Sunday, December 03, 2017

Two Feasts - Joseph and the Passover

Genesis 40 ends with a feast for Pharaoh's birthday. And if feasts are often catalysts for something, this one fails. God's servant, Joseph, is NOT let go. The cupbearer, once restored to his position of honor, forgets to mention him to Pharoah. Bummer.

But then the story before this feast caught my attention. We have a cupbearer and a baker, the wine and bread represented, the blood and the body of communion. Why then does the cupbearer get restored to honor and the baker get hanged? Aren't both important to the story? But reading on into Exodus we explore the Passover and this is where the bread is tossed. All the leavening and leavened bread are removed from the house. Bye, bye, Baker!

This connection in itself is a bit tenuous. (I still have lots of questions about this story and what it means on a deeper level.) But nothing is in Scripture by accident. And that's when the contrast hit me. After the feast of Passover (the first one!), the Israelites ARE LET GO, unlike Joseph who remained for years in prison.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Two Feasts - Abraham and Herod

Sometimes you read two passages next to each other that you never have connected before. Then something happens. You realize in a flash that they are sort of similar. Then the dominos keep falling and suddenly they are both about the same thing at the heart.

Tonight it was Genesis 21:8-20 and Mark 6:21-28.

Both passages begin with a feast. In the first, we have the feast commemorating the weaning of Isaac. In the second, the feast is for Herod's birthday. Both feasts are not the point but rather the catalyst for something to happen.

At the party for Isaac, Sarah decides that it's time to kick out Hagar and Ishmael and Abraham does. The earlier born but "backup" son has to go to make way for the true child of promise. His expulsion is ugly and brutal and feels utterly unfair.

At the party for Herod, Herodias decides that it's time for John the Baptist to die and Herod follows through. The earlier born relative and prophet came to prepare a way for the true Messiah of promise. His death is ugly and brutal and feels utterly unfair.

In both stories, the feast is the beginning of something important. In both, the someone is moved out to make way for the true promise.

A few other things struck me, too.  Ishamael is soon threatened with death as he and Hagar wander in the wilderness. But God rescues him. Isaac is later threatened with death as Abraham prepares him for sacrifice. God rescues him as well.

This contrasts with John and Jesus, both of whom are killed. The earlier story is only playing pretend. It doesn't know the seriousness of what it will become.