Be prepared. Cursing alert.
I just don’t understand. There’s so much behavior in these chapters that I am having a hard time stomaching. Isaac tells the same lies his father did by telling the people his wife is really his sister. Then all the women are so desperate to have a child they throw their maids at their husbands. And the men — those that really love God — are sleeping around with every woman in the land. People were having an awful lot of sex back in the day. Thinking about it now, I’m kind of shocked to think how much we modern-day Christians shun and frown upon sexual “impurity” and sins considering how these forefathers of the faith behaved.
Anyway…..then there’s Rachel stealing an idol of her fathers, the fact that these people had “servants” (which in my mind translates to slaves), and poor Dinah gets raped and her brothers go kill the bastards that did this to her and Jacob gets angry at them. What?! He actually scolds Simeon and Levi for attacking and killing the villagers as revenge for Dinah’s rape. I don’t get it. And Jacob in his youth plotted with his mother to trick his father. And poor Esau…..who is tricked out of Isaac’s blessing ends up demonstrating such love when he finally welcomes Jacob back with no hard feelings. Yet, he is not the one who receives God’s blessing.
None of this makes any sense to me. I constantly wonder how God can use such awful people or people who are just so unlikeable. Even after building an alter and worshipping God and knowing how much they talk about desiring to please God, they still are horn dogs and egomaniacs in many cases. They continue to make the same mistakes over and over and mistreat people. Nothing adds up to me or makes sense.
I think about the times I have heard of churches that kicked out people from membership or from positions of leadership because they were living a “sinful” life. Maybe it was getting caught soliciting a prostitute, maybe it was being gay, maybe it was living together outside of marriage, maybe it was gambling, maybe it was substance abuse, maybe it was women wearing pants……the list can go on and on. I think I just want to take Genesis and shove it in their faces. I’m feeling pretty visceral about it all, really.
Part of me is pissed that God would choose to use these people I really don’t like anymore …. like Jacob … and part of me is really angry about Jacob not defending poor Dinah or at least giving Simeon and Levi a pat on the back. Part of me is irritated that some Christians make others feel inferior when we can clearly read God uses and BLESSES people despite their bad decisions. He loves the person He made and can at times overlook their shortcomings. It’s not just that He uses them, but that He blesses them and allows them to prosper.
I think I’m having a hard time with that because I realize that blessings and prosperity are NOT equal to everyone. There is no real formula to earning them. That whole line of “God helps those who help themselves” is shit. The American dream and God’s philosophy are not synonymous. And the sad thing is I wish it were the way God worked sometimes. I guess I’m pissed at myself for feeling this way. I wish God’s blessings were rewards for being awesome. And then I wish I were the standard for being awesome and he would drown me in blessings to the extent I never had financial worries again. I wish he blessed me to the point that none of my family would ever be sick and my marriage was always smooth and easy and that my job was a piece of cake and my students always exceeded adequate yearly progress and knocked the top off of state standardized tests. But it doesn’t work that way, does it?! And I guess I can be a bit bitter about that.
But the reality is God does not work in such a way that we will ever see as being “fair.” And, probably, I should thank Him for that because I so would NOT be the standard for awesomeness. I would probably be in an even lower category as these Biblical characters I’m not liking very much right now. And truthfully, God does bless me. Even when I feel like whining about medical bills and student loans and a dirty house with carpets with the occasional dog pee stain. I’m glad that God helps those who are too overwhelmed to help themselves.