Friday, 8 January 2021
"These are the names of the sons of Isra'el who came into Egypt with Ya'akov; each man came with his household:" (Exodus 1:1, CJB)
As the Hebrew name, Shemot (Names), tells us Exodus opens with the names of the families of Israelites who came down to Egypt. This is the book that deals with the two shaping events of our people's history and identity (redemption from Egypt and the giving of the Torah) and yet it opens with a list of names of Jacob's sons. One family! Why is this?
Maybe G-d wants to remind us that we come from a family. That ultimately we are one family. Isn't this reflected in the terminology, the "the family of G-d" when we speak of the Body of Messiah? Isn't the Bible full of genealogies, all the way from the books of history to the Four Gospels? Apparently familiea are important to G-d!
And families are important to us as people. They tell us where we came from and where we belong. From them we get our stories and they bind us together. How much money do people spend tracing their family history? That is one of the tragedies children who have been abandoned to be raised by the State - the the stories of where they have come from and who there families are, are missing and they feel they don't know who they are.
This is often something that even those of us who have grown up in families struggle with. Where we belong, who we are and what we are doing are all questions we ask and spend time - sometimes years - trying to answer. In covenant relationship G-d gives us a home, a family and a sense of belonging. Are we happy with who we are, built up in Messiah? Can we reach out to others who are struggling with their physical or spiritual identities to give them home and help them find peace? Maybe it's something we should think about this Shabbat!
"Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18, NASB)