Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Conflicts--Gen 25-27

The theme in this day's reading is conflict...

Abraham has more sons and to avoid any future conflict, he sends those sons away to start a new life elsewhere.  Ishmael's 12 sons occupy the land to the east and live in open hostility toward their brother and have ever since.

Isaac and Rebekah finally give birth to twins that start fighting in the womb.  Esau and Jacob are as different as two people can be.  Esau was a hunter with keen senses who lived for the moment.  Jacob's name means schemer, which understates his ability to think and act strategically.  He stayed close to home focusing on the patient, quiet work of managing an agricultural business.  Conflict was inevitable and God has chosen sides before they're even born.  He has a right...
In the meantime, even though Abraham promised that he and his children would never lie to Abimelech, Isaac lies about Rebekah (like his dad) and gets caught.  Abimelech handles this conflict in an open and frank way, exposing the fear issue and providing the protection needed to prevent any future conflict.While Isaac is in Gerar, he digs wells.  The Philistines take them.  Isaac moves on.  The Philistines take them again.  Finally, Abimelech again handles things forthrightly again and there is peace.  This is a stand-up guy.  It will take nearly 4 generations for Abraham's family to catch up in the character department.

Back on the homefront, Esau marries two local girls and they make his parents miserable.  Jacob stays home and makes his mama happy.  Conflict may have been inevitable, but their parents didn't help. Kids are usually the ones to play divide and conquer, not the parents.  Jacob takes advantage of Esau's hunger and need for immediate gratification and buys the Birthright for a bowl of lentil soup.  Mama later schemes to steal the Blessing for Jacob, for a bowl of deer stew.  In the end, she is the real loser in all of this.  Her lies cost her a favorite son, but it is for his best--she doesn't want a local girl for him anyway.  Jacob will pay dearly as well, but that is still to come.

How do you handle conflict?  Do you let it simmer, slither and explode, like Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau?  Do you wear your hostility as a badge of honor like Ishmael? Or do you confront the issue and find solutions like Abimelech?  Does your inborn nature lean toward short term treats or long term thinking? 

More to the point, what will you do about it?

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