Hi, all. This morning’s podcast is a short one, but I really wanted to save the introduction of Joseph for its own recording, because that’s a pretty big event. So, what we have here today is a genealogical list of chiefs and kings descended from Jacob’s brother Esau. This is a historical record of the beginning of the nation of Edom in ancient times, and I’m going to go out on a limb to say that sooner or later this historical record will prove to be supported by archaeological research.
This brings up something important to remember. While it is true that most of what was written in the Bible wasn’t intended to be used as a history book, they are nonetheless historical accounts of past events and not on the same level as fairy tales. The Bible professes to record real events, just like any other historical document, and it should be studied the same way we would treat any other historical record, and not lumped in with mythological texts. Little by little, archaeological work is providing more and more support for the historicity of the Bible, and that’s something that doesn’t happen with myths and legends.
Welcome back for another episode! Today we’re in Genesis 35, which goes by fairly quickly, but it is still pretty interesting to me. What I can relate to in this chapter is the way that God shows that He doesn’t call people based on how good they are, but based on faith. Jacob screwed stuff up, but God knew that would happen and deals with him anyway. Jacob follows God by faith, just as Abraham did, and God counts that as righteousness.
Another thing that is relatable in this chapter is that sometimes God asks us as well to get rid of the things in our lives that are hurting our relationship with Him. Jacob and his family had to get rid of the gods and talismans that they had collected while they lived with pagan peoples, and they were better for it.
This chapter also reminds me that the Bible doesn’t whitewash the faults of the people in it. Rueben did a bad thing by sleeping with his father’s concubine, and Jacob shouldn’t have been keeping concubines at all! But the Bible doesn’t try to hide these facts. These people were sinners saved by grace, just like we are today.
Good morning again! Today is another two chapter day. In Genesis 33 we talk about the meeting of Esau and Isaac after twenty years and how that goes nothing like what Jacob had imagined. It turns out that 20 years had mellowed Esau’s personality as well, and he was willing to forget his grudges. It’s a sad thing to me that after their meeting, Jacob never went to see him.
In Genesis 34, we read a pretty weird story. There’s rape and murder and deception going on, and it really shows that Jacob’s family wasn’t all a bunch of saints. They weren’t blessed by God because they were such good people, but because God wanted to do something through them that would change the world. He picked them because he had made a promise that Abraham’s descendants would become a nation, and He was going to follow through on that no matter what. At the time, they all thought it was about the bloodline going back to Abraham and the promise, but later it was revealed that the promise to Abraham was all about faith, and that’s the foundation for salvation by faith that all Christians enjoy today.
So, by faith God saves people, even when they have been bad people. By faith God calls them and then He changes them, and He makes something new out of them. Does that sound like you? Remember, your relationship with God is a matter of faith. When we do things that are wrong, that hurts us and it hurts others, but God doesn’t cut us loose. Instead He changes us into something we could never have hoped to become apart from Him.
Hello again! I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday. I certainly did, though it did use up my podcasting time. I guess I’ll have to plan better next year.
So in today’s chapter, there is some thanksgiving happening with Jacob, but it’s mixed with some terror and apprehension. Jacob is on his way back to his father’s house, but he has to deal with his murderous brother before he gets there. So, Jacob is both thankful to God for all the ways he has been blessed, as well as terrified of what’s going to happen to him when he meets the brother that he cheated. Unsurprisingly, Jacob wrestles with God about these issues, but in his case he literally wrestles with God.
What about you? Do you wrestle with God? It’s perfectly okay to have issues that you can’t understand and to go to God with honest worries. Sometimes God meets our needs in unexpected ways, but God is the definition of faithful. That’s something we can remember the next time something keeps us up all night.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!