Posts Tagged ‘Kingdom of Heaven’

Genesis 36

1This is the account of the family line of Esau (that is, Edom).

 2 Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite— 3 also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.

40These were the chiefs descended from Esau, by name, according to their clans and regions:

   Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43 Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom, according to their settlements in the land they occupied.

   This is the family line of Esau, the father of the Edomites.

“Baby, even the losers get lucky sometimes,
Baby, even the losers, keep a little bit of pride, they get lucky sometimes,”

I don’t think there is a lot to be said here.  I considered not writing a post at all about this chapter.  But then a thought occurred to me.  “This guy was the loser in the deal.  And he still gets a spot in the Bible.”  Why?

So, if you haven’t been around lately, Esau is the elder brother in a odd situation.  He is a twin.  Usually, the elder brother is the chief punk in his house.  But not this one.

During Rebekah’s pregnancy, she cried out to God because her pregnancy was so uncomfortable.  And God replied, telling her that she was having trouble because she had twin boys inside of her, and they were struggling with each other.

In fact, God also told her that the younger would be greater than the older.  That there would always be contention between the brothers. And that oddly, the older would serve the younger.

I wonder if she considered that often as the boys grew.  She must have.  Esau, as a young man must have put the weight on first, gotten the hair on his arms and legs first.  He’d have likely been 1st string on the Varsity football team.  He was the big, rugged guy.

Jacob- well.  Jacob did home econ.  He liked to cook, preferred sitting by the fire, and long talks with with his mother.  He was… dainty, fair skinned.  And mouthy.  Surely there was a mistake made.  She must have misunderstood what God meant.  Hormones and stuff.  Jacob?  Waterboy material.  Smart, sure.  But overpowering Esau?  Controlling Esau?  Nah.

And yet.  It happens.  Rebekah sees to it that it happens.  And it goes.  But not well.  So Jacob runs.  Far.  And for a long time.

He grows wealthy, establishes a strong and prosperous family.  He is blessed by God, and in time, God comes to change his name.  Israel.

And all along, right in the middle of all that, Esau.  Esau is still here.  Still chugging along.  And not doing so bad for himself either.  Just has this nasty little curse hanging over him.  Screwed over by his brother, and his parents resent him some, because in his anger, he married with the local girls, none of whom were especially impressive to Isaac or Rebekah.

Yet here he is, in the biblical record, with a burgeoning family.

God has actually blessed him in his lifetime.  Kinda like God actually blessed Ishmael in his lifetime.  Why?

Because He is a life lover, and a promise keeper.  And he told some people he would make whole nations out of their families.  A promise like that is potent.  It doesn’t die in the frost.  It survives.  It springs through crusty ground.  It is drought tolerant, heat hardy, and, well, it just grows.  God promised Abraham that a nation would come through his son.  From his own body.  And God blessed Hagar and Ishmael because, well, they were connected to that promise, by hook or by crook.  And so is Esau.  Yeah, he was impetuous with things.  Yes he got robbed.  And yes he did not handle it especially well.  But there’s another “yes” to be considered.  Yes, he is a part of Abraham’s bloodline.  And Isaac’s.  And that’s not nothing.

God is generous.  God keeps his word.  If you are in Jesus bloodline, if you are walking in Jesus’ footsteps, living in two planes- two realities, the Kingdom of this world, AND the present Kingdom of Heaven- if you are part of Jesus’ family heritage, then there can be no question.  God has raised you up with Jesus, because you are tied to Him.  God will be generous to you, regardless of how you screwed up your birthright, without regard to how you might have valued soup over your place as an image bearer of your creator.  God is generous to you without regard to your anger management issues.  God is generous to YOU with only the very highest regard to your unbreakable connection with Jesus.   As He wills to bless Jesus, you too will be blessed.  And as He blessed Jesus to do good works, peeling back the veil of God’s nearness and His kingdom’s nearness, He will move in you, stirring your spirit to compassion, goodness, mercy, gentleness, peace, and patience, placing his hand over your hand on the curtain between this world and God’s world, and aiding you as you turn it back to reveal His ways, right here, right now.

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I have a great friend and pastor who once dropped this one on me: Jesus, in his resurrected body, is the most real thing in the universe.

(pop).

Rob Bell, in his book Velvet Elvis, writes that he is “simply trying to orient myself around living a particular kind of way, the kind of way that Jesus taught is possible.  And I think that the way of Jesus is the best possible way to live.”  Later, Bell writes that when you live the “way” Jesus taught, you begin to notice- to realize that you are living more in harmony with “ultimate reality.”

(pop)

Yesterday, the pastor’s message had a brilliant line: “The degree to which you are obeying the law of God, you are real.”

(commence forceful popping).


So in your very best “Cheech” voice, ask yourself with me: “What is re-AL-ity, maaaan?”

What is “real” anyways?  Is “real” something you can see?  Something you can touch?  Does tangibility constitute being “real”?  What qualities do all “real” things share?

What qualities do “UN-real” things share?

The bible talks about principalities and powers, it talks about spirits of the air.  It talks about levels of Heaven, and the world of the grave (Sheol).  It talks about the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Caesar.

Jesus say “my kingdom is not of this world.”  There’s angels and demons.

Or do we go with Neo?  There is NO spoon.  (remember to take the bag out when popping slows to 2 or 3 seconds between pops).


The question for me is this: if Jesus lived the perfect life, and has been resurrected- if Jesus’ resurrection is actually the firstborn of man to the life that God desires for all of us, if that is our goal, our destiny, our pursuit- to live into that life- is there anything now that can be called real?  Is there anything now worth doing?

Paul writes that the deeds of our lives will be tested- sort of like a product from a factory- “Does it meet x-y-z criterion?  Will it be what we are saying it will be”?  He says that when it is tested all that which was not of God and for God will be burned away, leaving only what is God pleasing to remain.  And that will represent our life to God.  This is not a scale.  We do not need to make weight to be received warmly by God.  We are received warmly by God.  Period.  But there is a noted difference between the things of our life now that are God’s and those which are not.

These things are real.  That which burns away- not so much.  They do not attach to our legacy.  God says those things are not real.


So what on earth are we left with?  Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven in the same breath as forgiveness.  As healing Luke 8:1-3.  As repentance (Mark 9:46-48).  In the same breath as mercy to the poor (Mark 10:21).  He talked about faith in the face of optimism (Matthew 8:9-11).  In the face of humility (Luke 7:28).  In the face of delayed gratification (Luke 22:16).

So I guess those are the things that are real.  Really, really real.  The degree to which my life looks like that, I am real.

What do I need to strip away to get down to the really real?  Where has my life taken on the qualities of unreality?