Podcast – Genesis 31

Hello again, and happy Tuesday.  Today we’re in a bit of a long chapter, and my voice isn’t cooperating, so please excuse me for the water and coughing breaks.

In chapter 31 things sour between Laban and Jacob.  Jacob has worked for Laban for 20 years, and in that time God has made sure to insulate Jacob from the effects of Laban’s attempts to take advantage of him.  Jacob isn’t exactly entirely saintly either, as we read in the last chapter that he had a scheme to try to influence the breeding of the flocks for his own benefit, but he hasn’t stolen from Laban or been lazy in his work.  However, Jacob and his whole family is upset with Laban’s treatment of them, and God has also called Jacob out on his promise to worship Him if He took care of Jacob, so it’s time for Jacob to go back to Isaac’s house.  Things don’t exactly go according to plan for Jacob when he tries to leave, and he has to contend with Laban again before he can get away.

What about you?  Is there someone in your life who is trying to cheat you the way Laban tried to cheat Jacob?  God might not deal with it the same way He did in Jacob’s case, but don’t think for a moment that God doesn’t see what’s going on.  You may be in that circumstance for 20 years, like Jacob was, or maybe not, but when the time is right God will make a change and will get you out.  Jacob wanted God to keep him out of any bad circumstances, but instead what God did was to get him through bad circumstances, and in the end Jacob was blessed for it.  Trust God.  He won’t let you down.

Podcast – Genesis 30

Okay, so yesterday I said to check back in for this episode because things were going to go crazy for Jacob, and that is exactly what happens in this chapter.  Jacob’s time with Laban’s family is filled with drama.  His wives are filled with drama, his work is filled with drama, and at the center of it is the way everyone in his world is trying to get what they want at the cost of everyone else!  It’s a crazy story that is fit for a soap opera, so if there any TV producers out there looking for ideas, they could do a lot worse than basing their story on this section of Genesis.

Yet at the same time, God is still in the background, though He seems to be largely ignored.  God has promised to bless Jacob, and He is fulfilling that promise.  Does this mean He’s blessing Jacob’s dishonesty?  I don’t think so.  Jacob is a sinner, just like everyone else.  Apart from God, Jacob can do nothing that is worthy of blessing.  Yet God blesses everyone in some ways, even though everyone is sinful, and Jacob is no different.  So what gives?  Well, God doesn’t bless people because they deserve it.  God blesses people because He loves them even when they don’t love Him.  Remember this: If God loves and blesses those people who hate Him, will He then abandon those of us who call Him our God and who love Him back?  Of course not!  So even when we’re living in crazy circumstances, like Jacob, and even when we’re forgetting God, like Jacob, God is still faithful.  That might mean that God is going to have to do some things we won’t like, like what Jacob is going to experience, but if it’s what’s best for us, God is faithful to see it done.

Podcast – Genesis 29

Good morning again!  It’s Wednesday, and we’re going through Genesis 29 and reading the story of how Jacob marries his two wives.  It involves Laban, who is a tricky customer, and who will go on to try to manipulate Jacob’s life even more in the coming chapters.  By the end of chapter 29, though, Jacob has married his sweetheart, Rachel, and also his sweetheart’s sister, Leah.  I bet that was awkward.  I also can’t help but think that Leah got the short end of the stick here, but the Lord gives her four children with Jacob, and we will read later some verses that suggest that Jacob grew to love Leah very much, so her story comes out alright in the end.

Don’t forget to tune in to tomorrow’s episode!  Chapter 30 will contain the almost ridiculous story of domestic competition between Rachel and Leah for bearing children, so it out to be a lot of fun to read. See you all tomorrow!

Podcast – Genesis 28

Welcome back again!  It’s a new week, and coincidentally we’re getting into a new phase in Jacob’s life in Genesis 28.  We’re starting the part of the Bible where Jacob learns to be faithful, and eventually he will have his name changed to reflect his relationship with God.  At this point though, Jacob is still a bargainer, and God doesn’t really play that game.  So now we’re seeing Jacob bargain with God, but later we’ll see Jacob dealing with God as his Lord on the basis of faith. We have to know where Jacob starts from, though, or else it’s harder to appreciate where he ends up in the end.

What about you?  Are you a bargainer?  Do you set conditions for God which He must meet in order for you to worship Him?  I don’t mean to be contrary, but I think you might find that God has other plans.  The thing is though, that even though God doesn’t agree to meet our demands, what He does do is promise that He will always love us and always be faithful to us.  God will always do what’s best for us, and that means sometimes we won’t agree with Him.  That seems like a scary arrangement sometimes, but I think that’s only because we’re working under faith and we don’t see God as He is.  If we did, we would realize that there could be no safer place in the world than to be inside the will of God.

Podcast – Genesis 27

Hello again and happy Thursday!  It’s almost the weekend, so that’s something to be happy about for sure.  In this chapter, we’re covering a famous episode in the history of Isaac and Jacob.  It’s a sordid tale of lies and deception and it threatens to end in murder, though we know that it never comes to that in the end.  What’s interesting to me about this passage is that God predicted when Jacob and Esau were born that Jacob, the younger brother, would rule over the older brother, and that’s exactly what happened when Jacob received the blessing of Isaac.  Does that mean that Rebekah and Jacob were doing God’s work and that God approved of their lies?  I don’t think so.  I think God was just acknowledging that He knew how things would turn out with them, and I think that God would have chosen Jacob anyway.  Why?  Because Jacob is concerned with spiritual things.  We will see it come out in his character more as we read about him, but even at this point in the story Jacob is more concerned with God that Esau was.  Jacob isn’t perfect at all.  In fact, he’s a liar.  But God is looking for faith, not perfection, and faith is something Jacob has and Esau does not.

