Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Today’s reading comes from Genesis 35-37 . Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read His Word. Also above in the tabs is a link to the Bible reading plan.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has shared condolences with my family after the recent passing of my uncle. During this time I was unable to write the daily Bible reading thoughts. I appreciate the understanding during my time away. Thank you.
What Does This Passage Say?
- In my time away we have missed a lot of material. So, let’s do a quick recap. Abraham and Sarah end up having a child, and as God announced they named him Isaac. When Isaac was around fourteen years old God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to Him. Perhaps confused, Abraham is obedient and did just as God asks … and right before he finishes the task, God provides a ram to replace Isaac. It is on the heels of this that Sarah passes away.
- Following these events, when Isaac is around forty years old Abraham sends ones of his servant back to his homeland to find a wife for Isaac. The servant is led by God right to Abraham’s own people where He selects a young girl named Rebekah for Isaac. The servant then takes Rebekah back to the promised land to marry Isaac. With this stage of life complete, Abraham passes away and is buried in the tomb next to his wife Sarah.
- Isaac and Rebekah end up having two twin boys. These twins are at odds with each other, even in the womb. The youngest one, Jacob is loved by his mother and the oldest is loved by his father. Out of weakness, Esau, the oldest, gives up his birthright to the youngest. Out of trickery, Jacob, the youngest, and his mother trick Isaac into blessing Jacob instead of Esau.
- With this trickery, Jacob is fearful that Esau will kill him so he flees … where he ends up at his uncle Laban’s house. It is here he falls in love and commits to working seven years for his uncle Laban’s youngest daughter, Rachel, hand in marriage. Again, trickery is at play. When the seven years are up, Laban’s oldest daughter Leah has not been married, so he tricks Jacob into marring her. Upset and still in love with Rachel, Jacob agrees to work another seven years for Laban for her hand in marriage. Now Jacob is married to two sisters, but to only one woman he actually loves.
- While living in his father-in-law/uncle’s house, Jacob’s two wives compete with each other for children … but struggling with infertility at times, with both giving their maidservants to Jacob as surrogates/wives. Through these four women, Jacob fathers twelve sons and one daughter. These twelve sons will go on to be the foundations for the twelve tribes of Israel.
- During this season of life, Jacob has bartered a deal with Laban that has made him wealthy, and he knows it is time to return to the promised land. There is just one problem … how will Esau greet him. God is obviously at work here, because not only has Esau forgiven Jacob, he welcomes him with open arms. The restoration of the family is complete.
- Now, in the middle of this return, as Jacob is preparing to meet up with his brother, Jacob has an odd encounter with a stranger … and angel of the Lord. This stranger wrestles with Jacob throughout the night and Jacob holds his own. Because of his wrestling with God, Jacob earns a new name … Israel, because he had struggled with God and man and overcome (Genesis 32:28).
- For the most part that catches us up, all be it for a few small stories.
- In our reading for today, God speaks to Jacob/Israel and gives him instructions for where to set up his home. This spot, Bethel, was the place where Jacob meet God and his flight away from Esau and where he wrestled with God on his return to the Promised Land. It was here at Bethel that God established His covenant through Israel like He had done with Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. Because of what happened, Jacob worshiped God here.
- The rest of chapter thirty-five and all of thirty-six serve as a transition for us. They reveal to us the deaths of Rachel and Issacs as well as the family trees of Jacob and Esau. While this is a lot of names, there is a lot of valuable meat in these names. There may be times later in our reading that a group will pop up … such as the Edomite’s … and you can know they are the descendants of Esau. Let me challenge you to not just glaze over reading these names.
- Now in chapter thirty-seven we are introduced to one of the youngest sons of Jacob, the oldest son of Rachel, and the son that Jacob really loved. The remainder of Genesis revolves around Joseph’s story. Joseph is well loved by his father and all his older brothers know it. They are jealous of the special treatment he gets … plus he doesn’t help family relations much. You see, he has dreams and these dreams depict his brothers bowing down to him and honoring him. This upsets his brothers. So, one day, while they are out tending to their father’s sheep, Joseph shows up with some food and they decide to take action against him. Instead of killing him, they sell him to some Ishmaelite’s (remember the genealogy listing we just spoke about, this name should strike a chord, these are cousins, they are the descendants of their great-grandfather Abraham, through his son Ishmael). These Ishmaelite’s in return sell Joseph into slavery in Egypt. At the end of the day, Jacob believes Joseph is dead … something he mourns greatly over.