Monday, October 19, 2009

Genesis 26: 34 - 27: 45

Missed worship last week, so there's a gap in the Genesis notes, but here's where it picks up again. Pastor Paul spoke more on the unraveling narrative of Issac, Jacob and Esau. He spent a lot of time more so on the topical side of things, addressing themes of God's election and various viewpoints of God's interaction with the world, then touched on the passages more specifically.

Genesis 26: 34 - 27: 45 talks about the stolen blessing. Isaac had planned to bypass God's will and just give Esau the blessing, but Rebbecca schemed to have Jacob get it instead. It's all a big mess, but as pastor said, God's will is accomplished in spite of us. God's election is at work here, and in Gen. 25 we God's election at work in the two nations in the womb, Jacob and Esau.

Pastor Paul went on to elaborate some of the misconceptions of God's role in the universe. Some of the worldviews that he pointed out and spoke about were:

  • Deism - God created everything and left it all alone.
  • Pantheism - God is in everything and not distinct from the creation.
  • Everything just by chance (as opposed to providence)
  • Impersonal faith - "Things just happen. That's just how the world is", etc.
So Pastor spoke about the errors of these various views, and identified how God's providence means that He is continually involved with all things. He also identified the idea of preservation, that God holds all things together. All things are created through Him and for Him. If it wasn't for this, the rules of the universe wouldn't be constant and things would just fall apart.

Another question addressed was that, if God in in control, then why is there evil? Pastor Paul pointed out that often bad things, or things that seem bad to us at the time, are there as part of God's direction leading to good. He pointed out the example of Joseph, who was taken from his family and brought into slavery. From this "bad" situation, Joseph, given the ability from God to interpret dreams, was able to rise in prominence to being second in command of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh, and from this position, he was able to not only save his family but also ultimately the people of Israel.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Genesis 26: 6-11

Greg Parker spoke on Genesis 26: 6-11, and continued the theme of God's multi-generational faithfulness narrative through the life of Isaac. Again the theme apparent here is God's faithfulness in working through sinful individuals as we see here Isaac repeating the sin of his father Abraham - namely that of lying about his wife Rebecca (as Abraham did in Gen. 12:10). The text tells us that Abimelech, believing Rebecca to be Isaac's sister was both of them laughing (and in some translations, in "intimate dialog") with one another and knew he had been told a lie.

It's easy to perceive Isaac as a bridge between Abraham and Jacob, as we don't know much about his life. We know of the miraculous situation of his birth, the sacrifice, and his marriage, but otherwise not much else. From the previous week, we also know that he had a fondness for wild game, and exercised a favoritism towards Esau.

Looking ahead to the book of Hebrews, we read about how Isaac was identified as one of the "by faith" individuals and how Isaac invoked the future blessings of Jacob and Esau. His sin of lying is not mentioned by the writer of Hebrews. In spite of his shortcomings, God forgave them and Isaac was remembered as an inportant member of the Messianic line.

I missed some details of the message as I needed to care for a crabby baby during the service (it's integrated worship, so no nurseries here) but I thought that Greg did a good job with the message. As I understand it, he's done speaking before but this was his first sermon at Gfbc, and he's clearly been blessed by God with the ability to teach from the Word.