Genesis 37 Part 2–Joseph Means too Much to Us to Kill Him; Let’s Sell Him, instead.

Human beings are a terrible lot.  Joseph’s brothers were the chosen ones of God.  They represented the covenant between God and Abraham, Isaac and now Israel (Formerly Jacob).  These people were supposed to be the best and godliest. Sadly, they did not see it that way.

So as Joseph was clearly dad’s favorite, the rest of the brothers wanted to be done with him.  Rueben did not want to tick the other brothers off, but he did not want to be responsible for Joseph’s death, either.  So, He talked the brothers into putting him into a cistern.  His hope was to later remove Joseph and take the boy back to dad.  Sadly, when Rueben was not looking, the brothers sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites.

It must have grieved Rueben to know that he had again failed His father.  He had no intentions in seeing Joseph killed, but he was not going to tick the brothers off either.  It was the beginning of Joseph’s mission, but no one had any idea that God was going to use some dramatically difficult things to save the nation of Israel.  Further, Joseph had no idea that he was going to go through some ridiculously unfair trials and temptations to reach God’s plan to save his family.

We can never predict God’s methods or plans.  Some of the most amazing things have come from very difficult trials and circumstances.  While we are in the middle of the difficult times, we must cling to the truth that God knows what is going on in our lives and has a plan to use them to do great things through us.  We have only to trust God and continue to pray and seek His face.  The Lord will then lead us through His plan, and use us to do great things.

We simply must remember that God never promised an easy life, simply and abundant one.

God Bless You

So, Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”

21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.

23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

28 So when the Midianite merchants came by his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels[b] of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

Genesis 37–Moving on to Joseph

While Israel’s life was not complete, we continue on our journey to look at the life of Joseph.  Israel had 12 sons, but none made a bigger impact in his time than did Joseph.  Joseph loved God and followed Him closely.  He was loved by His father.  That caused great dissention among his brothers and made life for Joseph an incredible adventure. 

In our introduction to Joseph, God highlights his integrity, how his dad loved him, and that God revealed things to Joseph through dreams.  Each of those things would play big roles in Joseph’s story.  Still, first and foremost Joseph was a young man of integrity with great love for God and his Father.

Despite that, the brothers all despised Joseph because he was daddy’s favorite.  Further, Joseph told them his dreams and in them the brothers were shown to be Subject to Joseph’s lead.  He was just a boy.  In that context, there was little good that the brothers felt for Joseph.  Still, Joseph pushed forward and did as he was supposed to do.

In our lives, we are subject to difficult relationships–like Joseph.  We must focus upon our relationship with the Lord and accept the fact that we will not be loved by everyone else.  When we capture that, we are not devastated by the difficult relationships in our lives.  Instead, we become grateful for what we have and not ungrateful for what we lack.  It is a beautiful thing, and God uses that to make us more like Him.  We have to learn to be content in all circumstance and realize we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.  Phil. 4:11-13.

God Bless You

Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.

These are the generations of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.[a] But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.

Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

Genesis 35 Part 2–A Time of Loss

After God reaffirmed Israel’s place and blessing, Israel experienced a time of loss.  He lost his beloved wife, Rachel, He lost his father, and he lost the trust of his eldest son, Rueben. 

Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin.  She named him son of my sorrow, Ben-Oni–because she realized she was so busy competing with Leah for Israel’s favor that she forgot to live and be grateful for all God had provided her.  Israel renamed the boy Son of my right hand–Benjamin as he favored Rachel his partner in life.

Next, Rueben, Jacob’s oldest son slept with Billah, one of Israel’s concubines…Not much is said, other than Israel found out…In that though, Israel lost all confidence in His eldest son.  Such a lack of respect could never be made right.  It is only in the end that we find that Israel never forgot his son’s treachery. 

Finally, Israel loses his dad.  the death of Isaac came at age 180.  20 years after Jacob left his dad on his death bed…So Israel and Esau buried Isaac together and there seemed to be peace between them.

