Sunday, February 21, 2016

Abram and יְהוִה

This morning I’m looking at today’s First Reading (Genesis 15) where Abram is chatting with God, and here is God again shamelessly enticing Abram with the idea of land and descendants and being a blessing; and Abram scoffs. Remember, the next time God does this, years later, Abram and Sarai laugh outright, embarrassing God and annoying God finally to procreative action, God saying Sarai won't have the last laugh. 

But anyway, I’m looking in the Hebrew bible at this morning’s conversation between God and Abram, and I’m noticing that Abram is calling God יְהוִה. Well, they were old drinking buddies by then, weren’t they, a relationship that started way back when Abram was only seventy-five, and lasting a quarter century while Abram and Sarai were believing יְהוִה, and יְהוִה was reckoning it to them as “righteousness” when all the aging couple really wanted was a child.

Isaac, of course finally arrived while יְהוִה was still seething that everybody had laughed at Him. I doubt that יְהוִה was amused, either, when Sarai named Isaac “laughter” or "the last laugh" —which may be one reason God gives Isaac such a relatively minor role in Heilsgeschichte

So, what’s my point. Nothing really except that quite clearly, Abram was on a first name basis with יְהוִה centuries before Moses ever showed up at the burning bush and asked God his Name and God said, probably already annoyed at Moses for grazing sheep in his front yard, "I'm the God of Abraham ... and my name is יְהוִה." In today's story, יְהוִה tells Abram what’s going to happen in the future that ultimately will involve Moses. But in my view, Abram and David were God’s all time favorites, not Moses at all. Moses and יְהוִה constantly irritated each other, and I don’t think יְהוִה even really liked Moses. Loved him yes, chesed and agápē, but Moses was reluctant and a whiner, and it’s not easy to like a whiner. I don’t know how יְהוִה could stand him.

But today’s old time Genesis 15 Sunday School story
 about יְהוִה and Abram and the two old friends enjoying and trusting each other, sealing covenant with bloody, gory chopped up animals, and vultures circling, and a smoking hot furnace and flaming torch. I love it, in the darkness, weird, scary, mysterious, one of my favorites. 


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