O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Family feuds are terrible things. When one brother won’t talk to the other and it goes on for years and years, it’s a tragedy.

And when you’re one of those brothers it’s even worse.

Imagine your dad had two sons, you and your brother. And all your lives it’s been a given that your older brother, not you, will be the one coming into most of the inheritance. That’s just the way things are. And you … well, you’re okay with that of course. Sort of.

What would you be feeling then if big brother walked out one day? For whatever reason, he just turned his back on Dad and the whole family and headed out, wanting nothing to do with any of you. How would you feel?

Tell the truth. Would you be mourning along with your father? Or recalculating the value of your inheritance instead? (“Let’s see, 100% of the whole estate equals … WOW!”)

History tells us how it happened. G_d made a covenant with His older son Israel (1), then brought the rest of us into His family after that fact (2). And He didn’t just adopt us as sons and daughters — He went all out, even changing His will so we would share the inheritance with Israel.

Something went very wrong though. Apparently with so many non-Jewish adopted children in the family, we just sort of out-numbered, overruled and even drove away our older brother. And, truth be told, there was major attitude on this brother’s part too, just like in the illustration above. Unfortunately, the record shows that “Christians” were often anything but in the way they judged, condemned and mistreated Jewish people. And for those crimes G_d will hold them accountable.

But the story doesn’t stop there. Like I said, G_d made a covenant with His oldest son. And His word is good. Whether or not that son kept his part of the deal is irrelevant since the L_rd solemnly vowed to be faithful; unfaithfulness is impossible for Him, after all.

Here’s what he said:

I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail … If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands … I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. Once for all, I have sworn … and I will not lie … (3)

Which means the L_rd has no plans to abandon Israel.

And we have a family reunion to look forward to.

(1) I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:2,3)

(2) If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. (Romans 11:17-18, New Testament)

(3) Psalm 89:28-35

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