Old Testament: Genesis 24:52-26:16
Genesis 24:52-26:16 Rebekah Lit Off Her Camel
Summary: Isaac married Rebekah, whom his father’s servant found for him (Gen. 24: 67). After Sarah died, Abraham still had a concubine named Keturah. He lived to be 175 years-old. Ishmael, Hagar’s son, died at age 137. The Arab-Israeli conflict had its origins in the feud between Isaac and Ishmael (see The Layman’s Prayer). It was inflamed by the relationship between Isaac’s two sons, Esau and Jacob. The “sins of the fathers” are shown to be passed down to Isaac when he, like his Dad before him, lies to a king about his wife (Gen. 26:7-11). Fortunately, Yahweh saved both Sarah and Rebekah from their husband’s cowardice.
In Chapter 24:52-67, it seems Rebekah was a smoker (Gen. 24:64 KJV, “she lighted off her camel,” Abraham’s servant found her the perfect match see yesterday’s blog An Officer And A Gentile). Isaac was really happy with her and married her anyway.
In Chapter 25, Abraham married another woman after Sarah but no one really remembers her. If you play Bible Trivia, her name was Keturah. She was actually a concubine and therefore, had a lesser status than Sarah (cf. v. 6, 1Chron. 1: 32, he may have married her while Sarah was still alive). Keturah bore him six other sons (v. 2). He lived to be 175 years-old (v. 7).
Ishmael, Hagar’s son, died at age 137 (v. 17). Galatians 4:21–31 uses the story of Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, to represent the law. Paul uses Sarah to symbolize grace in the New Testament (cf. Gal. 4: 27; Isa. 54:1). Ishmael is symbolic, also, of our old, fleshly self which is opposed to God.
In verses 24-34, we find what has caused the big stew between modern day Jews and Arabs. It began in Genesis 25 in the story of Isaac’s two sons, Jacob and Esau. Esau came back from hunting one day famished so he traded his birthright to Jacob for some red goulash. This turned out to be the worst trade in history beating out the Indians and Manhattan or even Babe Ruth to the Yankees. There is fighting to this day because of it.
In Chapter 26:1-16, Isaac messes up in the same way as his father did (twice, cf. 12:13; 20:3, cf. “the sins of the father,” Exod. 20:5; 34:7)! What’s with this family? He lies about his wife being his sister to save his skin just as his father had done (cf. blog, Rockin’ Out). The difference is that Abraham’s lie was a half lie since Sarah was his half-sister. Rebekah was not Isaac’s half-sister. He told a whole lie! Fortunately, God intervenes once again and saves Rebekah as he saved Sarah. Look at 1 Pet. 3:6 again (cf. blog, An Alien Concept). It’s embarrassing that the unbeliever, King Abimelech, acted more righteously than Isaac (vv. 6-11). By the way, this was not the same Abimelech as in the incident in Genesis 20. That event occurred 97 years earlier. Abimelech was a title like Pharaoh was a title.
God prospered Isaac so much while in Abimelech’s territory that everyone in the area was jealous of him (v.14). When he sowed something, he reaped a hundredfold (v.12). The local farmers filled in his wells to encourage him to move on (vv. 15- 17).
New Testament: Matthew 8:18-34
Matthew 8:18-34 Being Piggy – Matthew’s account (see also Luke 8:26-39 and Mark 5:1-20 but not John)
Summary: A man wants to follow Jesus but wants to wait till his father dies first. Jesus tells him to let the “dead bury the dead.” A storm blew in while Jesus was in a boat with the disciples. They woke Him up, He calmed things down but the disciples got in trouble for not having enough faith. Jesus cast demons out of a couple men allowing the demons to go into some pigs. The pigs jumped over a cliff and drowned in water.
A man wants to follow Jesus but Jesus discourages him (vv. 19-20). He tells him that being a disciple could be a tough business. He tells him that He Himself didn’t have a stable home environment. Another man wants to follow Jesus but wants to wait till his father dies first. Jesus tells him to let the “dead bury the dead” (vv. 21-22). Would you want someone like that as YOUR pastor? What was Jesus saying? The man wasn’t saying that the funeral was the next day, he was saying he wanted to stay with his family till his parents died. Jesus was saying, come follow me now and let unbelievers do what unbelievers do like bury their own spiritually dead relatives. Are you part of a “dead” fellowship? Perhaps today is the day that you should find one that is alive, one that follows Jesus.
Jesus was sleeping while the disciples were in a boat with him (vv. 23-27). A storm cropped up and the disciples got really scared and woke Jesus up. He calmed everything down but the disciples caught it for not having much faith. They were amazed at Him (v. 28).
Jesus cast demons out of a couple men allowing the demons to go into some pigs (vv. 28-34). The demons were happy to do it because they were afraid they’d have to live in the abyss forever otherwise (Luke 8:31, the abyss, ironically, was literally a “watery place” but a forever place, cf. the bottomless pit, hell in Rev. 9:1, 2; 11:7; 20:13). The pigs subsequently jumped over a cliff and drowned in some water. This was later known as the “Great Swine Dive.” The townspeople were so scared of Jesus after that that they asked Him to leave town (v. 34).