancestors of Abram, who will play a very significant role in the upcoming chapters. Of note is that here Abram's wife is mentioned by name as is his brother's wife.

Genesis 12

Abram is a different sort of fellow. We see him follow God's command without much obvious questioning. He moves with his wife away from family and friends. God promises to give his descendants this land. But there is a catch. We have already been told that Sarai is barren. How might this take place?
Abram, the great father of the faith, loses some esteem in my eyes for the way he acts in this chapter. When they come to Egypt, in order to save his own skin, he lies and says that his wife is his sister. (Okay, so she's his half-sister, but still, his wife!) Sarai is placed with the household of Pharaoh and becomes Pharaoh's wife. Abram benefits from this arrangement with flocks and goods. When Pharaoh learns he has been tricked, after all kinds of bad things have happened to him and his house, he orders them to leave. Abram gains his wealth by selling Sarai, and it's not the only time he will attempt this trick.

Matthew 4

This passage begins after the baptism of Jesus. He goes out into the wilderness and stays for 40 days. During this time he is tempted by Satan. He is offered food, miracles and power. But Jesus time and time again refutes the devil, knowing his call and purpose to be much bigger than a contest in the desert. The devil leaves and angels come and minister to his needs.
We then learn how Jesus came to be in Nazareth and hear the calling of his first disciples. I would like to say that I would have been willing to follow Jesus if he had walked up and said "Follow me." but I not sure that I would have been that brave. Having the whole story it seems like the obvious choice, bt without the rest of scripture to help interpret this act, I think I might have found it foolish.
As Jesus continues to minister, people continue to be drawn to him and his teachings. Matthew tells us he was known throughout the land and went about curing the sick, healing those with major illnesses and casting out demons. I think often we try to limit Jesus' healing and influence to the past, but the word of God is still powerful and healing today.

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