GENESIS 24:52-26:16 | MATTHEW 8:18-34 | PSALM 10:1-15 | PROVERBS 3:7-8
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An arranged marriage in the most traditional of ways where the bride and groom do not even see one another until after the two families have agreed to the alliance: such is the union of Rebekah who comes from another country — Abraham’s home country, viz. possibly modern-day Iraq — to meet and marry Abraham’s son, Isaac.
Orchestrated by Abraham, and executed by his servant, the story is a lovely account of making arrangements in every detail from traversing the long journey, to carrying presents for the bride and family, and to then bringing the bride back. Not much is said of the wedding, but surely it must have been quite a celebration!
With Isaac married, Sarah breathes her last, and Abraham follows. But before that, in the custom of the day, Abraham takes on another wife after Sarah’s death, and also has several concubines, and there is therefore mention of his many progeny. There is also a mention of Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn by Sarah’s handmaid, Hagar, and of his descendants in the area.
The story of the next generation begins. Isaac and Rebekah have twin boys: Esau and Jacob. And Esau, for the sake of a bowl of stew, gives away his birthright to his brother. More on this soon. In the meantime, God offers a recommitment to Isaac of the covenant that was made with his father Abraham.
God says to him: 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.”
And finally, in an almost comedic deja vu twist, history repeats itself when Isaac does what his father had done in lying about his wife being his sister to the very same king Abimelek! How do these things happen? There must be a lesson in this for us!
Turning next to our reading in the Book of Matthew, we find continued accounts of Jesus’ preaching and teaching. There is the story of Jesus’ calming the sea, and the people are stunned and amazed at this supernatural act. They say: “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
There is also the incredible story of the demon-possessed men who are healed by Jesus, and Jesus is so very gracious to the demons’ request to allow them to enter the herd of pigs!
Our Psalm for the day is one of many such that David wrote to console and remind himself of God’s faithfulness. He says:
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
Finally, the two verses in Proverbs are indeed nuggets of wisdom. There is even a practical effect to fearing the Lord, i.e., loving Him. The Psalmist says it is good for one’s physical health!
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.