The Blessed Burden {gn36}

Photo © Unsplash/Jenn Evelyn-Ann

Photo © Unsplash/Jenn Evelyn-Ann

Esau is known as the one
who sold his birthright
and forfeited his blessing—
not the one "favored" by God,
not the one destined to be in that family tree,
not one of the "children of promise."

As between him and his brother Jacob,
Esau was not the "blessed" one,
but have you ever read a more blessed genealogy
in the entire Bible?

No barren women,
no tragedies,
no hardships,
no scandals,
no poverty—in fact, the opposite—
so much wealth the family had to move to a larger land.

By contrast, those "blessed" of God
met frequent hardship and troubles—
their genealogies littered with innumerable obstacles:
barrenness, injustice, illness, death.

It was after, after!  Jacob decided to
fulfill his vow to God
commit his life to the Lord and
return to the sacred place of his Creator
that his family was besieged by
sickness and unexpected death—
burying, in rapid succession,
first Deborah, then Rachel, then Isaac.

Is burden a blessing?
Is blessing a burden?

How is it they stroll together so comfortably
hand in hand
like lovers on a Sunday afternoon
in the park?

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far {gn26:7}


The sins of the fathers
are visited upon the children
unto the third and fourth generations.

/raise a child
and learn firsthand
the awful truth/

     The Sins of the Fathers
     silently transmitted (like DNA)
     proudly passed down (like family heirlooms)
     meticulously cultivated (like cherished hobbies)
     systematically served up (like three meals a day)

Words /like birds/ fly
up down and around
in out
alighting departing

settle in
take root

That Isaac weaved
his father's tangled web
is no surprise.

The miracle would have been
a son of Abraham
who didn't practice the deceit
that had permeated the air
from the first moment
he drew breath.


Table Turner {gn25}


The first-time father
at eighty-six.

The bastard child
also blessed with twelve tribes.

The barren woman
gifted with twins.

The birthright
given to the baby.

The servant
becoming the master.

The poor

The weak

The inconsolable

God has been overturning tables
long before He
whipped the temple
into a frenzy.


The Voice That Asked for Sacrifice {gn22}

Photo © Wikimedia Commons/Laurent de La Hyre

Photo © Wikimedia Commons/Laurent de La Hyre

It has been said
that Abraham was crazy,
that the voice he heard
asking him to sacrifice Isaac
was not God's,

that God would never ask a father
to sacrifice his son—
even to prove a point.

I don't buy it.

Not because I'm so convinced
God would use such a method
to make such a point,

but because I'm pretty sure
that any man who obeyed the voice
which asked him to cut off the tip of his
— you know what —
would recognize that voice
if it ever spoke to him again.


God is reassuring.

God is reassuring.


Ever since Adam and Eve chose to believe the serpent at the tree, relations  between human beings have been ruled by fear. This chapter is a great example. Isaac takes his family down to Gerar, and Abimelech is still the king (as he was in Abraham’s time). And, continuing the time-honored family tradition of dishonesty, Isaac told the same lie about Rebekah that his father had told about Sarah—and for exactly the same reason. He was afraid.

God is the original GPS.

God is the original GPS.


I have become totally addicted to the GPS in my car. Especially on long trips when I’m going someplace I haven’t been before, I love to turn on the GPS and... relax. I don’t have to worry about looking for the right highway. I don’t have to worry about missing a turn. All I have to do is listen for the voice with the British accent that says, "After two miles, take the exit right..." And if I take a wrong turn, no problem! In no time, that little British person who lives inside my GPS will get me straightened out and headed the right way.

God reveals what's in the heart.

God reveals what's in the heart.


This is one of the chapters in the Bible that most of us are very familiar with. A lot of questions swirl around this story: Why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son? And why in the world would Abraham do it, even without asking a single question? Regardless of the possible answers to these questions, I think this chapter tells us something very important about God that is easy to overlook: He knows what’s in the heart, and He knows how to reveal it.

God is funny.

God is funny.


There are so many things I could write about God from this chapter of Genesis, but I’ve just got to write about God’s sense of humor. Are you sometimes lulled into thinking that God is a stern, distant Deity who frowns over you as you trudge through life? Even if you picture Him as one who wants to have a relationship with you, are you tempted to think that He is more like a harsh, exacting parent who keeps a watchful eye on His children, lest He see any hint of indiscretion?