23 September 2015

Genesis 21:5-20

“God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.” (v. 20)

Psalm: Psalm 95


There are some stunning geological features in the world that arise when a tough layer of rock is embedded in a softer one. As the ages go by the enduring stands out in dramatic forms! I wonder sometimes if that is the best way of hearing the gospel (ie good news) in ancient tales. The assumptions made in the past hold the lasting truth of a God who created all things. The values of that time allow a woman to be 'cast away', for her life has no value. It allows a child to be abandoned with little concern and for his mother only to have the hope that she might not see him die. Culture and tradition seem so immovable and resilient, but as we read the story, the more enduring hope we have in God emerges. God hears the voices of Abraham and Hagar. God transcends the accepted values of that age with eternal values of human worth. God blesses the ones whom others have cursed. Such stories of jealousy and power run through the tales of every nation. We may hear the resonance from our own 'fairy stories' and sense repeated again and again the painful and complex realities of human society. But the writers of Genesis have a theological purpose, to tell of a God who does not abandon people, even those in the wilderness. This message will endure as even our own modern mores and assumptions are weathered away.

To Ponder

  • How does the enduring grace of God stand out against your own assumptions and values today?
  • Who are rejected and diminished within our culture today? And how might you seek to be alongside them?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

Born in Africa to missionary parents, Mark Wakelin is a Methodist minister, He was the President of the Methodist Conference 2012/2013, and before that worked for the Connexional Team, as the secretary for internal relationships. He is now the minster at Epsom Methodist Chuch.