Day 2: Genesis 16:17-28:19 || Read the CEB online.
Abraham’s story, begun yesterday, reaches its conclusion here. A man chosen by God, he gets the bulk of the ink spilled in Genesis, yet he remains an enigmatic figure. He waited until he was a century old to have children, and yet was ready to sacrifice Isaac at God’s inexplicable command…and they never speak again in the story. Abraham: full of faith, yes, but also deeply doubtful as he traveled into lands wary of a warrior/nomadic herder/prophet. Full of love towards his family, and yet he casts out Hagar and Ishmael at Sarah’s temper-tantrum. At the end of his life, Abraham remains an alien and outsider in the land he was promised, and indeed Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph will continue to be nomads living on the margins of the promised land. That aspect of the covenant with God will be a long time in its fulfillment; “Israel remained, in consequential ways, a people of promise.”
Isaac’s story is somewhat inconsequential, other than a few short stories that include God’s renewal of the covenant to him. Jacob takes over the spotlight before he is even born, however. If you thought there was family drama before (or even in your own life!) then Jacob is about to completely overshadow all of that! Yet we end today with God revealing himself in a vision, and renewing the covenant (again) to this troublemaker and trickster…
What promises have yet to be fulfilled in your life?
How has your family struggled to live God’s good life together?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
“Israel remained” quote from A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament by Birch, Brueggemann, Fretheim, & Petersen (Abingdon, 1999).