Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dejected Disciples get new Direction

Luke 24 Two disciples, just been to the empty tomb and they leave Jerusalem to on the way Emmaus. The text tells us that they "were kept from" recognizing Jesus. The phrase means they were "forcefully restrained" from recognizing Jesus. When Jesus spoke to them their faces were downcast. That tells me that our emotional well being has alot to do with what we can see spiritually.

Also, their ongoing capacity to catch on to the reality of the scriptures was low as Jesus told them they were foolish, that they neglected the intellectual activity of thinking what the scriptures spoke about the Messiah. Jesus then explains the prophetic scriptures to them. This gives me hope that when we don't get the full import of a scripture Jesus will take the time to tell us. He is our Rabbi.

It is interesting that once Jesus is revealed to them he disappears! It is my expereince that when we get the clarity of understanding/direction we prefer to hang onto the experience rather than put it to work in our lives.

The two disciples, having been at the tomb at dawn, just completed 7 miles and were settling down for the night, get up and return to Jerusalem, another 7 miles. They must have got back to the other disciples in the middle of the night. As they shared what Jesus had explained to them, he also turned up. What a day, that first day that Easter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day - a dream come true!

Now as president Obama takes the oath of office. MLK had a dream and we see it's beginnings today. The whole dream may not necessarily come about in a 4 year term, but its the dawning of the new day of hope for a nation.

Gen 40 has examples of personal and national dreams.
The cupbearer and baker to the king were concerned about their own well being and God met them in their desire for an outcome to their situation.
Pharaoh had the dreams of a ruler, dreams that would impact and determine the future of the nation.

Are we concerned about our personal or national fate, faith or future?
As the 1969 song says
But where do you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head, yes i do.

Remember God does look inside our heads and... our hearts. Siobhan

Monday, January 19, 2009

seeking to understand...dreams 1

Have you wondered about the meaning of dreams? I have and do.
It is an interesting topic to study at the beginning of the year and as I read the bible in a year, I hope to have a better understanding of what dreams meant to various people in the bible.
We have seen encounters between God & Abraham, to a lesser extent Isaac and then Jacob has both personal encounters and dreams. Now we have Joseph who will have more dreams than encounters. His first set of dreams is to do with food as he helps his brothers bring in the sheaves, and the next about fealty as brotherly jealously rises to an all time high and they sell their brother to merchants.
The Pharoah has a warning dream about food, is there a connection with the fact that Joseph took care of all the duties of managing the kingdom and Pharaoh only had concern himself with the food he ate.
I get a sense that "God dreams" will take the shape of what we are concerned about. If we are looking for direction and guidance God will give it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lust and covetousness fuels fires that Hell would be proud off.

The rape of Dinah, Jacob's daughter shows us a drama of acquisition and greed. The story is found in Gen 34. Jacob comes home in peace to the land of Shechem and buys a piece of land to settle on. This is the same piece of land that YHWH has promised to give Abraham and Isaac, so why did he have to buy it?
Now, Shechem a local prince of the land from whom Jacob has bought land, seizes Dinah and rapes her. Getting what he wants, when he wants without paying for it! but now he realizes that he loves her and is willing to pay the bridal price for her. The father, Hamor wants an alliance with Jacob and his family. They have just taken by force what was not theirs to take and now want to "be friends" with the family. Amazing arrogance!

Jacobs sons have their own idea of retribution and give them what they want...initially but with a condition...get circumcised. They must have had a great need or should I say greed for more livestock to agree to such a thing.

Ch34:23 Won't their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us."

Their glazed look on Jacobs livestock deluded them into thinking that they were safe and they underestimated the negotiating skills of the Jacob household. Dinah's full brothers slaughter the men of Shechem and rescue Dinah.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Buyer Beware

In Gen 30 &31 we see Jacob and Laban struggle with each other, eventually Laban realizes that he is blessed because of Jacob and uses this as a means to get him to stay and earn more wages. Jacob uses Laban's insight of YHWH's blessing and thereby increases the publicity that YHWH is blessing Jacob not Laban by managing Labans animal stocks.
After 20 years of getting the upper hand, Laban is not paying sufficient attention to Jacob's success and soon realizes that Jacob is not the underdog any longer. Laban shows us that he seen his daughters as goods to be traded Ch31:15, they were not happy to see their bridal price squandered. His animals were few before Jacob turned up, though he had more than Jacob had at the time. The two part with a covenant, a line in the desert sand of their relationship. Laban swears by the God of Abraham and God of Nahor his grandfather, Jacob swears by the Fear lit "terror" of Isaac. I wonder what is Laban's attitude as he goes home. He is now left with no daughters,or grandchildren and a feeble flock.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jacob and Laban the bargain hunters.

Jacob's first interaction with his mothers family was to cast "sheep's eyes" at Rachael and her sheep Gen 29:10! (And of course he does the macho thing of rolling the stone away from the mouth of the well for Rachael).

He knew a good bargain when he seen it in Rachael... and the sheep but so did Laban. The wheeling and dealing went on in the household must have been very stressful for all concerned.

An interesting thing about sheep eyesight is that they don't see in color only black and white. I wonder whether that will have any bearing on the breading practices in the story? Siobhan

Friday, January 9, 2009

Two prophets preconceptions.

Within the week I have come across two prophets who had less than best view of the people they were called to preach to or the people the lived among.

Gen 20 v 11Abraham, deceived Abimelech by saying that Sarah was his sister, because he felt that "there is surely no fear of God in this place"
Yet God/YHWH met with Abimelech to prevent calaminity coming to his family bcause of Abraham's deception.

Jonah 4:1Jonah, felt that the people of Nineveh were beyond redemption or should be, as he was very angry when they repented of their evil and wicked ways. At best Jonah shows himself as Jonah the grumpy! because they believed YHWH.
Yet, it was the pagans who prayed, greatly feared God, made sacrifices and vows to God when Jonah tried to flee to Tarshish.

YHWH's heart towards his creation is seen in the last verse V11. "Ninevah has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who don't know their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city"?

I wonder what preconceptions I have as I consider my neighbour today? Do I believe that they wouldn't be interested to talk about YHWH or get to know him better.

Remember we "be livin what we belive in'