This passage is a great reminder that even as we are blessed by the Lord, that blessing does not exempt us from trial and loss. Israel lost his wife, His son’s respect, and His father immediately after God’s blessing. It was not a cruel trick by the Lord; it was simply life.  In our lives, we can be blessed in many ways, but God does not exempt us from the trials of life. Death, betrayal, loss all still happen to the people of every station and life.

We must learn to be grateful for what we have and not expect special treatment from the Lord.  As life hits full in the face, we need to remember this is the journey, not the destination and as we face the destination, we then do it with a grateful heart and humble spirit.  That is how Israel faced his life, and that is how we must face life as well.

God Bless You

16 Then they journeyed from Bethel. When they were still some distance[f] from Ephrath, Rachel went into labor, and she had hard labor. 17 And when her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for you have another son.” 18 And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni;[g] but his father called him Benjamin.[h] 19 So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem), 20 and Jacob set up a pillar over her tomb. It is the pillar of Rachel’s tomb, which is there to this day. 21 Israel journeyed on and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.

22 While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine. And Israel heard of it.

Now the sons of Jacob were twelve. 23 The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. 24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 25 The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant: Dan and Naphtali. 26 The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant: Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.

27 And Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, or Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned. 28 Now the days of Isaac were 180 years. 29 And Isaac breathed his last, and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Genesis 35 Part 1–Confirming the Name and the Mission

It had been a difficult transition. Israel and His family had faced Esau.  Dinah was raped by a Canaanite prince and the family retaliated by wiping out the town and taking all that was there.  They became hated by the neighbors and trouble was brewing. 

Then, God stepped in.  He met Israel and told him to gather everything up and move back to Bethel. So, Jacob did as God told him. Interestingly, the first command He gave his family was to get rid of all their foreign gods and purify themselves.  Canaan had rubbed off on them.  They had become comfortable in the culture and had allowed the culture to seep into their lives.

Israel said, God has carried us, we need to honor Him.  Clean up your acts and let’s go.  And they obeyed Israel and God protected them from all the people groups in the land.  He also moved them to a better place and settled them there.  It was a transition back to God’s leadership and blessing.

In our lives, we sometimes grow comfortable to be a part of the culture and forget we are to be holy and separate.  We are to be in the world, but not of the world.  Sadly, as we do life, it is easy to slip into a routine that looks like everyone else in the world.  When that happens the culture seeps into our lives, and we look more like it than we would like.

That is when God steps in and says let me lead.  Our response needs to be the same as Israel’s response, “Get rid of your foreign gods and purify yourselves.”
That should almost be our daily life command.  As we purify our lives and turn from the gods of this world, God can then lead and bless us.  Then we can be the chosen people we were called to be.  We can be assured that God will take the lead. It is certainly a great trade for us.

God Bless You

Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.

Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel,[a] because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.

Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.[b]

After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,[c] God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob,[d] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.[e]” So he named him Israel.

11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty[f]; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham, and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.

14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.[g]

Genesis 33–The Brothers Meet

Well, it was bound to happen, the brothers would meet again. Israel had wrestled with God and was blessed, now he and His family would meet His brother that swore to kill him the last time the two faced each other.  So, Israel took His family and as Esau and His 400 men approached stacked them by their moms in groups.  Esau , however, approached Israel and embraced him–no anger, just love for his brother.  He grudgingly accepted Israel’s gift and offered only to protect and escort His brother to safety. Israel was not expecting that.  Having that major worry behind him, Israel was able to settle in and be home.

He bought land, named places, and began the process of fulfilling the covenant.  It was not nearly as harrowing as Jacob had worried it would be.  As God’s chosen, Jacob enjoyed the protection and blessings of the Father. Even the worst possibilities were handled by God.  Israel’s life was not without trial, there were several more to come.  Israel had to know, though, that God was with Him.

