Posts Tagged ‘remember’

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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Genesis 9

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you…

15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

Can you imagine stepping off the ark?  After six months of water, water, everywhere, finally stepping down onto solid ground? If you’re in the Navy, or were, you might be able to envision this.  I would suggest though, that while similar, the experience is not exactly the same, because even though you were in the middle of the ocean, and there was no land in sight- you knew that somewhere out there, over the horizon there was land.  You were on your way somewhere.

The bible says that when Noah got off the boat, he made an altar and burned a sacrifice  to God, and that God was pleased by the aroma of the sacrifice.

Putting myself in Noah’s position, I wonder if there might be an element of fear- worry that if I somehow screwed up, this time I might not get the heads-up or the boat.  Worry that if I did something wrong, the rains might come back.  I’m not saying that the sacrifice was done fearfully- I’m guessing that it was done in a spirit of elation.  But down the road, after the first argument on dry-land, after the first mistruth between a husband and a wife, or a father and a son- then, would he wonder?

But God steps back into the picture, kneels down, and firmly promises:  Never again.  I solemnly swear [covenant] that you never need to fear the storm.  I will never again destroy all life by the flood.  The seasons will always come and go, and the sun shall always follow the rain.  And I will always remember.

And, he says, just to solidify your confidence in this promise, I will make a visible reminder- visible to me, and visible to you, to remind us both of this day.

God has reset the score.  The LIFE He created had been almost completely consumed and wrapped in the stench of dead-living.  So he cleaned the surface off again, and set the only righteous person he could find in the middle of it to start over again.  And he does!

Sort of.

Till the harvest.  And then he discovers the wonders of wine.  And gets himself so faced that he ends up naked on his couch.  Amazing?  Talks directly with God, and then heads straight for the first frat party he can find.  These are the people God talks with!

These are the people that God talks with.

1 of Noah’s 3 sons sees his skunked, naked dad, crashed out on the couch, and makes fun.  He calls brothers 2 and 3 over to get a gander.  But they decline, and choose instead to cover their dad, and go back to trying to forget the whole naked, 600 year old business.  When Noah wakes up from his “slumber” (read: passed out), he discovers what had happened and lays out a curse that would make a fisherman blush and cover his dainty ears.  And we see the Bible lay out an explanation for the beginnings of a conflict that would permeate the Persian culture forever.  We read about it now, every day.

Back in the garden, God made man in “his own image” and gave him authority over the earth.  Ideally, that was supposed to work in a more cooperative way.  God makes a ruling, man executes that ruling on earth, acting as God’s regent, bearing God’s image, and standing as God’s man on earth.  God vested man with that authority, with that power.  So when a blessing flows from a man, or a curse, it has certain degree of weight.  When Noah lays the curse on boy #1, and the blessings on boys #2 and #3, it has weight.  Just as Jesus declared thousands of years later- “what you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven…”  

What will I curse today?  What will I bless?  I haven’t feared God probably, like Noah might have, following the flood.  Maybe I should be more afraid.  But Jesus has come, and he has removed the need for me to fear.  Maybe that’s my evidence of salvation- I don’t really fear God because I have confidence that the blood of Jesus is enough for me.  But that doesn’t remove the fearful aspect of a Holy God in the presence of corruption.

But God delivered somebody from the flood.  And he continued to talk to him, even though Noah proved to be human (read: prone to sin).  And ultimately, God did this to reestablish LIFE- in contrast to the dead-living, death-wrapped “life” that covered the earth prior to the Great Flood.  God did this to fulfill his long-term promise to Eve in the Garden that somebody from her lineage would smash the serpent’s head.  And He promised that because God loves LIFE.  He loves being around LIFE.  He wants LIFE to spread and rise, and fill.  God loves LIFE.  And God keeps his word.  Always.  And it is to his pleasure.  His desire to see LIFE.

When the Man Comes Around

Maybe you already know this, but I homeschool Boy#1. We’re about half-way though kindergarten. You know, the truth of the matter is the hardest part about homeschooling is just picking which of the bo-zillion curricula you’re going to use.

We went to a seminar for homeschool educators and there was of course, a vendor’s hall, and numerous demos during the seminar. But I only needed a few minutes hearing about one mom’s experience with My Father’s World and I was a slobbering pile on the floor.

What I loved about it was how it managed to make a comprehensive and interesting collection of lessons to teach a child how to read and write, and every lesson tied back to the promises of God in Jesus using illustrative passages of scripture each week from both the Old Testament and the New.

This week, we are discovering about the letter “e.” “E” like for elephant. So there’s a flashcard, and a smaller, business size card- both with a drawing of an elephant, and a short phrase that the child memorizes. Then throughout the week, as we learn about elephants, we will come back to this card, and see the letter, see the elephant, and then recite the memorization phrase.

Aside from their tremendous size, and apart from their huge, ivory tusks, elephants are characterized as having amazing memories. So Monday’s lesson incorporates as much encyclopaedic information you can present about elephants, and a brief written “moral,” composed to help the teacher wrap the beauty of the elephant, and it’s amazing memory into a faith-component. The phrase this week?

“When I see an elephant, I remember all the wonderful things God has done for me.”

So what?

The thing is, what do you do then? So I asked him. “Tig (named after the bouncy tiger from 100 acre woods), what do you do when somebody does something wonderful for you?”

“I thank them.”

“Okay. How?” Silence. Eyeballs. He’s apparently used to my method of questioning. This is the part, I guess, where I explain what I’mreally getting to. So being his mother’s son, he’s not going to waste anymore time “playing.” His eyeballs and flat expression speak: “Okay- I’m ready.”

In an effort to change up my M.O. (I hear that variety is good for keeping kids interested), I stare back at him. (I know, it’s just delicious, isn’t it?).

“How do you thank someone?”

“I say “thank you,”

“AWESOME!” I reply. But he’s not buying it. He’ll just wait till I’m done. It’s like he can hear the words lining up in my brain. “But you know what? God doesn’t want us to simply look at him and say “thank you!”” He says that doing His will pleases Him. That having a heart like his is more important that manners!”

How do we “remember”? Is remembering strictly a cognitive act? Is it something in our minds? Remembering is tied to action in the bible. Jesus said that when we eat and drink in communion, that we would be remembering him.

The meal they sat to eat that night was itself a remembering. The Passover meal, when they remembered the bread of their affliction, their slavery and suffering in the house of slavery, in Egypt.

When we are baptized, we sacramentally remember Jesus’ death, and his resurrection. And we take part in it.

And when we feed the poor, and speak for the voiceless and oppressed we remember that we were once poor- though dressed in society’s finest, our hearts were wretched.

When we live in our homes with compassion and forgiveness for those who cross us the most, for those who routinely take the most from us, and offer the least in return (at times, I’m saying) then we remember how we have taken and not returned in kind.

How do we remember? How do we thank?

“When I see a sinner, I remember that I have been forgiven, and still need to be.”

“When I see a blind man, I remember that I am a led man.”

“When I am cursed, I remember that I once cursed.”

“When I see a drowning man, I remember that I myself have but my face above the water.”