Showing posts with label small stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label small stories. Show all posts
Monday, March 28, 2011

The Story of Jacob and Esau

jacob taking blessing from his father issac
 The story of Jacob and Esau was a little leaned on Jacob's side of the balance. After all, he was the one who got the birthright in exchange of lentil porridge, and he tricked his father in giving him a final blessing. It was very unfair to Esau, but it seems God didn't seem to care Jacob was getting all the good luck. He even called to him and blessed him and his future inheritors. 
God promised: "I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee..." (Genesis 28:13-15).
Jacob and Esau the sons of issac
 Still, God seemed to have everything planned, because he made Jacob work to gain his right as one of God's blessed. Laban made him work for seven years in order to earn Rebecca’s hand in marriage, but Laban forced him to marry his first daughter Leah. To get Rebecca he had to work seven more years, and to get enough animals he had to work six more years. How did he agree to that exploitation? Maybe he new he deserved it for all his past stunts against his brother.
The fight between Leah and Rebecca for being the favorite was impressive. Leah started to have lots of children while Rebecca was barren (God interference). Then Rebecca used her handmaid to have children with Jacob on her name. Leah started doing the same, and then Leah used her own handmaid. Finally, God opened Rebecca’s womb and she too had kids. I wonder how Jacob was feeling about all of this. I guess he was just happy getting more and more inheritors for his new generation. In the end he had four wives and twelve kids!
jacob taking blessings from his father issac
As the Bible clearly stated: "Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padan-aram." (Genesis 35:22-26).
I'm very glad Jacob and Esau were able to make up in the end. Jacob's actions were cruel, but Esau found it in his heart (helped by the huge amount of animals Jacob sent him) to forgive his younger brother, and there would be no resent between them. It was actually a very happy ending for Isaac's family. Apart that his grandsons destroyed a whole city (to protect their sister's honor), he probably died feeling proud of his family.

The Exodus By God : Moses separating the Red Sea

moses commanding the red sea to get separated
Exodus is a story that I've known for years. I know by heart the incident of the flaming bush, the miracle of the serpent/rod, the bloody river and the seven plagues. It was all perfectly clear to me until I read the King James Bible, and discovered the story wasn't as simple as I thought.
First of all, God was the one who caused everything. It is true the Pharaoh had the Israelites as his slaves, and God was trying to free his people from the Egyptian oppression. But the following quote, which was repeated many times, left me very confused:

the isralites are passing into the red sea
 "And the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land." (Exodus 11:10)(This quote is similarly repeated in Exodus 7:13, 9:7, 9:35 and 10:20,). I don't understand why the Lord would harden Pharaoh's heart? What was the need of it? What I understand of the story was that God wanted to free the Israelites and send them to the Promised Land. Like he said when he appeared in the flaming bush to Moses:

"I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 3:8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey;" (Exodus 3:7-8).

He gave Moses signs so people would believe his story, and he walked with him to speak. If he indeed wanted to free his people, then instead of hardening the Pharaoh's heart, couldn't he have softened it? Maybe he needed the plagues to show all his power to the people, and make everyone see he is more powerful than any other god they worshipped. After all, he did say, "I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..." (Exodus 20:5). Still, I think that after the locust plague, when the Pharaoh asked for forgiveness and let the Israelites go, God again hardened his heart and decided to give him more plagues. If you think about it, the Pharaoh repented at least twice, and if God hadn't intervened, the Israelites would have gone from Egypt sooner. In the end, I think the Israelites wouldn't have made the journey to the Promised Land if God hadn't shown all his power and created so much fear amidst the people.

So I think Exodus was God's way to herd the people out of Egypt into the Promised Land where they could live in a covenant with him.

The Story of David and Goliath - Bible Story

David and Goliath 1 samuel 17:1-58 scripture reading in bible
 The story of David is a story of courage, jealousy, loyalty, betrayal and forgiveness. Courage is a small shepherd deciding to fight a 6 cubit and a span tall giant. David, the youngest of the sons of Jesse, was brave enough (or stupid enough) to accept Goliath's challenge. One man from each side would fight, and the winner would let his side subdue the looser side. I still don't understand how they let the crazy kid go. It was almost an impossible situation.  As Saul said, "Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. " (Samuel I 17:32).

