When the ever-unfolding drama of the last chapters of Genesis comes to a climax, Joseph has drawn his father and entire family down to Egypt to weather the remainder of the famine. This wasn’t exactly what Jacob had in mind after all the years he spent in Padan Aram with Laban, building his family. But, this seems to be the story of the Jewish people. Exile upon exile has befallen us since our departure from the Garden of Eden.
It is astonishing how Rav Shaul sees the messianic community as a body with the Ruach completely active and accessible. He calls us all to live in that Ruach. To the Galatians, he says the following:
Humility and timidity are not the same. Thankfully, it is more-or-less common knowledge now that humility is not about thinking poorly of oneself. Humility is often described in terms of awareness of one’s short-comings, and willingness to learn and grow from the influence and wisdom of others. In terms of a life worthy of the Kingdom, Rav Shaul gives an astonishing exhortation on humility in his letter to the Romans:
This story is, without a doubt, a pearl to me - in fact, I would consider it a suitable bedtime story for (in the distant future) grandchildren of mine. Filled with action and a fantastic ending, this account speaks volumes to us in the realm of decision. Here we have the Sages, the brilliant minds of Israel, having a delightful halachic dispute over the purity status of an oven of a man named Achnai. Indeed, of all the minds, history states that R. Eliezer is said to have been the brightest. Truly, even in this story, it appears that Hashem agrees with R. Eliezer in his decision. But the rest of the Sages do not concur. No way.
For Rav Shaul, “order” was a communal necessity. The gifted congregation in Corinth was instructed to conduct their meetings orderly (1 Cor 14:40). There is a very short phrase in Rav Shaul’s discourse on this matter that deserves particular intention:
“God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” (1 Cor 14:33, NIV)