Dinah–A picture of the world culture Genesis 34

The world sees us as property to be used or commodities to be traded.  God sees us as his kids, he loves us and spares nothing for us.  When we as his children interact with the world, we are often used and abused without a second thought.  Jacob’s daughter was raped, but her attacker, thinking nothing about it offers to buy her and to build a family relationship from the attack—“I love her,  let’s intermarry.”  As ridiculous as that seems, that is how the world thinks and responds even today.

That is why God calls us to be different.  We are to be in the world—not of or like the world.  We do not use, abuse and then “Make the best of it.”  We submit, follow and live lives that are selfless and giving and allow God to work through us.  We do our best to stay separate from the world’s culture and set the standard of love, and integrity.  It is an hourly choice.  We must not be deceived—Not only do we become selfish, but, we also become ensnared.  Help me Lord to remain in the world but not of it.

God Bless You

Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. 3 His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.”  When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.

6 Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. 7 Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done. 8 But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. 9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it. ”

Give Your Bro a Hug–Genesis 33

What a different experience—Jacob left a man hated by his brother, He returned and was embraced.  So many times we set up in our minds the way we think life should be—only to find the actual plan is different.  God gives us the ability to think and reason.  We are to be careful and cognizant as we proceed in the journey.  But, we do need to allow for God to be God in our lives and prepare for his hand to change the mix.  Jacob received a completely different welcome home than what he had expected.  While we are stepping out in faith, we too need to watch for God’s hand and his direction.  Who knows we may receive a hug from an  enemy or a welcome from a stranger.  Proverbs 3:5-6 say it best, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and HE will make your paths straight,”

God Bless You

4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. 5 Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. “Who are these with you?” he asked.  Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant. ”6 Then the female servants and their children approached and bowed down. 7 Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down.

8 Esau asked, “What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?” “To find favor in your eyes, my lord,” he said. 9 But Esau said, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.”  10 “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it.

To Face God–and Live Genesis 32

It is a rare thing to be able to wrestle with God and survive.  Jacob had spent a lifetime following God but wrestling along the way.  He helped God out every chance he could.  So as he returned to Canaan, to meet his brother, he knew that he had run out of options.  He sent gifts, moved his family and in the night-alone, he wrestled one last time.  In that match, God changed him—he changed his name from deceiver-to-Chosen one, he crippled him so he could no longer run, and he blessed him by allowing him to face God and live.

We have to come to a point in our lives where we face God, stop running and alone with him submit.  When we submit, he will begin to shape us and conform us into his image, his chosen children. We no longer control the plan; but, we rest in him and enjoy his execution.  Then we can agree that he is God and we are not—we can smile knowing we have seen him and been allowed to live.  We simply, in the quiet of our dey bow our head and submit to his leadership.  Thanks Lord, for you are the leader.

God Bless You

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

Enough is Enough Genesis 31 final

Enough is enough!  Jacob Called Laban for the on the threat.  After all the devotion and all the work Jacob was thanked by being pursued as a criminal.  God had protected him, prospered him and now was bringing him home.  Laban while unhappy had to allow the inevitable.  When God sets his plan, we cannot stop it.  So it is in our lives.  No matter the difficulty, the journey is ours to take and no one will stop God from leading us where we need to be.  We simply have to accept that he knows what is best for us.  We have to follow graciously and wait expectantly for him to provide and protect.  Help me Lord to follow you graciously.

God Bless you

36 Jacob was angry and took Laban to task. “What is my crime?” he asked Laban. “How have I wronged you that you hunt me down? 37 Now that you have searched through all my goods, what have you found that belongs to your household? Put it here in front of your relatives and mine, and let them judge between the two of us.

38 “I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. 39 I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. 40 This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41 It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you. ”

43 Laban answered Jacob, “The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.”

Why did they run? Genesis 31 part 2

Why did they run?  Well they were simply afraid.  Jacob was fearful that he would lose his family and accumulated wealth.  Rachel took her father’s idols because she was afraid that they would lose their family continuity.  Laban was afraid—he would lose whatever blessing he had enjoyed the last 20 years.  Amazingly God intervened and warned Laban not to intervene and to be very careful about his treatment of Jacob.  If we wonder if God is interested in the plan, he showed it once again in Jacob’s Life. 

He will show it in our lives as well.  Although we do not always enjoy the path we are on, we can never doubt the path is covered and protected by our father.  We have to fall on our face and surrender to his leadership.  But as we do we can trust he will be there for us.  We need no other idols, not wealth, not security not position; we only need his hand and his leadership.  Help me Lord, to trust you and you only for my protection and my provision.

God Bless You

17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, 18 and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram,[a] to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20 Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. 21 So he fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed for the hill country of Gilead.

22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 Taking his relatives with him , he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”

25 Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods? ”

31 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.

Time to Go–Genesis 31 part 1

 Oh, look it’s time to go.  After 20 years of working for his father-in-law, Jacob knew it was time to go.  God made him wealthy despite the attempts by his father in law to cheat.  God made him prosperous with 4 wives and 11 sons.  Finally, God made him aware of the attitude of the father in law and their family.  Through those signals, God let Jacob know it was time to go. 

