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Sermon July 9: “A Match Made in….. Nahor”

Posted by on Jul 9, 2017 in Sunday Message | 0 comments

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/A-Match-Made-in...Nahor_E.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church July 9, 2017 Fifth Sunday after Pentecost Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67, Psalm 45:10-17 Prayer for Illumination: Abraham and Sarah heard God’s call and traveled where God led. Rebekah heard God’s call and traveled to Isaac as God led.  The God of our ancestors calls to us even now.  May we travel where God leads in the name of Jesus the Christ who strengthens us for the journey.  Amen. Sermon:  A Match Made in….. Nahor Today, in our Family Stories series, we have a love story.  It may not be the kind of story that we expect, with our modern day understanding of love.  Isaac and Rebekah didn’t meet at a bar on single’s night.  They didn’t message each other on Match.com.  Their eyes didn’t lock over the coffeemaker at work.  Their love story was more of the ‘arranged’ variety.  Abraham decided that it was time for his forty-year-old son to settle down, so he sent his servant back home to the city of Nahor in the country of Haran to pick a wife for Isaac from his family clan. In those days it was often the families that set these things up, taking into account dowries and clan relations.  Not very romantic.  Custom even required that, once betrothed, the groom wasn’t supposed to see the face of his bride until the wedding night.  (We’ll see later how that got Jacob into trouble when, intending to marry Rachel he married Leah instead.  But that’s a story for another day.)  Today we see Isaac, the long-awaited and much beloved son of Abraham and Sarah, take another step toward the promise as he welcomes a wife and settles down as a family man.  We may wonder why Isaac waited so long.  As the bearer of the promise one might think he would want to get the promise going.  Let’s get this party started!  If one is going to be the father of multitudes, one better start having babies.  But Isaac, at forty-years-old, lived seemingly as a bachelor, a loner, moving around, tending his flocks and herds. Isaac’s reluctance to settle may have had something to do with what we talked about last week, Abraham’s near sacrifice of him.  Maybe Isaac had some trust issues having been nearly killed by his own father, at God’s instruction no less.  Maybe Isaac didn’t think love was a real thing, having been hurt so badly by one who supposedly loved him.  At the end of today’s lesson we find Isaac coming from the land of Beer-lahai-roi to the Negeb.  Beer-lahai-roi is the land associated with his step-mother Hagar, the land she and Ishmael went to when fleeing Sarah’s anger.  Isaac having just been to Beer-lahai-roi brings up memories of another of Abraham’s questionable actions, the banishment of Isaac’s own half-brother. With family like this, who needs enemies, right?  And neither was Sarah, Isaac’s mother, blameless.  But she did, it seems, hold a place in Isaac’s heart.  For it was at her death that Abraham sent for, and Isaac accepted, a wife. So far we’ve talked a lot about Isaac, but Rebekah is no wall-flower in this story.  In fact, most of the story we read this morning is about her and her family.  Rebekah has variously been...

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