Tired. It hit midnight and I remembered I hadn’t done this for tonight so I’m just doing a short one.
Well, this could be a really long discussion, actually, if I wanted to make it such. As I read through each of the laws in this passage, certain thoughts came to me on almost all of them, so it could be broken down almost verse-by-verse. I’m not going to do that, though.
It’s an interesting read, though, just some of the things that were forbidden or processes that had to be followed. If you plant a fruit tree, you can’t eat the fruit for the first four years. You shouldn’t plant two crops in the same field, or wear cloth made from two different fabrics (There goes the poly/cotton blend clothing market), don’t clip the edges of your beard or the hair at the side of your head. It’s all quite strange and interesting.
Other laws that are brought up in this passage make more sense. Use honest scales and weights, rise in the presence of your elders, treat aliens in the land as your own. Some of these things are actions that, really, I’d think would be common sense. It’s just about showing general courtesy to people, still, God actually considers these things worth specifying. I mean, he doesn’t actually go into pages and pages of laws that would also come under common sense and common courtesy, so therefore that would imply to me that these are actions that God really considers something special.
It reminds me of Jesus saying:
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:35
In spite of what so many people would try to suggest, God is actually all about love. Love for one another, no matter who the ‘other’ is; and love for him. Showing respect and courtesy to others is a simple thing that can reflect God’s heart.
I remember being struck when I arrived in Perth by something. We caught the shuttle bus from the airport in to Perth, and when we arrived at the YWAM base, I stopped, gave the bus driver a good handshake and said thanks to him. I was slightly startled by just how much his face lit up; when I did that, and God put into my mind the question: How many people actually stop to give a person in his position a real thank you? It’s one thing to say thanks in passing, with barely a second glance to a person who serves us – someone whose face we wouldn’t even remember three minutes later; but it’s worth remembering to actually be genuine in our thanks.
The little things that we can do, can be such a blessing to the people receiving them.
The Israelites were commanded, that if a foreigner entered their land, they were to be treated as an Israelite. There wasn’t to be any difference in interaction between their fellow countrymen and people from outside. Sounds very similar to loving your neighbour as yourself.
So, given that I’m stuck at home tonight with nothing else better to do (okay, so I could be working on a novel – I’ll go to that shortly), I figured I’d do one of these two-chapter evenings, especially since chapter 10 didn’t really seem to strike me with anything profound. Fascinating, yes, profound? Not so much. Feel free to comment on the previous article, though, if you’ve got something profound out of Chapter 10!
The Tower of Babel. I always loved this story, but you know what really sticks out? Verse 6.
The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” ~ Genesis 11:6
Nothing will be impossible. United as one people, humanity was potentially capable of reaching a point where nothing would be impossible.
How powerful, then, must be unity? We don’t really know any more. The human race has reached this weird little state where we kind of care about everyone else, but only for the sake of caring about ourselves. Community, though, seems to be fading out of existance. I remember as a kid, we knew our neighbours by name, over the back fence, the side fence, across the road, all those kinds of things. It doesn’t seem to be as common anymore, that we know all the people in our street. I’ve barely known most of the neighbours that I’ve had in the past few years.
Unity, though, has power. In this case, it wasn’t the right kind of power – but let’s not forget that implication. If we’re in unity, there is power.
The tower of Babel was built, by the looks of it, at the plain of Shinar – which was to the East – there’s East again! This brings us back to Nimrod from chapter 10. I read when I was looking up about him that some of the extrabiblical sources credit him as being the main guy responsible for Babel/Babylon and the Tower. I’m really curious to know where all these places actually physically were, and how all of these events went down.
More genealogy, and then Terah, and we meet Abram. Abram had two brothers, Haran and Nahor – we don’t really see what happened to Nahor, but Haran must have been a pretty special person. Terah left Ur after Haran died with the intention of going to Canaan, but he ends up settling in a place called Haran. I’m wondering whether he settled somewhere, and that was how it got called Haran. Terah named the new family home after his son.
I wonder what might have gone differently, had Terah continued the journey, and been the family patriarch all the way to Canaan…