September 20 – Genesis

Here we are again, reading through portions of the first book in the Bible, commonly called Genesis. This passage is found in the 17th chapter.

God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.  I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’  Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said to himself, ‘Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’  And Abraham said to God, ‘O that Ishmael might live in your sight!’  God said, ‘No, but your wife Sarah shall bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac.  I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.  As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I will bless him and make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.  But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this season next year.’  And when he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.

Reflection – God’s promise is given again to Abraham, and another promise is given to Ishmael.  How else have you seen God’s concern for others who have been considered “outsiders”?

September 19 – Genesis

Today’s reading from Genesis is located in the 16th chapter.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, and Sarai said to Abram, ‘You see that the Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.  So, after Abram had lived for ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave-girl, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife.  He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.  Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my slave-girl to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!’  But Abram said to Sarai, ‘Your slave-girl is in your power; do to her as you please.’ Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she ran away from her.

Reflection – Abram and Sarai take things into their own hands, and conflict and division occur.  How have you discovered God’s promise becoming real when your life has been disrupted, and relationships strained?

September 18 – Genesis

Thanks for joining us in reading through the book of Genesis this month!

Today’s passage is found in chapter 15.

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’  But Abram said, ‘O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’  And Abram said, ‘You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.’  But the word of the Lord came to him, ‘This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.’  He brought him outside and said, ‘Look towards heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Reflection – Abram is having difficulty believing the promise, and asks that it be renewed. Here’s the gift – God does it!  When have you needed to be reassured of God’s love?  How did that happen?

September 17 – Genesis

At the invitation of our national Bishop, Susan Johnson, we are reading portion of the Bible every day this year, as an exercise is Spiritual Renewal.

Today’s reading is found in the 12th chapter of Genesis.

Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

Reflection – Abram and Sarai, a couple who cannot have a family, will be a blessing for the families of the earth.  Think of a time you have unexpectedly been able to bless someone.  Give thanks for those times!

September 16 – Genesis

Today’s reading is from Genesis, chapter 11. The focus of the story changes from being on the world, to being on a specific family.

Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot.  Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans.  Abram and Nahor took wives; the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. She was the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah.  Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.

Reflection – Abram and Sarai cannot have children.  When have you experienced “barrenness,” or an inability to contribute?  Have you discovered God in those times, or has God been absent for you?

September 15 – Genesis

We are working our way through Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Today’s reading come from chapter 9.

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.  I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’  God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’

Reflection – God makes a covenant with all of creation; not just with Noah, not just with people.  Does this challenge your image of God? What does this say about God’s priorities? About ours?

September 14 – Genesis

Our reading from Genesis, the Bible’s first book, is today found in chapter 6.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.  And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’  But Noah found favour in the sight of the Lord.

Reflection – God regrets making people, yet delights in Noah.  Have you ever wanted to walk away from something you started?  What kept you at it?

September 13 – Genesis

We are reading the Bible for the year, and this month we are looking at Genesis, The Beginning.

Today’s passage is from chapter 3.

And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.

Reflection – The human creatures have blown it, and disregarded what God has told them. Now they must bear the consequences. However, suddenly they are given a gift of grace: God makes clothes for the outcasts.  How have you experienced unexpected love and care today?  How can you show it?

September 12 – Genesis

Here is our reading for today, from Genesis, chapter 2.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

Reflection – The mud creature (which is what “a’dam” actually means) is responsible to care for the garden.  What do you see needing to be done to care for the earth?  How can you take a step toward that goal?