Anyone who has had a family celebration go bad, will relate to this podcast. What should have been a celebration turned into a nightmare. In fact it was so bad, we’re still talking about it, 4000 years later! Now that’s what I call a bad party! Family dysfunction does that. Unless dealt with, it lies dormant beneath the surface ready to erupt without a moment’s notice. Class, culture, and sadly often even faith doesn’t mitigate the pain and damage done; though of course in the case of faith it could and it should. It’s worth reflecting as you listen what could have been done to prevent the blow up, and then ask what do you need to do to prevent your potential blow up!
One story, three players. It is fascinating to reflect upon what was going through the minds of each, as the scene unfolds in this part of the story. We’re all on journey of faith. All of us, from the apparently secular or pagan, to the evidently Godly. It is true we can remain unmoved by God by what we experience in life, and sadly often do. Worse still it is possible to regress, and slip and slide backwards. But then even the greatest challenges can provoke, inspire and move us, regardless of who we are and where we’re at. In deed the greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity to move ahead in our understanding of God. In my reflection of this part of the story: Abraham struggles, Sarah blossoms and Abimelech, the pagan king, surprises us all. Each day, every experience is an opportunity for you and me to move on. Let’s take this opportunity.
Well done for sticking with this story! it doesn’t make easy listening! But then we don’t live in the small small world of Disney. We live in a hugely complex world in which we need to make decisions with significant consequences not only for ourselves but those we love. And to make matters worse we only get one shot at life. Blow this one and there is no rewind button. What we do have though is a Father in heaven to whom we can turn for guidance through those decisions and help to navigate the messes when we get them wrong. The Bible and stories like that of Abraham reveal something of His heart and mind and teach us how best to respond in our culture and context
On the face of it this isn’t the most uplifting of episodes. Desperation and doubt, failure and fear: all lead to a series of poor and at times quite hideous decisions. We’ve just seen how absolute God’s judgment is. And yet here, as everyone tries to get on with life in the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we see how low life can get without Him. Ordinarily both God’s presence and His absence is a fearful thing, albeit for very different reasons. But in Christ, we can know Him in all holiness and beauty, both intimately and safely. And then life has a purity and purpose again. There is one character in this episode who foretells something of the promises of life in all its fulness that we find in Jesus; it’s joys and hopes despite our circumstances. For Sarah her dreams are about to come true, albeit in the context of being badly let down by her husband again!
Although called Patriarch, this is as much Sarah’s story as Abraham’s. And in this short episode we meet a woman battered by life, it’s expectations and apparently broken promises. A woman whose laugh is no longer carefree but cynical, who hides away in tents, awkward in social engagement and lost in faith. But a woman who the Lord knows, seeks out and believes in. A woman who was beginning a new journey of hope and fulfilled dreams. It may be a short podcast but it’s not a bad one!!