Archive for December, 2010


Genesis 30:1-3,9,15,22-23 Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.” Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” She said, “Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children”… When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife… But she said to her, “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes”… Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. So she conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.”

These are the names of the twelve children of Jacob – Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Dinah, Joseph. There were born to his wives Rachel and Leah and through their maids Bilhah and Zilpah.

In today’s chapter, we see the problem of polygamy because it creates jealousy and bitterness. The two wives of Jacob want to bear more children so that he would love them more and so that through them their children would carry Abraham’s great blessing.

Nowadays one or two kids is common or no kids is starting to become natural too. Twelve from 4 women sounds like a real responsibility and all caused because of the error of having two wives.

Where was God in Jacob’s life and what does He intend to teach us through this passage? (more…)


Genesis 29:22-23,25-28,30-35 Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast. Now in the evening he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her… So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?” But Laban said, “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn. “Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years.” Jacob did so and completed her week, and he gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife… So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years. Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.” Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.

Jacob finally reaches the land of Laban and has a chance meeting with Rachel, the beautiful younger daughter of Laban. In order to marry Rachel, he offers seven years of service to Laban and gets married.

Deception does not seem to go far from Jacob either in his own doing or as done to him. He is deceived by his uncle who gives Leah, Rachel’s older sister, in marriage to Jacob and he realizes only after he consummates the wedding.

However his uncle makes Jacob an offer to keep Leah as his wife, marry Rachel and serve another seven years. Jacob, so in love with Rachel, agrees and has two wives, one who is beautiful and one who has poor sight, both sisters and both his responsibility.

Unfortunately, Jacob’s love for Rachel makes him less considerate of Leah and she is left wanting. God intervenes and opens Leah’s womb so that she can have four sons while Rachel has none.

Why does God permit these strange situations and did He not promise to be with Jacob and bless him? (more…)


Genesis 28:1-4,18-22 So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. “Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham”… So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God. “This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

What a volte-face for Jacob in terms of Isaac’s response to him and what a dramatic change in destinies! As we continue to journey with Jacob now, we see a new man.

Isaac blesses Jacob fully with the covenant blessing that was given to Abraham, his father and himself too.

Obviously the previous blessing Isaac had given to him thinking he was Esau was not as wholesome because both he and Rebekah were concerned for how Esau chose to live his life, forgoing his birthright, marrying Canaanites and living a carnal and sinful life.

The condition to the blessing however was the new life Jacob had to pursue by going away to Rebekah’s brother’s home in Paddan-aram and finding his own bride. That’s a contrast from what occurred in Isaac’s betrothal where Abraham’s trusted servant brought Rebekah from Laban’s home to Beersheba.

How could Jacob make a conditional covenant with God based on God’s provision to him? (more…)


Genesis 27:1-4,15-17,27-29 Now it came about, when Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called his older son Esau and said to him, “My son.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” Isaac said, “Behold now, I am old and I do not know the day of my death. “Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die”… Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put the skins of the young goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. She also gave the savory food and the bread, which she had made, to her son Jacob… So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed; Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine; May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you.”

This is one of the Bible stories I wished dint exist. It seems to shake the core of our belief because Jesus Christ, the messiah of the world, was born in the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Makes one wonder why God would permit such people in his kingdom who make such a mockery of His holy name? Today’s chapter is a chapter of deception, revelation of the truth and blessings that went the wrong way.

The main characters are Isaac – the father, Esau – the son who deserved to be blessed by virtue of being born first, Jacob – the younger son who is also referred to as the deceiver and Rebekah – the mother who supported Jacob in deceiving Isaac.

In the context of a Holy God, what room is there for such deception and what is God speaking to us today? (more…)


Genesis 26:1-4,6-7,12-17 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. The LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham… So Isaac lived in Gerar. When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, “the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful”… Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth. Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.” And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there.

Today’s chapter has a lot more than just the few verses I’ve selected and I sometimes wonder if we should draw more from it but there will be a time for that in the future. After Abraham and Sarah’s journey, we are now journeying with Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob.

Amazing how true the statement is that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree! Isaac says to the Philistines the very same thing his father Abraham said to them that their wives were their sisters.

They were operating in fear instead of in faith and it is only by God’s grace that they were spared. We read later that Abimelech discovers the truth, is angry again, and prohibits anyone in the land from touching Rebekah.

Because Isaac does not go down to Egypt but stays in the land God promised to bless him in, he is now blessed with abundance of everything, so much so that Abimelech requests him to leave the land and Isaac then moves to the valley of Gerar and settles there.

As we read this passage, we can see the pain of lying, the fruit of obedience and the nature of God. What probably surprises us is why God permits suffering in our lives when we willingly follow Him? (more…)


Genesis 25:21-23,27-34 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger”… When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

This chapter tells us of the last years of Abraham’s life when he took another wife and had children with her and then decided to get right before God and gives Isaac his entire wealth and gives the children of his new wife, Keturah, gifts and sends them away.

Quite a let down from a righteous man such as Abraham but at his deathbed, both his sons Isaac and Ishmael are present together and they bury him in the same grave as his wife, Sarah. This is wonderful after years of animosity because of Abraham and Sarah’s poor choice in using Hagar as a surrogate mother.

Finally we read about Isaac and Rebekah’s twins who were born as an answer to prayer. Why do the people of God seem to have such tough situations in their lives compared to others one wonders?

Jacob, through whom was born the twelve sons who formed the twelve tribes of Israel, was not entitled to the birthright of being the one to lead Israel. He stole the birthright from his older brother Esau for a mere bowl of red lentil soup!

It is hard to imagine that Jesus, the son of God, was born of Abraham’s lineage which was full of broken men and women. All of these stories don’t show Jesus’ ancestry in good light and makes us wonder what God is speaking to us through it? (more…)


Genesis 24:2-4,6-9,12-14 Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “Please place your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac”… Then Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there! “The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there. “But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.” So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter… He said, “O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham. “Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water; now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’—may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master.”

The culture of the times of Abraham might seem so bizarre to us today but it was the culture of the land and we therefore need to appreciate it and understand what God is speaking to us through it.

Marriage was not just a relationship between a man and woman but between two families and there was much at play including establishing credentials, sharing wealth, rightful celebrations, etc.

The head servant of Abraham’s household was more like the estate manager who oversaw everything Abraham owned and he was the senior-most staff in any household, much like Daniel was to become.

The question I had was why did the head servant ask God to reveal the right woman because of watering the camels and him? (more…)