All In The Family

Today’s reading: Gen 25:1 – 26:33

How was your reading? We got one big chapter closed — Abraham died at the age of 175 years old. He “died at a good old age, an old man and full of years”. Interesting that he died instead of “no more” like Enoch who “walked with God”.

This section mentions Ishmael for the last time in the Bible — he and his descendents “settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the border of Egypt”; I think it is roughly where our Middle East is currently located. “And they lived in hostility toward all their brothers.” What a harsh life to hate your siblings? I find it is much easier to hate someone who is a stranger than your own sibling, if you are to hate in the first place, don’t you think? Can you imagine to have all your siblings living around you and they all hate you and you hate them?

Here comes the famous twin brothers by Issac & Rebekah – Esau & Jacob. Did you notice how Issac name his sons? I don’t know about you, but I am not sure I want to call my children by those names! What a prophecy by the Lord to Rebekah – “the older will serve the younger”! I am so glad that the Lord did not give me any prophecy while I was carrying my twin. I am so glad that I don’t know so that I don’t have to scheme, or favour one child over another, like Rebekah.

Then, what is wrong with Esau, selling his birthright by some bread and a bowl of lentil stew (not even beef stew or steak)? And, why did he despise his birthright? Which one comes first? Did he despise it first so that he sold it off or did he sell it off because he despised it? If so, why? Anyone wants to answer this one?

Then, isn’t it scary that Issac did exactly what Abraham did — he lied that Rebekah was his sister, not his wife, because he was afraid he would be killed for her? As a parent, it is a good lesson for me not to behave badly because my bad behaviour would influence upon my child, regardless my child was present or not. When Abraham lied about Sarah, Issac was not even born! But, Issac made an exactly same mistake! It must be something in principle that we teach or show our children that they must pick up from us… Oh, boy, what did I do to my kids….. Despite his lie, the Lord still blessed Issac. How gracious of him…

Now, here comes again – when so many troubles with wells occurred, Issac kept being kicked out. God said “Do not be afraid, for I am with you”. I just checked — do you know that the exact phrase of “Do Not be Afraid” (from God to us) over 70 times in the Bible? “Love God” (I also checked “love me”) – our first and most important commandment – only shows in total 18 times and “love each other” – our second most important commandment – is only 5 times in the bible. “Do not be afraid” shows up close to 70 times! Think about all those times we make mistakes because we are scared, fearful or afraid? I think we got those moments so much more than “feeling loved” in our lives. As I said, if God tells me over 70 times in the Bible which I find sometime very difficult to read, it must be important and I got to listen to him!

Are you afraid of doing something today? If so, have you looked at the reason for your fear? Then, pray to God to help you overcome your fear, by reading out one or two of those 70 references of “Do not be afraid, for I (God) am with you”.

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