Wednesday, July 27, 2011

~ "The fiddler on the roof..."

Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah. (Gen 26:35)

On Sundays, I do's my sabbath. I attend church, come home (occasionally have kids wandering in the front door for dinner), feed the dogs, and write this post. That is all I do. I have listened to my Father's command and set aside one day of rest and honor to Him. I do not answer the phone, I do not transact business, I do not read email. This past Sunday I watched "Fiddler on the Roof". For those of you born at the tail end of the 20th century (or even this one), you may not have ever heard of the musical and have no idea what I'm talking about. It is set in Russia in 1905 and centers on a small, Jewish community, and one family - Tevye and his five daughters. He attempts to maintain his Jewish tradition while outside influences (the Tzar) threaten that way of life.

Esau, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, also threatened that which was handed down by God to the Israelites. This sickened Rebekah. Esau not only married on Hittite, he married two of them! He took them without asking, without talking and with out the blessing of his parents (something unheard of in those days). Matthew Henry tells us "It should seem, the wives he married were provoking in their conduct towards Isaac and Rebekah; those children have little reason to expect the blessing of God who do that which is a grief of mind to their good parents." What you need to remember here is that unlike those of us born in the 20th or 21st century - they fell under the law, not under grace. Their lives were much harder in some areas, yet simpler in others. To venture outside the law was an unforgivable violation. Esau, when faced with important decisions, tended to choose according to the immediate need (instant gratification) rather than the long-range effect.

Even though God allows certain events in our lives to accomplish His overall purposes, we are still responsible for our actions. All the consequences of our acts are important to consider. It is possible to have great anger and not sin. It is possible to have great hurt and not seek revenge. It is possible to be in great distress and not walk away from God. Sometimes common sense isn't all that "common". Esau's choices in life, no doubt were choices he must have regretted bitterly. I doubt he was the type of person who considered the consequences of his actions, reacting to meet the needs of the present without taking into consideration what he was giving up to meet those needs.

We are all, in some aspects, a "fiddler on the roof". He represents the part of each of us that continues to worship and honor God, to imitate Christ and to call upon the Holy Spirit for strength. He is the part of us "trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck (Tevye)". Do not lose your balance. Remember to keep all things in perspective and do everything to the glory and honor of God. Allow Jesus to be your compass and follow that path laid before you. Let the Holy Spirit surround you with strength to go where you are sent and do what it is you are asked to do, whether you understand it or not - allow your faith to grow deeper each day and you will not be a "grief" in God's eyes!