These next few chapters of Genesis chart one of the most contentious and challenging stories in scripture, conclude the story of Abraham, and introduce us to several other key biblical figures: Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob.
Genesis 22 is difficult to navigate and raises questions that no one claims to be able to fully answer. God makes the seemingly outrageous demand that Abraham sacrifice his own son and Abraham, unbelievably, goes along with it. It’s certainly a scary moment but we can see throughout the story that even in the face of losing everything Abraham trusts God’s provision and is rewarded for this.
Following this, Sarah dies, and Isaac is comforted by marrying Rebekah, a woman found by Abraham’s servant who seeks God in prayer in his quest to find his master’s son a suitable partner. Isaac and Rebekah have twins, Esau and Jacob who are born warring.
From familial relationships to spiritual relationships, Paul discusses his history with the Corinthian church, reminding them of the strength of their relationship with him and his delight in their repentance.
Paul urges them to add generosity to their spiritual armoury after praising them for their faith, speech, knowledge, earnestness, and love. Paul is clear that it is the heart that matters and not the amount given. He exhorts the church to give cheerfully in response to what Jesus has done for them and not simply because they are being told to do it.
We can see this week that God is at the heart of biblical relationships. Parent and child. Husband and wife. Siblings. Church family. It is in the context of these relationship that he challenges, provokes, encourages, and leads his people forward into more blessing and deeper knowledge of him.
A few questions:
- Consider the variety of relationships you have. How might God want to use them?
- Abraham trusts God to provide in an impossible situation. What examples of provision can you call to mind, either from your own life or from someone you know?
- Giving is presented by Paul as something that should be done cheerfully and not under compulsion. Is that how you give? If not, what is one step you could take to adjusting your attitude to generosity?