It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reflection on readings for January 9, 2014

Reflection on Genesis 20:1-22:24

"After these things God tested Abraham." In their book, Narrative in the Hebrew Bible, David Gunn and Danna Fewell point out that Abraham has already sacrificed both of his wives twice as well as his older son Ishmael. They ask "What is the test? Does God think that Abraham won't risk this son in order to ensure his own safety? 

He had argued with God about the proposed destruction of Sodom. Why does he not argue now? Gunn and Fewell suggest several arguments that Abraham might have used: "Take me instead. I'm old. The boy is innocent. You are a just God." Instead, Abraham gets up early and takes his son Isaac on a journey toward a place God had shown him.

The altar is built, wood is laid on it, Isaac is bound, Abraham is holding the knife. And God intervenes. "Don't kill your son." Abraham listens then turns and sees a ram caught in the bushes. He names the place, "The Lord will provide."

God has provided a substitute sacrifice.

God has provided an act of grace for a man who has shown over and over that he needs it.

Reflection on Matthew 7:15-29

"Beware of false prophets," Jesus warned. Still good advice. Thomas Long cautions us to use Jesus' test--look at the fruit they produce: "a church that looks and acts like the kingdom rather than 'sounding like' the kingdom."

Being a follower of Jesus means more than just saying so. It means doing what God wants Christians to do. Not everybody is willing to live out the will of God. Loving people can be pretty hard when they are not so lovable, when they have made bad choices that they really should have avoided, when they don't look or act like us, anyway. Ignoring difficult situations can be a lot easier than trying to deal with them. But, Jesus says that his followers do this hard stuff.

Psalm 9:1-12

Proverbs 2:16-22

You will be saved from the loose woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
who forsakes the partner of her youth
and forgets her sacred covenant;
for her way leads down to death,
and her paths to the shades;
those who go to her never come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life. Therefore walk in the way of the good,
and keep to the paths of the just.
For the upright will abide in the land,
and the innocent will remain in it;
but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
[Common English Bible]

Prayer for Today: God,for those times that we gone off track, forgive us. For those times, that we have done our will rather than yours, forgive us. We ask this of you because you have already shown us grace over and over when we  have needed  it. And, being forgiven, strengthen us then to build our lives on the rock provided by your teachings. Amen.

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