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Wednesday, July 21
 

 

Genesis 26:1-11

1Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar, to King Abimelech of the Philistines. 2The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; settle in the land that I shall show you. 3Reside in this land as an alien, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath that I swore to your father Abraham. 4I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring, 5because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."
6So Isaac settled in Gerar. 7When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, "She is my sister"; for he was afraid to say, "My wife," thinking, "or else the men of the place might kill me for the sake of Rebekah, because she is attractive in appearance." 8When Isaac had been there a long time, King Abimelech of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw him fondling his wife Rebekah. 9So Abimelech called for Isaac, and said, "So she is your wife! Why then did you say, 'She is my sister'?" Isaac said to him, "Because I thought I might die because of her." 10Abimelech said, "What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us." 11So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, "Whoever touches this man or his wife shall be put to death."

Reflection

I am going to confess this now but I hope you will keep doing what you are doing. Let me explain. I often receive thank you cards and e-mails addressed to me. “Thank you for the lovely gift bag. It made my day!” someone wrote. “Thank you so much! My family still talks about it!” another said. You will never know how much the kids appreciated your generous kindness!”
 
Guess what? I never did those things. 
 
In today’s passage, God continues the relationship begun with Abraham. God repeats the ancient promise of descendants, land, and blessing to Abraham’s son, Isaac. The second  half of today’s reading reminds us how Isaac is not a perfect example of obedience or faith. Of course, Abraham wasn’t either. But notice that God’s promise to Isaac does not come to him because of his faith or obedience. God’s promise is not given to Isaac because of anything about Isaac. God blesses Isaac “because Abraham obeyed.” Isaac and his descendants received the gift not because of anything they did, but because of something someone else did.
 
Someone from the congregation did something kind—and I got the credit! I did pass along the thanks to the real givers, and let the recipients know who to really thank. But I have been on the receiving end of God’s promises because of the faith of others—parents, teachers, pastors—lots of people. When have you received God’s promises because of the faith of someone else?

 

Prayer


Lord God, from the beginning and in your wisdom you place us in community. Thank you for the gift of those around us, and those who have gone before us, whose faith you use to build us up. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Written by Pastor Pam Mitcham
Pastor of Community Care
pmitcham@stjohns-springfield.org
 
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