Dear Friends, those who choose to read these items come from various backgrounds. Some were raised outside of the church and many were raised in the church. For those raised outside the church some believe that God exists and others have no reason to believe. For those raised in the Church some developed a relationship with God and for others it was important to perform certain rituals and make sure they did not miss church on the weekend. Some raised outside the church have made wonderful friends to some of us while others are consumed with the pursuit of what this world has to offer. Some raised in the church take great pride in telling folks the denomination to which they belong. Others are quite indistinguishable from those raised outside of the church in terms of their behavior. Many raised outside of the church believe all that is really important is for people to be good to one another. Doing more good things than bad things is what is really important. This is often true for many raised in the church, too. To some the greatest blessing that we can receive is our health, to others wealth, the right partner, a good job, getting our way most of the time, and attaining what we value most. So that is it right?
Monthly Archives: June 2015
Justified by Faith
Gen 21:1-21 — Isaac, the child of promise, the transmitter of the Abrahamic covenant to the next generation, is finally born. Isaac is an Anglicization of the Hebrew Yitzkhak [pronounced YEE-tz-khawk, which has the same consonant root as the Hebrew word for “laugh”]. We do not know the “how” of this miraculous conception and birth — given the realities of normal human biology, the LORD would have had to have re-enlivened long-dormant tissues, organs, and bodily functions, but for He who created man from dust, this was easy.
The friction between Sarah, the “founding mother” of the covenant, and Hagar the Egyptian servant, has continued on, and is now transmitted to Hagar’s son Ishmael, who “mocked” [laughed at, teased] Isaac, his younger half-brother. By custom and by God’s decree, Isaac the son of Abraham his wife would supplant Ishmael, the son of a concubine, as Abraham’s heir in all senses of the word. Sarah demands that Hagar and Ishmael be expelled (this would be unusual according to the customs of the time), and God tells Abraham to do so. Ishmael leaves the field of view in the Torah. (Ishmael’s grand-nephew Joseph is sold to some of Ishmael’s direct descendants, who transport him to Egypt.) God’s mercy to Hagar and Ishmael is described in verses 15-21.