We, as His chosen also need to know that God is with us.  His hand leads us and guides us.  He prepares, provides, and protects us just as He did for Israel.  We are always prepared for the worst but can trust that the Lord is with us in all circumstances.  Often, God will do things to straighten our path if we will simply trust and follow Him.  He is Lord and He wants to bless and guide us to a full and purposeful life.  We must learn to trust Him first and foremost.  If we will, He will continue to make this an Amazing Journey.

God Bless You

Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. 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.”

Then the female servants and their children approached and bowed down. Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down.

Esau asked, “What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?”

“To find favor in your eyes, my lord,” he said.

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.

12 Then Esau said, “Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.”

13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. 14 So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.”

15 Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”

“But why do that?” Jacob asked. “Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.”

16 So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. 17 Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.[a]

18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram,[b] he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver,[c] he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent. 20 There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel.[d]

Genesis 32–Wrestling With Life and Wrestling with God

Things were very dynamic for Jacob.  After a heated interchange with Laban, Jacob came to terms and was able to go home without looking back in fear. Once free from Laban, Jacob met up with angels–a pretty good way to know God was with him. 
Next, Jacob sent a messenger to his brother; letting Esau know he was coming back. Jacob was told Esau was coming back with 400 men…That did not sound hopeful.

As Jacob prepared for what was next by dividing his camps and saying goodbye to His family, he was wrestling with the reality of where his life had come.

As he sat alone, Jacob wrestled with God until daybreak.  Finally God injured Jacob’s hip to end the bout. Jacob only stopped at the promise of an additional blessing.  This was a blessing that God was happy to provide.  God said, you are no longer deceiver, You are now Israel.  God’s blessing was an entirely new Name–Overcomer.  God recognised to Jacob that he had seen the change. He blessed Jacob with the knowledge that his transformation did not go unnoticed.

In our lives, we wrestle with so many things. Careers, family, illness, provision, focus on God.  Sometimes, it is absolutely overwhelming, and we feel like there are no answers.  Then, in the midst of our solitude and loneliness, we realize the wrestling match we are having is one for control of our lives.  Is it us or is it God? When we finally surrender that control, God is able to bless us and work in us to change us.  We become His workmanship.  When that happens, he is able to face our trials with us and assist us in overcoming them.

We simply need to trust and follow God.  Then we can take notice of all the ways the Lord meets us where we are, and leads us through the Amazing Journey.

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,[f] 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,[g] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[h] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Genesis 31 Part 2–The New Journey Begins

The departure of Jacob and his family was sudden.  It was the right thing at the right time, but as the Bible records, not that simple.  Rachel stole idols from her dad.  That could have been a terrible end to the story.  God was kind, however, and spared the family that awful scene.  In short, Jacob and the family made their escape and Laban would no longer be able to control and exploit Jacob.  

God spoke to Laban.  He told Laban not to say anything to Jacob good or bad.  the most interesting note was that Laban said the God of YOUR father.  Clearly Laban did not share the relationship with God.  the idols that Rachel stole meant something to Laban’s family.  Fortunately, Jacob worshipped Adonai.  God was kind and spared Jacob and his family.  He prepared them, provided for them, and now protected them in the face of a tough situation.

He will do the same for us.  If we will trust and follow the Lord, He will prepare, provide, and protect us as well. It will be a journey with twists, turns, and trials.  We know, however, God is faithful to hear our prayers, meet our needs, and complete His work in our lives.  Thanks, Lord, for being large and in charge

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.

Laban Pursues Jacob

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.

33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing.

35 Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.” So he searched but could not find the household gods.

Genesis 31 Part 1–A Transformed Life

It is funny, really.  Jacob simply trusted God, and no matter how Laban tried to cheat Jacob, God never allowed it.  What is more, the more Laban tried to cheat Jacob the worse it became for Laban.  So, it was time to leave.  God told Jacob it was time to go.  Leah and Rachel agreed that it was time to go, and so, Jacob and his family prepared to return to Canaan, the place that would be the home of their chosen lineage.

