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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Two Men, A Breed Apart

Ok, I know, I'm behind on the postings.  Lemme get up to date with a double portion.

NOAH.

Riiiiiight!  Not part of the post, just a shout out to all the Cosby fans.

The eggheads like to say, Noah was the only righteous man of his time, but he might not have been for our time.  So?  Who can tell what's "righteous" in our time anyway?  And why should it matter?  It's clear that he was a heck of a lot MORE righteous than the rest of those boneheads.  Why second guess his possible failings when everyone else around him was an @$$#ole?

But how do YOU know what an @$$#ole was?  How can YOU judge?  

Leave.  Just leave.  Thank you.

Whether he was a saint or not, he got the word that bad was coming his way, and he received, via Divine Download, detailed instructions to protect himself from it.  Even if he did show some skepticism, as the Cos implied, he'd be better off than the rest of those foolios!  He understood that while the rest of the world was content to keep screwing around, refusing to believe that consequences would result, he WAS aware that the consequences WOULD result, and began making preparations for them.  That means he was aware of the world around him, that he knew he could make a difference, and that nothing that the @$$#oles said to him would shake his resolve.  

Question whether he was "righteous?"  Sell it somewhere else!

And another thing.  After he survived in the ark with his family and all of those animals (one can only imagine the smell), G-D agreed never to curse the earth or wipe out humanity again.  Thing is, He never said He'd prevent humanity from doing that job itself.  Not to point out the obvious, but that's been happening for quite some time.

Think they all don't get it?  Build your own ark.  Protect yourself.  Be proud of what you know and how you use it.  And not to be corny, but he finished building that thing before it started raining - try not to last-minute it. 

ABRAHAM

A mover and a shaker for real!  THIS is a model of a man's life to emulate right here!  

Takes everything he knows and owns to settle in a foreign land that gets struck with a famine.  And then goes to Egypt, tells everyone his wife is really his sister so they don't kill him, makes deal after deal to become wealthy, and still manages to get out of Dodge with his wife and his honor.  This almost results in a feud with his nephew, who came along for the ride, but he just suggests that they divide and conquer to prevent a family dust up.

Just to show no hard feelings, he rescues the aforesaid boneheaded nephew from captivity when war breaks out between feudal warlords.  But still worried about his destiny, having no children, G-D reveals to him twice, once referring to the dust of the earth, and once referring to the stars in heaven, that his descendants will number in the millions, so he shouldn't be afraid.  And they'd all inherit the land once known as Canaan, per His covenant.

So few of us start on lifelong quests to be someone extraordinary.  We get stifled, we get swamped, we get silenced, and we get stuck.  We are taught a set of "nice" behaviors that make us more pleasant to be around, but also make us vulnerable.  This man, on the other hand, was a trail blazer.  He wasn't afraid to BS a pharaoh if it meant saving his life & reclaiming his wife.  He wasn't afraid to tell his relative that he needed to take his argumentative ways to Sodom, Gomorrah, Vegas, or anywhere else because he'd ruin the quest otherwise.  And he was still compassionate enough to bust him out when he was in real trouble.  He was sharp, he was brave, and he was selfless, gentlemen.  Now that's class.

Aaaaaand then there's the rest of the story.

Still no kids with his wife?  Sarah tells him to take a concubine, Hagar, get her pregnant, and we'll just adopt her baby.  So chaos began.  Hagar copped an attitude with Sarah, Abraham let Sarah get nasty with her, and G-D promised Hagar that she'll bear a son whose descendants will get nastier with later Hebrew generations.  

In spite of this mess, G-D declares Abraham and Sarah the parents of a great nation, tells them they will have a son, and that his covenant will be through this baby, and NOT with the concubine's baby.

Now what's going on here?  Sarah told Abraham to just get a concubine pregnant, which was apparently a bad idea.  And it turns out she actually was able to conceive after all - who knew?  For all of his strengths, not unlike Adam, he allowed his wife to dictate major life-altering decisions to him without questioning what consequences might arise.  G-D just got finished telling him his line would be as numerous as the stars.  Couldn't he have hipped Sarah to that revelation?  Couldn't they have just waited a little longer?  Did they really need more drama that badly?  We'll never know.  Suffice it to say, he had no grounds to question G-D, but he had ample grounds to question Sarah, and failed to do so.  It's a shame he had a brain fart on that one.

Still, even though the baby he would have with Sarah would get the covenant, the baby he had with Hagar didn't stop being his son.  That covenant stated that Abraham and his male descendants, as well as those who are hired help in the household, will be circumcised.  So Abraham and Ishmael had that taken care of the same day when Ishmael was 13 years old.  Not exactly a father-son fishing trip, but it still illustrates that he passed on some understanding of the family lineage despite the unfortunate circumstances of his conception.  

So, Friends and Neighbors, we have two men who stood apart.  One, because he thought differently, and more resourcefully, than others, and was able to save mankind as a result.  Another, because he was not afraid of challenges ahead, accepted his role as the patriarch of at least one great nation, and still made the most of a flawed decision.

Who would you rather be?  I'd like a little of both, to be honest.  Part Noah, because he was a step ahead of the competition, and part Abraham, because he started something big from the beginning.  It's just a lot more difficult being Noah because it feels lonely when you're right and everyone else is wrong.  And it's even more difficult to be Abraham and be stuck with consequences despite the best of intentions.

But gentlemen, nobody's perfect.  Learn from their strong points, avoid the mistakes they made, and a much better life awaits you.

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.