Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 27: More Children and Little Children

Genesis 25, 26 & Matthew 18:1-20

Genesis 25:

Abraham marries a woman named Keturah in his old age, presumably after Sarah dies. She gives him six sons. Abraham gives each of these son’s gifts, but then sends them away so that they cannot compete with Isaac, the child of the promise. Perhaps Abraham had finally learned a little about wives and children from his experiences with Hagar and Ishmael.
Abraham reaches 175 years of age before he dies. We are told that he is buried by Isaac and Ishmael, in the same land he bought to bury Sarah. It is interesting that the other sons are not present.
Ishmael’s family is mentioned briefly. Ishmael has 12 sons who become 12 tribes. He died at 137 years of age. It is interesting that the phrase translated by the NRSV as “settled down alongside” can also be translated to mean “fell upon, made raids against.” This speaks to the view that Ishmael and his children were wild and violent. This may have been true, or it may have been the perception Israelites wanted to enforce to explain their dislike of those tribes.
More children are born in this book! This time we hear of Esau and Jacob. There is trouble from the start with these twins. Esau, meaning red, and Jacob meaning takes by the heel, start their life wrestling in the womb with one another. This foreshadows their tumultuous relationship.

Genesis 26

Isaac echoes his father’s mistake by trying to pass Rebekah off as his sitter to Abimelech and his people. When Abimelech learns of this he is upset and orders everyone to stay away from Rebekah. He later sees them as an even bigger threat and tells them to move on from his lands.
Isaac begins digging wells that his father had originally dug. Each one is contested. The third well, however, is not fought over and so he calls it Rehoboth, or room. Finally Isaac feels he has the room his family needs to grow.
Meanwhile, Esau marries not one, but two local women both Hittites. They make life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.

Matthew 18:1-20

The disciples are so often worried about their place in the kingdom of God. They are ambitious. They want to get in on the ground floor of the new world order. Imagine their surprise when they ask what it will take to be the greatest and they are pointed toward little children.
Jesus talks about having the faith of a child, the kind of faith that trusts completely because it’s never known anything else. Children were not held up in that society, in fact they were not really seen as anything other than property at worse and extensions of their parents at best.
Then Jesus talks about a model of conflict resolution. This model is fantastic! It keeps people from manipulating and triangulation one another. There is transparency and accountability. And at the end in verse 18 the you mentioned is plural. This is referring to the power of the church assembly to remove someone from the community who is a chronic trouble maker. A great idea in theory, but not always practiced well.

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