David and Goliath in war field. David defeated Goliath
Obviously David did have the advantage of being on God's side, so in the end, the duel was very unfair, but for the Philistine's side. Saul let David go on his quest to kill Goliath, and later was very thankful. However, this gave David a lot more popularity than Saul had ever gained. What's worse is that David was a better than Saul in pretty much everything. Even the women were aware of this and they happily sang, "Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." (Samuel I 18:7). This made Saul go green with envy. Such were his feelings of hate and envy, he attempted murder two times, sent him on a suicide mission (although it didn't end up too bad for David) and later laid a heavy pursuit on him. All of his attempts to destroy David were rebutted by David's excellent behaviour and God's help. Like the book said, "And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely:" (Samuel I 18:5). In the end, Saul was never able to kill David or get rid of his jealousy.
This story is very divided into loyalty ad betrayal. David was very loyal to Saul, and he worked for him as a loyal servant. However, he did go to the Philistine side when Saul started hunting him down, betraying the Israelites. Jonathan was also involved in a loyalty/betrayal dilemma. He "loved" his friend David, and became a truly loyal friend. As the book said, "Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul." (Samuel I 18:3). This loyalty however, was intercepted with a duty to his father. He couldn't be a loyal friend and at the same time a loyal son, especially since Saul wanted to kill David. When Jonathan helped David escape, he did remain a true friend, but he betrayed his father.
In the end, it all came down to one thing: forgiveness. After his heavy pursuit, Saul was found by David helpless, but he decide not to kill him. He forgave him for all he made him suffer (and run), and let him live. In return, Saul promised not to hunt him down again, and they both reconciled. David remained a loyal friend and servant, because even after all Saul had done to him, he went back to give him a proper burial after he'd been murdered at war. David found all the pieces of Saul and Jonathan's bodies (which had been cut in pieces ad hung in different places) and buried them.

The Crimes of King David

the King David with his harp
 Time has changed David a lot. I remember when he first appeared as the youngest of Jesse's sons. He was so young and so devoted to God he intended to kill Goliath with a simple stone. As soon as he started becoming older, his morals began changing. They didn't seem much at first. He sacked the house of one of his wives husband, but that didn't seem to have a negative impact on his image. He still was very devoted to God and respected him so much. For example, he didn't kill Saul because he was "one of God's anointed." (Samuel I 26:23). And then he became king.
Greediness and ambition can really twist a person's morals. When he finally gets to be king, he starts spreading his territory rapidly. In doing so, he kills thousands of innocent people, and sacks city after city. He even turned the lame and the blind into his personal enemies. Why would he do that? He literally said so, "the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul," (Samuel II 5:8). Isn't a king supposed to have mercy on the week and the less fortunate? He conquered city after city mercilessly. Like he did with Metheg-ammah city:
"David took Metheg-ammah out of the hand of the Philistines. And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts." (Samuel II 8:1-2).
During this time, merciless conquering isn't so bad. It's actually part of forming nations, and nobody takes it so seriously. Some think it's even justifiable. What David did that really messed everything up was commit adultery against Uriah. He lay with his wife Bathsheba, and she became pregnant. What's worse is that he then tries (and succeeds) to kill Uriah. David marries Bathsheba, and she has his son. It's so unfair that David, a king who has all the riches in the world and a lot of wives, can take the only precious thing Uriah had, which was his beloved wife. Like Nathan's metaphor said:
"There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter." (Samuel II 12.1-4).
It's actually fair that God gives him all that punishment for his crimes. Apart from making his kingdom full of turmoil, he killed his son. David deserved it for being such a greedy and ambitious pig. So much power went into his head and finished all the morals he had. Most men in power tend to loose their morals.