These readings are going much better than I had anticipated. That has been the most pleasant surprise to me!
Over this past week, I have read about the lives of the patriarchs and how GOD often intervened in hopeless situations…like repeated instances of barrenness, to show Himself strong in keeping His covenant with His people. I’ve also read most of the book of Job. That is quite a different book to read for sure!
Since Wednesday, we started with Abraham, the man GOD promised to make a nation, so large that his people wouldn’t be able to be counted. But his wife couldn’t get pregnant.
By the time she was close to 80, they felt they must take matters into their own hands…in a way that was acceptable in that culture. But GOD had a better plan! Not until all hope was lost that Sara could even get pregnant naturally, did GOD intervene and bring about the birth of Isaac. She was about 90 years old! He loves to show off doesn’t He?
By the time we arrive at Jacob and later Joseph, we start believing that this nation might actually grow after all despite all the barren wives involved! I always wonder why some stories are put in and others are left out.
Like the one about Tamar. Ugh! It wasn’t a pretty story for sure, but when we look particularly in the New Testament genealogies of Jesus, we see her name in there! It’s hard to believe that her posing as a prostitute could actually be an act of faith! But even Judah admired her for it…once he was caught red-handed by her cleverness.
One thing I have always loved about Genesis is the down-to-earth, grittiness of it. This is a gutsy book! We expect a book of the story of the beginning of a nation through which the Messiah will come, to be one that shows how worthy they are of this honor. Instead,this book shows us how much these people (including us) need the Messiah! They need redemption. They are a hopeless mess. Their families are a mess, they can’t seem to obey GOD the way they should. Everywhere we look…A BIG MESS!
That is why Jesus had to come into our world. We needed a Redeemer.
Then, in our chronological reading, we have been reading the book of Job. My reading for today isn’t done, but I’l finish that book today and will start Exodus. That will fill my week I’m sure as this family of Abraham becomes the nation of Israel.
Job has been such a different book to read compared to Genesis. Genesis is historical, literal, narrative.
Job is a poetic book. That affects our interpretation of the book. How much is literal? The question when dealing with a poetic book is to realize that it will be full of metaphors and similes. That adds depth and texture to what we are reading. Some of these illustrations are graphic when they remind us of evil, pain, grief and redemption! What is true? All of it! It just isn’t as concrete as a narrative book.
The important thing to know about Hebrew poetry that is helpful when reading it is that it is different from our poetry. It isn’t designed to rhyme but rather is based on parallel thoughts. Generally, Hebrew poetry has one of the following characteristics:
- The couplets are roughly synonymous as in: By the breath of GOD ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. Job 37:10
- The couplets are a contrast as in: Though evil is sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue…yet his food is turned in his stomach; it is the venom of the cobras within him. He swallows down riches and vomits them up again…Job 20:12-15
- The last category is synthetic, which has the second thought building on the first. See: For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. Job 19:25-27