Jedi and Genesis

Here at the beginning of the year, I am reading through the book of Genesis. Actually, I am mostly listening: my morning routine has become jump on the treadmill, fire up my Bible app and listen until I can't run any further (which isn't very far!) Listening to this foundational book of the Bible, you can't help but notice: these men and women are a mess! (Just like the Jedi.)

Over and over, they fail: Eve, Adam, Canaan.... Every one of the "patriarchs": Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, their kids. And not little mistakes. There is murder, affairs, false gods, grand lies and crooked business schemes.

The reading plan I am using mixes in the book of Job before you finish Genesis and a handful of Psalms now and then, and the story there is the same: failure after failure, and none of it pretty.

And yet....

They keep moving ahead. Our heroes keep coming back to God.

The story in Genesis 34-35 is just one of many that demonstrates the need for hope. In response to their sister being raped, Jacob's sons conspire to wipe out a whole town. They kill every male–not just the guilty–and enslave every woman and child. They loot every possession. By the end, Jacob knew he and his family were in trouble: they were a small and now hated tribe.

God's call–and Jacob's response–is to start over:

God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau." So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone." (Genesis 35:1-3)
No spoilers here, but The Last Jedi touches on similar themes: what do you do when the odds are long and the options few? What do you do when there is tragic hurt and undeniable failure in your life? How do you deal with pain and guilt? How can you heal? If you are following in the footsteps of Jacob, you go back to the last "place" you remember connecting to God and you begin again.

Dean Storelli
Another plan I like is "The Story of Israel, The Story of Jesus." (You can find it on this site in the resource section.) It hits the "highlights" and emphasizes the flow of events. It's a good plan to use if you're starting a little late (as I often do!) or don't want to stick to a calendar.
1/29/2018 9:54:18 AM

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