ISSL Reflections October 9 2022 Deuteronomy 32:3–6, 10–14, 18 Post 2

IV.
Let’s hear Moses speak to us today and take notice of the hope in his voice.

V.

Deuteronomy 32:3-6

For I will proclaim the name of the Lord,
     ascribe greatness to our God!

The Rock, his work is perfect,
     and all his ways are just.
A faithful God, without deceit,
     just and upright is he;
yet his degenerate children have dealt falsely with him,
     a perverse and crooked generation.
Do you thus repay the Lord,
     O foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your father who created you,
     who made you and established you?

Deuteronomy 32:10-14

He sustained him in a desert land,
     in a howling wilderness waste;
he shielded him, cared for him,
     guarded him as the apple of his eye.
As an eagle stirs up its nest
     and hovers over its young,
as it spreads its wings, takes them up,
     and bears them aloft on its pinions,
the Lord alone guided him;
     no foreign god was with him.
He set him atop the heights of the land
     and fed him with produce of the field;
he nursed him with honey from the crags,
     with oil from flinty rock,
curds from the herd, and milk from the flock,
     with fat of lambs and rams,
Bashan bulls and goats,
     together with the choicest wheat—
     you drank fine wine from the blood of grapes.

Deuteronomy 32:18

You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you;
     you forgot the God who gave you birth.

VI.
Where did you hear Moses speak of hope?

Where he spoke of the greatness, perfection and faithfulness of God?

Or does hope even enter in when he speaks of the people’s foolishness and forgetfulness?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections October 9 2022 Deuteronomy 32:3–6, 10–14, 18 Post 1

I.
We read at Deuteronomy 31:30, “Then Moses recited the words of this song, to the very end, in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel …” and this song of Moses follows. It has similarities to the pattern we find in some of the Psalms and the Hebrew prophets

Let’s read it slowly and then give it another hearing trying to hear it as the Hebrew people might have heard it that day.

II.
Deuteronomy 32:3–6, 10–14, 18 (New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition)

Deuteronomy 32:3-6

For I will proclaim the name of the Lord,
     ascribe greatness to our God!

The Rock, his work is perfect,
     and all his ways are just.
A faithful God, without deceit,
     just and upright is he;
yet his degenerate children have dealt falsely with him,
     a perverse and crooked generation.
Do you thus repay the Lord,
     O foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your father who created you,
     who made you and established you?

Deuteronomy 32:10-14

He sustained him in a desert land,
     in a howling wilderness waste;
he shielded him, cared for him,
     guarded him as the apple of his eye.
As an eagle stirs up its nest
     and hovers over its young,
as it spreads its wings, takes them up,
     and bears them aloft on its pinions,
the Lord alone guided him;
     no foreign god was with him.
He set him atop the heights of the land
     and fed him with produce of the field;
he nursed him with honey from the crags,
     with oil from flinty rock,
curds from the herd, and milk from the flock,
     with fat of lambs and rams,
Bashan bulls and goats,
     together with the choicest wheat—
     you drank fine wine from the blood of grapes.

Deuteronomy 32:18

You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you;
     you forgot the God who gave you birth.

III.
What captures you in this song?

The description and attributes and actions attributed to God?

The description of a “foolish and senseless people”?

Do you think the people are so bad they should be called “… degenerate … perverse and crooked …”?

Is Moses unloading on the people for all the trouble they have given him through the years?

Or, is he asking them to recognize the best and worse they are capable of?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections October 2 2022 Exodus 2:1–10 Post 3

VII.
Think about the sister who, “… stood at a distance to see what would happen.”

VIII.
Exodus 2:1-10 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

IX.
I wonder how much the sister knew of the death threat that hung over the baby?

Did her mother send her to the river to bring back some report on the fate of the baby? Or, did her own curiosity or love take her there?

How is that one who “… stood at a distance …” becomes the one who speaks to Pharaoh’s daughter and proposes a Hebrew nurse for the baby? It seems to me that is a very bold step for the girl.