That’s all for me today.  Comment on this passage here or on Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast either on this page or on the iTunes store.  Have a good weekend!

Podcast – Genesis 26

Hello again!  It’s Veteran’s Day today, and I hope everyone out there has found a way to celebrate it well.

This morning we covered Genesis 26, which is actually a pretty full chapter.  There are a lot of things going on here and a lot of movement in Isaac’s life as he deals with famine and wealth and adversity and treaties and marriages.  The main big theme, though, is that the Lord had promised to take care of Isaac, and that’s exactly what the Lord did.  It didn’t mean that the Lord shielded Isaac from adversity.  In fact, it seems like the Lord used adversity in Isaac’s life to accomplish particular goals.

Did you know that the Lord has promised to take care of you too?  The Lord loved the whole world enough to send Jesus to die for it even though the world rejected Him, and that means you too.  What’s more, if you have accepted Christ, you have become a member of the family of God.  It’s true!  Read Romans and check it out for yourself.  If God loved you enough to die for you while you were still His enemy, how much more do you think He watches out for you now that you’re part of the family? Yes, we still have adversity.  The Lord uses it for specific reasons to get things done with us that need to be done, but it’s not our destiny.  If you get nothing else out of the podcast today, at least remember that.

Podcast – Genesis 25

Welcome back, Internet friends!  This morning I’m reading in Genesis 25 about the transition between the story of Abraham to the story if Isaac and his family.  There are a few interesting pieces of information here about the way Abraham finished his walk with God, and then the story shifts to his kids.  I think the way that Isaac and Ishmael were able to reconcile with each other to bury their dad is a nice moment.  They hadn’t gotten along earlier in life, but they can lay that aside for the sake of their family.

And speaking of family, this chapter also deals a bit with the root of the dysfunction in Isaac’s family about the treatment of their kids.  Jacob and Esau are going to have a rough time with each other for a while!  This brings up one of the great things about the Bible that I really appreciate, which is that the Bible doesn’t whitewash the characters and pretend that everyone is perfect. The Bible doesn’t hold back the fact that Abraham had concubines, and that Isaac and Rebekah didn’t treat their kids equally, and that Jacob and Esau could be really awful sometimes.  We need to know things like this, because we need to be able to relate to real people who were saved by God for their faith, not for their perfect lives.

That’s all for me this morning.  Check back tomorrow for another episode, and don’t forget to look me up on the iTunes store if that’s how you manage your podcasts.

Podcast – Genesis 24

Welcome back!   This morning we’re covering the chapter where Abraham sends his servant out to find a bride for his son Isaac.  Abraham is adamant that the girl come from his extended family, since he knows they are worshippers of God, and that his son stay in Canaan, since that is where God wanted the to be.  As it happens, everything works out for the servant, and he find exactly who he’s looking for in Rebekah, and he makes his way back to bring her to Isaac.

An interesting thing about this chapter that I didn’t get into in the recording is that it is also in a way talking about the church being the bride of Christ.  Just as Isaac is the son of the promise made to Abraham, Jesus is the son of God promised to the world to take away sin.  Just as Rebekah is pure and chaste, the church is purified by the blood of Christ and cleansed from sin.  Just as the servant gives Rebekah gifts to prove his good intentions, God gives us the Holy Spirit to prove His own intentions to one day bring the church into heaven.  There are certainly a lot of connections to be made.

So long for now.  I’ll have another episode up next Tuesday.  Please leave you comments here on this site and let me know what you think about the podcast or about the things going on in Genesis.  See you all again next week!

Podcast – Genesis 23

Well, today we’re covering a sad chapter in Abraham’s life.  His wife, Sarah, dies in this passage, and Abraham goes to bury her.  He arranges to buy a field with a grave, and that grave will later become the burial place for a number of Hebrew patriarchs.  I think the way the people who live with Abraham respond to his tragedy is really cool.  They all came out to support him, even though he wasn’t a part of their culture.  I think that says a lot about the way Abraham lived with his neighbors and the way we ought to live with our own.  Abraham was always seeking to resolve conflict, even when it meant that he would seem to loose something.  Is that how you live?  It’s something for us all to think about if living as a good representation of Christ is important to us.

Today’s post is a bit short, but there isn’t quite enough time for another chapter, so we’ll live with it.  Comment below about anything that stuck out in your mind in this chapter, and we’ll talk about it.

Podcast – Genesis 22

Happy Tuesday and welcome back.  For the first recording of the week we get to jump into Genesis 22, which is a really cool chapter.  That’s sort of a weird thing to say about an episode in someone’s life when they intend to sacrifice their own son, but there’s something going on in between the lines of the text that points over and over again to Christ that makes this a really interesting chapter.  Plus, spoiler, Isaac lives.

As I said, this chapter points to Christ in many ways.  It’s important to remember that really the whole Old Testament points to Christ in general.  Sure, there are things that aren’t specifically prophetic in the Old Testament, but the big undercurrent of the scriptures is about Christ.  He’s the thing that the whole collection of literature in the Old Testament is leading up to and anticipating.  Why is this important?  I think it’s important because if we want to understand what the Bible says about Jesus, there’s a lot more to the story than just the Gospels!  If Christ is woven all through the pages of the entire Bible, then the entire Bible is what we ought to be studying if we want to know Christ.

That’s it for me this morning. Leave some comments and thoughts wherever you find this podcast so we can talk about the Bible together.

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