January 11, 2016

Genesis - 27-29 -

When Isaac had become an old man and was nearly blind, he called Esau and asked him to provide him with a meal and then receive his final blessing...Rebekah was eavesdropping as Isaac was speaking with Esau and as soon as he departed, she spoke to Jacob & gave him directions on what to do in order to receive the blessing instead.  Jacob initially resisted given the hairiness of his brother & concern that, if caught, he would be cursed instead of blessed.  Rebekah assured him that if he was caught, she would take the curse on herself and told him to “now just do what I say”....Isaac was wary of what was going on and questioned Jacob re how quickly he accomplished his task and the voice being that of Jacob, not Esau so he continued to ask for confirmation though eventually provided the blessing.  Shortly after, Esau showed up with his meal and when informed, Isaac started to tremble, shaking violently...

Esau, after being told what happened, sobbed violently and most bitterly and cried to his father, “Can’t you also bless me?”  Isaac informed Esau that the blessing made Jacob his master and all his brothers his servants...Esau seethed in anger against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him; he brooded, “The time for mourning my father’s death is close.  And then I’ll kill my brother Jacob.”  When these words were reported to Rebekah, she told Jacob to run for his life to Haran, to her brother Laban, and live with him until Esau’s cooled down.  Rebekah also went to Isaac and informed him that she was sending Jacob back to Haran since she was sick of the Hittite women in the area and didn’t want Jacob to marry one live Esau had.  So Isaac blessed Jacob again, asking God to bless him and give him many children to help pass on the blessing of Abraham to him and his descendants.  Esau learned that Isaac had blesse Jacob and sent him back to Rebekah & Abraham’s homeland to get a wife.  When Esau realized how deeply Isaac disliked Canaanite women, he went to Ismael and married Ismael’s daughter, Mihalath.

Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran.  On his way, he had a dream in which God reaffirmed his covenant with Abraham and Isaac along with the promise that Jacob’s descendants “will be as the dust of the Earth...yes, I will stay with you and protect you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this very ground...Jacob woke up from his sleep.  He said, “God is in this place--truly.  And I didn’t even know it!”  He was terrified.  He whispered in awe, “Incredible.  Wonderful.  Holy!  This is God’s house.  This is the Gate of Heaven.”  He christened this place “Bethel”... Jacob vowed a vow: “If God stands by me and protects me on this journey on which I am setting out....This God will be my God....and everything you give me, I’ll return a tenth to you.”

Jacob then set out again on his way to the people of the east.  He noticed a well out in an open field with 3 flocks of sheep bedded down around it...  Jacob said, “Hello friends, Where are you from?”  After hearing they were from Haran, he inquired if they knew Laban and how he was doing.  “Very well,” they replied, “ and here is his daughter Rachel coming with the flock.” ...While Jacob was in conversation with them, Rachel came up with her father’s sheep.  She was the shepherd.  The moment that Jacob spotted Rachel, he went and single-handedly rolled the stone from the mouth of the well (which generally took several people to do so) before watering the sheep of his Uncle Laban.  Then he kissed Rachel and broke into tears.  He told Rachel that he was related to her father, that he was Rebekah’s son.  She ran and told her father.  When Laban heard the news, he rant out to meet him, embraced and kissed him and brought him home.  Jacob told the story of everything that had happened....

When Jacob had been with him for a month, Laban said, “Just because you’re my nephew, you shouldn’t work for me for nothing.  Tell me what you want to be paid.  What is a fair wage?”  Now Laban had 2 daughters...Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was stunningly beautiful.  And it was Rachel that Jacob loved.  So Jacob answered, “I’ll work for you 7 years for your younger daughter Rachel...So Jacob worked 7 years for Rachel.  But it only seemed like a few days, he loved her so much...At the end of the 7 years, Laban invited everyone and threw a feast.  At evening, he got his daughter Leah and brought her to the marriage bed, and Jacob slept with her...Jacob confronted Laban...”Why did you cheat me?”  “We don’t do it that way in our country, “ Laban said, “We don’t marry off the youngest before the older.  Enjoy your week of honeymoon, and then we’ll give you the other one also.  But it will cost you another 7 years of work.  Jacob agreed.  When he completed the honeymoon week, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife...Jacob then slept with her.  And he loved Rachel more than Leah.  He worked for Laban another 7 years.

When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb.  But Rachel was barren.  Leah became pregnant and had a son.  She named him Reuben (Look-It’s a Boy!)  “This is a sign,” she said, “that God has seen my misery and a sign that now my husband will love me.”  She became pregnant again and had another son.  “God heard, “ she said, “that I was unloved and so he game me this son also.”  She named him Simeon (God Heard).  She became pregnant yet again -- another son.  She said, “Now maybe my husband will connect with me --I’ve given him three sons!”  That’s why she named him Levi (Connect).  She became pregnant a final time and had a fourth son.  Leah said, “This time I’ll praise God.”  So she named him Judah (Praise God).  Then she stopped having children.
 
John 7:25 - 7:53
That’s when some of the people of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this the one they were out to kill?  And here he is out in the open, saying what ever he pleases, and no one is stopping him.  Could it be that the rulers know that he is, in fact, the Messiah?  And yet, we know where this man came from....That provoked Jesus, who was teaching in the Temple, to cry out, “Yes, you think you know me and where I am from, but that’s not where I’m from...My true origin is in the One who sent me, and you don’t know him at all.  I come from him--that’s how I know him.  He sent me here.”  They were looking for some way to arrest him, but not a hand was laid upon him because it wasn’t God’s time yet.  Many from the crowd committed themselves in faith to him saying, Will the Messiah, when he comes, provide better or more convincing evidence than this?  The Pharisees, alarmed at this seditious undertow going through the crowd, teamed up with the high priests and sent their police to arrest him.  Jesus rebuffed them:  “I am with you only a short time.  Then I go to the One who sent me.  You will look for me, but you won’t find me.  Where I am, you can’t come. “

On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand.  He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone, who believes in me this way, just as the Scriptures say.” (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive.  The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)...So there was a split in the crowd over who Jesus was.  Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him...Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee spoke up.  “Does our Law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?”  But the other Pharisees cut him off.  “Are you also campaigning for the Galilean?  Examine the evidence.  See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee.”  Then they all went home.