And while we are thinking of bold steps, what about Pharaoh’s daughter? She takes this boy as her son and names him. How many ways she is defying both the law of the land, Pharaoh, and her father?

There are so many brave and bold, maybe even “foolish” actions presented here.

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections October 2 2022 Exodus 2:1–10 Post 2

IV.
Let’s read the passage once more and take notice of what you learn about the mothers in the account.

V.
Exodus 2:1-10 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

VI.
First there is, “The woman conceived and bore a son…

Then you have, ‘When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son.”

The child has two mothers accounting to this account.

He is given birth by one, and given a life in the house of the daughter of the ruler of the nation.

As you consider these two women, what do you think they are able to give their son?

And one more question today – what do you see when the one mother gives her son to the other, Pharaoh’s daughter?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections October 2 2022 Exodus 2:1–10 Post 1

I.
This week we read of the birth of “a fine baby” whose mother placed him in a basket, and set the basket afloat in the river. What drives a mother to such? If you turn to Exodus 1 you will find the setting for such including this – “Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, ‘Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.’” (Exodus 1:22)

As you read the focus passage, take note of each person mentioned and their part in this account.

II.
Exodus 2:1-10 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

III.
So who do we see? The mother, the infant son, the sister, the daughter of Pharaoh and her attendants. Yes, the father is mentioned, but all the action is centered around the women and one crying infant boy.

Who saves the infant?

How?

How many rescuers does the infant have to thank for his life?

What has been your experience in being the one rescued or the one rescuing another?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections September 25 2022 Genesis 35:22b–26; 38:24–26; 49:10–12 Post 3

VII.
Let’s return to the focus Scriptures today and as you spend time with them, take notice of what stands out for you and what is clear for you. In other words, spend time not on what might confuse but on what enlightens or inspires.

VIII.
Genesis 35:22-26 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it.

Now the sons of Jacob were twelve. The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali. The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.

Genesis 38:24-26 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has prostituted herself; moreover, she is pregnant as a result of prostitution.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “It was the owner of these who made me pregnant.” And she said, “Take note, please, whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” Then Judah acknowledged them and said, “She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not lie with her again.

Genesis 49:10-12 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him,
and the obedience of the peoples is his.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
and his robe in the blood of grapes;
his eyes are darker than wine
and his teeth whiter than milk.

IX.
So, did you find inspiration in these passages? Did you find something that throws light on how or who God calls into covenant relationship with him?


Where is hope portrayed to you in this account? Maybe I should ask if you find anything hopeful.

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections September 25 2022 Genesis 35:22b–26; 38:24–26; 49:10–12 Post 2

IV.
Turning to Genesis 49:1-2 we read, “Then Jacob called his sons and said, ‘Gather around, that I may tell you what will happen to you in days to come. Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob; listen to Israel your father.’”

The editors of these lessons focus on words about Judah in Genesis 49:10-12. Let’s expand that a bit.

V.
Genesis 49:3-12 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might and the first fruits of my vigor,
excelling in rank and excelling in power.
Unstable as water, you shall no longer excel
because you went up onto your father’s bed;
then you defiled it—you went up onto my couch!

Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
May I never come into their council;
may I not be joined to their company,
for in their anger they killed men,
and at their whim they hamstrung oxen.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel.

Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion,
like a lioness—who dares rouse him up?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him,
and the obedience of the peoples is his.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
and his robe in the blood of grapes;
his eyes are darker than wine
and his teeth whiter than milk.

VI.
What do Jacob’s words regarding Judah bring to mind for you?

That he will be praised, that his brothers will recognize him as having first place among the brothers, that he will have authority (even Kingship) over others?

That seems to be there for me.

But what of this “Binding his foal to the vine … he washes his garments in … grapes … his eyes darker than wine and his teeth whiter than milk”?

Do we regard these as Hebrew metaphors and images that were understandable in the distant past but are confusing if not undecipherable to us?

Maybe so.

