We’ve got a short one today. This chapter serves as prelude to the last plague, the calm before the final storm. It calls back to several events that God predicted previously, so we’re going to look back at those previous passages, in the interest of actually having something to talk about. Ha! I’m not being entirely facetious.
Finally, Abraham is officially Abraham! Now I can stop feeling weird when I refer to him by the name by which he is most widely known, but which he has not technically been given yet!
So, God has explicitly promised Abraham an heir who is his son by birth. But Sarah has been unable to conceive and is well past child-bearing age. Where is this heir going to come from? Sarah has an idea: God said the heir would come from Abraham, but he didn’t say it had to come from Sarah. Thus, she’ll give her maid Hagar to Abraham, and Hagar and Abraham will have the child. Problem solved, right? No. There are complications.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you there are no elephants in the Bible. And no, I’m not talking about implied elephants on the ark. Nor am I referring to Solomon’s importing of elephants’ tusks in 1 Kings 10:22. Did you know that ever since Genesis 12, Abraham has been traveling with an elephant? In Genesis 12, as you recall, God promised to make a great nation out of Abraham and to bless the entire world through him. But Abraham’s wife is well past child-bearing age, apparently infertile. How will he become a great nation if his line of descendants ends with him? The elephant Abraham is traveling with is the elephant in the room.
Welcome to a new week in the Triad study, with a new passage to investigate every last corner of, like a room in an adventure game where you’re stuck on a puzzle and just start hunting for item and verb combinations in some desperate hope of advancing your progress. Well, okay, hopefully it doesn’t go down like that. We have the first handful of verses in Ephesians locked and loaded for study today, and the Triad study identifies this week’s theme as “guarantee.”
Remember Psalm 139, the “birthday psalm,” so called because it’s about God creating King David in his mother’s womb? I’m pretty sure Amos 9–the final chapter of the book of Amos–directly refers to it. As the chapter begins, Amos sees the Lord standing next to an altar. Perhaps Amos is still in Vision Mode, or perhaps this constitutes a full-blown theophany in the vein of Genesis 18. But more important than how the Lord appears to Amos is what he has to say to the prophet.
What was the word I made up the other day? “Jewishnesses?” The Jewishnesses are pervasive in this chapter. Even as a guy fairly familiar with the Old Testament and the history of Judaism, I feel like some of these chapters will always strike me as at least a bit alien. You never really know something until you experience it: that’s a very Jewish idea. And I’ve never experienced being a Jew.