When we are walking with God, we are seeking his plan for our lives, as well.  In our hunt, God reveals himself and his plan as we journey.  We , as his children need to see the  signs and make appropriate changes in our lives.  When we do, then we can be blessed and enjoy God’s provision for us.  When we fail to seek him, we can miss the signs or simply refuse to follow.  When we do that, then we experience much difficulty.  Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all the other things will be added in his time.  Thank you Lord for your provision and your assistance. 

God Bless You.

Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” 2 And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been. 3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

4 So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, “I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. 8 If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked young. 9 So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me. 14 Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? 15 Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. 16 Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.”

17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, 18 and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram,[a] to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan

 

BAA BAA Black Sheep–Genesis 30 part 2

Laban knew Jacob was a source of blessing.  He did not want that source of blessing to leave.  In that regard, Laban offers Jacob a deal to stay.  Jacob sees the potential and in a picture of early genetic science uses what his father in law intends for harm and turns it in to prosperity.  God blesses Jacob inspite of Laban’s attempts to cheat.  What a great reminder that God will not allow the world to succeed in altering his plan.  God prospered Jacob through some amazing miracles so that Jacob had the hardiest and robust herds.

In our lives, we are also subject to the World’s attempts to use and abuse us.  We have to remain on guard and diligent to prevent the world from completely destroying us.  As we do, we like Jacob will see God, not the world will ultimately bless us and make us prosper.  We have to submit to his leadership, listen for his direction and follow his plan to enjoy his provision and protection.  It is a scary adventure, but God has shown time and again he Loves us and wants for us to enjoy his blessing and provision.

God Bless You

“Don’t give me anything,” Jacob replied. “But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and watching over them: 32 Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages. 33 And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored, will be considered stolen. ”

34 “Agreed,” said Laban. “Let it be as you have said.” 35 That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons. 36 Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban’s flocks.

God’s Compassion vs. Our Realization Genesis 29 Final

This Bible account is an amazing picture of God’s Love for us and our discovery of that.  Leah simply wanted to be loved.  She was a faithful and fruitful wife.  As God saw her pain, he allowed her to produce sons.  Each son was clearly a gift.  The response by Leah, however is the most gripping part.  For her first three sons her response was “Now my husband has got to love me.”  But, as if by prophecy—the birth of Judah elicited a different response.  She said at his birth, This time I will praise the Lord—How appropriate, the lineage of our savior—was when Leah submitted to God and realized his Love was sufficient.

 We pray for so many things, and as God supplies those needs, we thank him, but look for the earthly returns his provision brings.  Then at some point, we finally surrender and accept that God Loves us and that is enough.  Then as he provides, we are grateful and still focused on his love and not on the provision.  Finally, we can walk by faith with the ultimate goal of being like him.  He will provide, he will attend—but we choose each day whether we seek him or his provision.  Help me, Lord to seek you and not your provision.

 God Bless You

The LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. 32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”  33 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. 34 Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi. 35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.

My wife, Wives??? Genesis 29 part 2

What a curve ball—Jacob worked for 7 years to marry the love of his life.  At the last minute, his uncle out-slicked him. The amazing thing was that he then married the love of his life and it made the next 7 years pass in no time.  Jacob was in a journey that was not one he expected.  But in  the process he was about to learn how dependent he would have to be on God.  Then God allowed his plan to unfold in his time, and the result would forever change the world.  I am sure  Jacob could not see that his 2 wives would save Israel in the short term and save the world forever.  But, what he could see is that God delivered him from his brother and to his family in Haran.  He showed Jacob his dream and promised his covenant.  Jacob knew God was God and He was not. 

When we face life, it is often a curve ball.  We do not receive what we expect, and often we feel out-slicked, overwhelmed and confused.  But, in the end, God meets our needs and executes his plan for the long term.  We forever look back and see his provision and plan unfolded.  We then cling to the history as a reminder he controls our future.  Then the years pass like a week. In the meanwhile, we continue to trust him and allow him to work in our lives.  Help me, Lord to cling to you and walk in your plan and not mine.

God Bless You

19 Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. 21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her. ”22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. 24 And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.

25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me? ”26 Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27 Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work. ”28 And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. 30 Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.

Well, Well–Whom do we have here? Genesis 29 part 1

It is great to realize your dream.  Jacob was running away from his past and running to a new future.  Both seemed impossible.  His past was filled with a brother that wanted his life—his future was filled with the dread of entering a strange new world with no one to care about him.  There, at a well God met Jacob and relieved both issues.  As Rachel approached, God reminded Jacob that he was the God of his past, present and future.  He immediately went from being a stranger in a strange land to being home with family.  God’s timing was perfect.  His ambassador was beautiful and his plan executed flawlessly. 

In our lives, so many days we awaken with a feeling of dread.  We wonder if the past will ever be overcome and if the future will ever be as bright as we hoped.  In that, out of nowhere, God appears and we are instantly swept into a flawless and indescribable plan for his glory.  The sledding is often difficult, the timing is usually different than we would choose, but God remains God and we remain astonished at the beauty of his execution.  We can never lose hope.  We must always trust he has our interest in mind.  The more willing we are to submit to his leadership, the more willing he is to allow us to see his handiwork. 

Help me, Lord to look to you for your plan and not mine.

God Bless You

9 While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherd. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud. 12 He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. So she ran and told her father.

13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things. 14 Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.”