For me the best I have found is to regard these images as something akin to the description of the “promised land” as a “land flowing with milk and honey.” Maybe it is intended to describe a blessed land, a blessed age and what some would later describe as the messianic age.

What do you think?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections September 25 2022 Genesis 35:22b–26; 38:24–26; 49:10–12 Post 1

I.
I have to say – in my initial reading of this week’s focus Scriptures, I was confused, speechless and wondering where this collection of verses was supposed to lead me. Why jump between these passages?

So, I went back to the theme for this set of 13 lessons, which is God’s call. (Oh, I also read a couple of commentaries.)

I think when we get to Genesis 49:10 (“The scepter shall not depart from Judah”) we see who is “called” to be the agent of the continued workings of God’s call to Abram.

Do you think I might be on the right track?

Let’s read these passages and then see how we can make our way through them.

II.
Genesis 35:22-26 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it.

Now the sons of Jacob were twelve. The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali. The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.

Genesis 38:24-26 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has prostituted herself; moreover, she is pregnant as a result of prostitution.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “It was the owner of these who made me pregnant.” And she said, “Take note, please, whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” Then Judah acknowledged them and said, “She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not lie with her again.

Genesis 49:10-12 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him,
and the obedience of the peoples is his.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
and his robe in the blood of grapes;
his eyes are darker than wine
and his teeth whiter than milk.

III.
In Genesis 35:23-26 we see a listing of the sons of Jacob/Israel. Note that Reuben is the oldest. In what I have read of that culture (as in so many other cultures) the oldest son was the prime inheritor of the father’s property, prestige and authority. We read earlier that this is not always the case in the Scriptural narrative. Remember the account of Esau and Jacob were we read, “the elder shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23)

So do we know why Judah has the “scepter” and not Reuben?

I guess, given the Scriptures in front of us this week, we might think it is because, “Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine …

But wait, what of this mention of Judah’s daughter-in-law, “Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has prostituted herself; moreover, she is pregnant as a result of prostitution.” Then his “command” that she be burned, and her sending the “the signet and the cord and the staff” to Judah and letting him know, “It was the owner of these who made me pregnant.”

Going back to Genesis 35:12-19 we discover the signet, cord and staff belonged to Judah. When Tamar confronts Judah with this, he acknowledged, “She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.”

Family histories get complicated? Yes?

Maybe this is the place to quote Romans 3:22-23, “For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Yet, God continues to call us to his covenant of blessing and grace?

Where do you see grace in your life today?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections September 18 2022 Genesis 32:22–32 Post 3

VII.
And then –

“You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, yet my life is preserved.”

A new name, an unanswered question, a blessing and an encounter with God! Did you see all that coming from a wrestling “match”?

VIII.
Genesis 32:22-32 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle.

IX.
Maybe all this wrapped up so tightly in this passage is one of the reasons it is a favorite passage of mine.

Then again, maybe, I just identify with having to struggle – wrestle – with some decisions I face.

I know that once the choice is made something will be different. Maybe I won’t get a new name but I am changed.

Then, on top of that, do you think even as we make such choices, there is “always” something that remains unanswered?

How do we live with the unanswered questions? The Mystery that we face again and again? Not “mysteries,” but “The Mystery.” Whatever it is that strikes awe in us? Do we face it as did Jacob/Israel or do we avoid it at all cost?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections September 18 2022 Genesis 32:22–32 Post 2

IV.
Let’s spend some time with these images –

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone…

That seems straight forward enough, but then we read –

and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.”

Does that disrupt the flow of the episode for you? Or is it the focus of the entire experience?

V.
Genesis 32:22-32 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle.

VI.
When we speak of someone “wrestling with ” what comes to mind for you?

Maybe struggling with some choice, decision, you have to come to grips with?

Are you intentionally trying to delay making the choice or is the choice so difficult or so faceted you find it almost totally impossible to choose a path forward?

Or maybe you just fear the outcome of any choice you make?

Do you think any of these possibilities fit Jacob’s situation?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}