Preparations have been made and the time has come. There is only to wait, and rest, and meet the promised fate. Jesus takes the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The disciples, having had a very busy week, having just completed a big meal, and being unaware of what is about to happen simply cannot keep their eyes open to pray. Thus Jesus last moments alone with his disciples end up with Him being truly alone. Just Him speaking with His Father, YHWH.
It’s rather sad that Jesus, the Son of God, is being betrayed by one of His own. These 12 disciples have followed Him for three years now. They have seen the miracles He has done. They have seen Him walk on water, heal the blind, cast out demons, raise the dead, and more. They have heard Him teach. They have heard all the stories about the Kingdom of Heaven, that it is at hand, what it is like, the need for repentance, and what role they will play there. They have even gone out and done and taught the same things with people healed at their hands. Yet, one of their own. One from the big 12 is in the process of betraying Him… of betraying them all. Yet there it is. Not only does he betray Jesus, he betray’s Him with a kiss… and they all go tumbling down. His disciples, including His closest three, all scatter.
What happens next is absolutely amazing. The Pharisees, high priests and elders have Him arrested. That’s a great idea! Only they don’t exactly have their act together. They are fumbling around trying to figure out what to charge Jesus with, and even bringing forward people bear false witness against Him (the 10th commandment). Yet even with all of this, they still can’t seem to get their act together. There seems to be a bit of a spirit of confusion about the place. It takes Jesus Himself giving them the ammunition that they need before they are able to clearly bring a case against Him.
Meanwhile, Peter is watching all of this from the sidelines, full of fear of what is going to happen and what could happen to Him if he is caught. In the process, he is caught. People recognize him, and call him out. So while Judas, the least of the Apostles, betray’s Judas to the Pharisees; Peter, the greatest of the Apostles deny’s Him for fear of the Pharisees. It looks like the Pharisees are getting their revenge.
Yet, there is always hope…
Some chapters i have to read and read and read the same thing over and over again before i can get it down on paper accurately. I just have a hard time keeping it all together in my mind long enough for it to get put on paper accurately. Other times, like today, i start copying the verses down and it all flows so smoothly.
This has to be my favorite part of this story. He just can’t take it anymore. Joseph breaks down and lets it all out. He reveals the truth in the presence of his brothers. All the work and testing that he has done, has led up to this purpose. He can now tell them not only who he is, but that this has all been a part of God’s plan. That they have nothing to fear and that God is blessing them abundantly above all things.
Wow, what it must have been like? To have all of this happen to you, to look back and know that God was directing and leading it all, and that you now have such a huge part to play in the process. Then to be able to come back, reconcile with those who “did you harm” and be able to tell them, “Do not fear. God meant for all of this to happen, and His plan is amazing!” What must it have been like for the brothers? Their dark and dirty secret out in the open, but for the good. All the guilt, pain, and agony that they had buried finally revealed with the ability to let it go. They still had to deal with the consequences and the backlash. But, the truth has been revealed, and they can finally be free.
Are their things in our lives that we have hidden that we wish would and could be revealed? I know that plenty of times in my life this has been the case. What Jesus told the Pharisees was that if they chose God and became His disciples, they would know the truth, and the truth would set them free. (John 8:32) They had enslaved themselves to the law and their own rules. They needed to be released from those chains. This was their chance and opportunity. One day, all will be revealed, until then; we may know / reveal the truth, and the truth will set us free.
It’s a time of change again, isn’t it? Here we go, Jacob / Israel is called by God yet again to leave the place where he is and go. This time move to Bethel (house of God), live there, and make an alter to God.
So what does Jacob do? He gives instruction to all his household to take their foreign household gods and emblems representing these things and get rid of them. He tells them to purify themselves and prepare to leave. In response, God puts a fear of them in all the cities that they pass. No one pursues them, no one attacks them.
While at Bethel, God renews the promise He made with Abraham and Isaac with Jacob (yet again changing his name to Israel). Jacob gets that promised blessing, but it all comes at a time of loss and despair as well. Rebekah’s nurse Deborah dies on the way, then not long afterwards Rebekah dies in childbirth. Quite the contrast. Such an opposition of turmoil and joy. Personal blessing from God (what Jacob/Israel had specifically asked for when he wrestled with God), and a new son, at the loss of his beloved wife. Add to that, the death of his father.
I just can’t find the right word to describe it. Turmoil is about correct, but turmoil emphasizes trouble over blessing. Confusion deals with the contrasting feelings, but it implies being unsure, and in this case all is clear, but it is more conflicting. Conflicting is a good word, but it has too much of a feeling of conflict, and this is not about conflict. It’s about two opposing states of being residing clearly within the same experience. It leaves the man confounded but not confused, divided but still whole, overwhelmed but still at peace, frustrated but still full of joy. It is a time of both blessing and pain all clear and jumbled at the same time. I just can’t find the right word to describe it. It’s funny, with so many words in the English language, yet it is so incomplete in so many ways.
This is going to be a two-part chapter. I am finding that i can only copy out ~30+ verses in about an hour and a half, which is most of my time limitations for this project each day. So since this chapter is 67 verses, i have to split this one up into two days; vs. 1-34 today, and 35-67 tomorrow.
The time was coming and going. Abraham knew that he only had a limited time before his life would end. He still had some very important business to attend to. One of those things being; taking care to provide the proper wife for his son. So he sends his most trusted servant on a mission to return to his home and family and find the right bride for his son Isaac. It is a quest that his most faithful servant is sworn to fulfill. Not only that, but also the servant must never bring Isaac there. The maiden must come to him, or not at all.
This chapter contains two new names / titles for God, or it could possibly be considered one: “…the LORD (YHWH), the God (Elohim) of heaven (Shamaim) and the God (Elohim) of earth (Erets)…” This is the name to whom Abraham required his servant to swear that he would not get Isaac a wife from among the Canaanites.
The servant swears and goes, but is still concerned about the fulfillment of the promise, so he does the wise thing. He brings it before the God of his master. He wants to be sure that he finds the right person, so he asks God to bring the right girl to him. God, of course being who He is, is way ahead of the servant, brings Rebekah, and brings reassurance to the servant.
Rebekah shocks me in this passage. When he first sees her, Abrahams servant, rushes at her. “Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your jar.'” How would you and i respond to some strange dirty traveler running at us begging us to give them water? We might be a little freaked out. What does Rebekah do? She says “sure”, gives him water, and waters his camels as well. The servant rewards her by giving her a gold ring and two gold bracelets and then asks to be invited to stay the night. Wow, the cultural differences there!
How do we react to strangers and those in need? Jesus says, “those who do so for the least of these my children, do so for Me”. The letter to the Hebrews says “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” The servant (purposelessly) feared the fulfillment of his promise to his master. Do we (purposelessly) fear assisting / entertaining the stranger because we’re surrounded by those who would feed us a negative report? Or have we sworn to help those in need?