It is a great testimony of a changed heart.  Here Jacob the manipulator, deceiver and cheat was now content to let God call the shots.  God, in turn was glad to bless and protect Jacob and his family.  Now, God was sending Jacob home to continue the mission started by Abraham.  Interestingly, Jacob is now ready to trust and follow God during diverse circumstances, and with what is to come, that will become a critical thing.  Jacob was God’s guy.  He was a mess, but God molded him to lead the family back to Canaan and become God’s chosen people.

God is as involved in our lives as He was in Jacob’s.  He sent His spirit to guide and work in our lives.  Paul promises in Philippians 1:6–that He who has begun a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Our lives are an ongoing process of sanctification that builds us into the children God has called us to be.  God is patient, tenacious, and committed to us.  We need to trust Him and allow Him to do all that He sees fit to do.  If we will, the Lord will bless us.

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.” And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.

Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. 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. You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. 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. So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.

10 “In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. 11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’”

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.”

Genesis 30 Part 2–Striking Out on His Own

It was time to start his future.  Jacob now had a son by his wife Rachel.  His life was his own, and he needed to separate from his uncle.  Laban knew that was not a good deal for him.  He knew Jacob’s life had blessed him and HIs family. Conversely, Jacob’s leaving would strip Laban of that blessing.  Further, Jacob was doing the work, if he left, Laban would have to work a great deal harder.  

Jacob was blessed and gifted.  He built flocks of sheep and goats based upon Laban’s specifications.  Jacob knew the flocks and was able to manipulate the flocks and build the biggest and strongest group imaginable.  He did nothing wrong; he just maximized his skills and God’s blessing.  It would clearly drive Laban nuts.  Jacob trusted God, but, as in days of old he did not mind helping God out.

The journey is odd.  We are placed in situations where we make choices that affect our lives and the lives of those we love.  If we can trust God and allow him to lead, God will carry us through and bless our journey.  We must be patient and we cannot expect a trial free life.  We can expect the Lord to be with us and protect, prepare, and provide for our needs.  We do have to use the gifts and skills God gives us to be the best and the most that we can.  If we will, the Father will give us an abundant Christian life.

God Bless You

After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. 26 Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. You know how much work I’ve done for you.”

27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28 He added, “Name your wages, and I will pay them.”

29 Jacob said to him, “You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock has fared under my care. 30 The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I do something for my own household?”

31 “What shall I give you?” he asked.

“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.

37 Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. 38 Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, 39 they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. 40 Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban’s animals. 41 Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches, 42 but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob. 43 In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.

Genesis 30 Part 1–Filling a Void

The Family of Jacob was built more on the desire to be loved, than on anything else.  The war between Leah and Rachel to establish their place as Jacob’s beloved wife caused them to do any and everything to win favor. At day’s end 11 children, 2 additional wives and still Leah and Rachel were battling to win Jacob.  It seems a shame, really.  Jacob, I am sure, never intended to be mean to Leah.  She bore him six sons and a daughter.  Still, the heavenly Father continued to bless her with a group of sons to love and protect her.

Leah and Rachel needed to know the only one that they needed to find favor with was God.  He did love them and provided for them time after time.  But their distraction with Jacob never allowed them to rest in the peace and love of the Father. Amazingly, that has been the story of so many.  God calls us to simply trust and follow Him.  There is simply nothing else that will fill the void in our lives.

  There is no number of things, people, or power that can give the peace and purpose that comes from following the Lord.  Jesus said it himself, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to You!” Matt 6:33
Like Leah and Rachel, we can become so absorbed with our own stuff that we miss all that God has for us.  If we do, then we will miss the amazing things within God’s plan.

God Bless You

When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”

Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?”

Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.”

So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, and she became pregnant and bore him a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan.[a]

Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.” So, she named him Naphtali.[b]

When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, “What good fortune!”[c] So she named him Gad.[d]

12 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, “How happy I am! The women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher.[e]

14 During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

15 But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”

“Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”

16 So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So, he slept with her that night.

17 God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So, she named him Issachar.[f]

19 Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.[g]

21 Sometime later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.

22 Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24 She named him Joseph,[h] and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.”