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Posts Tagged ‘Adam’


Hebrews 10:30-39: Trials Well Borne

Friday, May 11, 2018

James Tissot: The Mess of Pottage – Jacob and Esau

This reflection continues thoughts posed in the Revenge and Forgiveness post from September 9, 2012.

Obadiah, one of the Minor Prophets, offers us ideas we will want to examine further.

From the ARCHEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE we discover themes. We learn that Obadiah’s  name means “servant of Yahweh,” and many scholars believe that his brief prophecy was written between 586 and 553 B.C.E. We know that Obadiah does not specify that his prophecy is meant for any particular king or event; yet he indicates that a major calamity has occurred in Judah and that the Edomites have capitalized on this event.  In general, scholars believe that there was a post-exilic setback for the Israelites, and most believe it to be the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. They also remind us that Edom itself fell to this same empire in 553 B.C.E.  All of this sets up a story of intense tribalism, payback, and retaliation. We look a little further.

Who are the Edomites and where is their land? These people descended from Esau, the son of Issac, who was cheated of his heritage by his brother Jacob and his mother. Obadiah writes to the people of Judah (the descendants of Jacob) condemning the Edomites for their treachery and violence toward the people of Judah.  He also rails against the people for their sins of arrogance and indifference toward God.  So this prophecy harkens back to the conflict between these two brothers.  Judah feels that the hostility shown to them when they are at a low point by the people of Edom is cruel and unjustified.  Edom’s arrogance was founded in its nearly impregnable mountain strongholds where the Edomites safeguarded their wealth (gained from trade) in rock vaults.  Obadiah teaches that God is sovereign over all nations. (Zondervan 1464-1465)

James Tissot: The Meeting of Esau and Jacob

So much of what we read here reminds us of the story we live each day; our modern world is occupied with ancient themes: indifference to a higher authority, arrogance of the ego, injustice of systems and structures, and the use of cruelty as a fair means to any end. The rivalries in this prophecy echo the petty rivalries we set up early in life and, as we grow older, carefully nurture.

Turning to today’s reading, we see these familiar words in verse 18: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay”. Yet, despite our recognition of the truth these words bring to us, we need more urging. The prophet, knows that despite enlightenment we will have setbacks, and so he lays them out for us to examine in ourselves: the malignant hope for revenge, the overpowering force of hubris, the willingness to use any means to achieve our ends, the animal-instinctive fear of others. Obadiah asks us examine the suffering of our daily experience as we reflect on his prophecy.

As New Testament believers, we want to be poised for Jesus’ coming into our lives and receptive to the Spirit that lives among us. Feeling Christ’s call to our highest goodness, we might look at Hebrews 11 and determine to follow the example of the faithful lived by the Patriarchs: Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, and the Judges . . . “all these . . . approved by the testimony of faith”.  We might look to these people as models of how and what we are to do, how and why we are to overcome our lust for revenge, how and why we are to practice love.  When we study their individual stories, we see that these ancestors do not lead perfect lives; but they strive for that perfection in their loyalty to Yahweh.  They listen, they obey, and they bear their trials well.

In the name of Jesus, let us call out our best selves to serve God, to fulfill his hope in us.  Let us be good and loyal servants who want nothing more than to discern our mission and to complete it well.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, the one who dwells among us to lead us, to heal us, to restore us, to be one with us.

Amen.

Adapted from a Favorite written on October 27, 2007.

Read the brief prophecy of Obadiah and compare varying translations to better understand our tendency to seek revenge . . . and our need to rely on God’s wisdom rather than our own.  


ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 1464-1465. Print.

Visit the Obadiah – Outrageous Hope page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/the-prophets/obadiah-outrageous-hope/  or the Revenge and Forgiveness page at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/09/09/revenge-and-forgiveness/

 

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

tree in snowThe Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

1 Chronicles 1

Endurance

The Chronicler meticulously details the connection between Adam and the Davidic monarchy, Adam and the temple built by Solomon. The names of these generations fall rhythmically from our lips when we read them aloud; and this litany connects us with not only our historical past, but to our spiritual past as well. We as a servant people have endured. God as a creator and provider has accompanied us in this arduous journey. The gift of endurance is one worth treasuring for it is endurance which brings us through the longest nights.

Today we celebrate the feast of Peter and Paul, two men who each in his unique way received the Word of God and moved with it in to an uncertain but mystical future. As we pray today, we might ask ourselves how we too might endure for the good and the blessing of God’s word.

The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever. (Psalm 37:18)

If an enemy were insulting me I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. (Psalm 55:12)

He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. (Psalm 72:5)

I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure. (Psalm 89:29)

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong-doing but rejoiced with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith . . . The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed. (2 Timothy 4:6 & 17)

If you are patient when you suffer for doing good, this is a grace before God. (1 Peter 2:20)

If we have this lineage promise with God, how blessed must we be.

If this is the story of our ancestry, how resilient must we be.

If this is how much God loves us, how holy must we be.

If this is how much God abides with us, protects and endures with us . . . despite the times we have turned away from God’s work and turned inward to ourselves . . . how loved must we be.

Dear creator, originator of all that is good. We read this litany of names and we feel the echo of your covenant promise in our own souls. We know that you abide, especially when nights are long. We know that your love endures, strong enough to wipe away all separation and sorrow. Bring us again the rays of your warming and healing sun, that we may unite in one voice to praise you again on a new day. We ask this in the name of Christ Jesus who lives in us. Amen.

Adapted from a reflection first written on December 13, 2008.

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