Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lenten Feasting - Genesis

This Lent I am feasting instead of fasting.  I am feasting on the Word of God.  I have chosen to read through the Bible cover to cover.  I’m following a reading plan suggested by Margaret Feinberg and hope to blog occasionally about what I am learning through the process. 

The first two days of Lent I have gorged on Genesis.  This is fine cuisine to offer for the appetizer.  Forget the slice of cheese on a Ritz cracker.  This is shrimp and cocktail sauce, calamari, Brie cheese, and smoked salmon.  This is rich, savory material.  We’re talking epic, and that not an overstatement.  These are the truly epic stories – Eden, Babel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua. 

I’m not naïve. I know that in a couple days I’ll be stomaching a large spoonful of Leviticus and Numbers, Scriptural Cream of Wheat  - always bland and often lumpy.  But for now, I’ll enjoying the zest of Genesis.  It’s been a pleasure to read. 

And here is my take away, seeing the forest rather than the trees.  Blessing.  Blessing at every turn.  God blessing, people blessing.  Blessing being offered, blessing being stolen.  It comes up again and again in almost every chapter, if not explicit, then implicit.  I was stunned by its frequency.  Over and over and over…blessing.  Most often – God blessing people.  Most surprising (to me) - Jacob blessing Pharaoh twice (Gen 47:7,10). Powerful Pharaoh receiving a double blessing from this meager shepherd.

All this blessing is in competition with cursing and fear and childlessness and famine and deceit and jealousy and unrest and wickedness.  The battle line is drawn. These foes are almost as common as the blessing they seek to undermine.  And yet, blessing comes up more and more frequently as the book progresses.  Blessing seems to be winning out.  By the end, blessing is flowing through Joseph to Egypt and all the surrounding lands.  And blessing settles most heavily on Jacob and his children.

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