Genesis 40 Part 1–Dream the Impossible Dream

It was another day.  Joseph rose, did his job faithfully as a jail trustee, and wondered why God, who showed Joseph he was to be a ruler over his family including his dad, was separated from them all and now resided in the Pharaoh’s prison for a crime that he simply did not commit.

  Joseph’s old master, the Captain of the Guard, appointed Joseph to care for two of Pharaoh’s top officials, the cook, and the taster.  Their jobs were the most critical in keeping the Pharaoh healthy and alive.  Still, they ticked the Pharaoh off and ended up in prison.  Now Joseph was assigned to make their day.

Time passed and Joseph gained their trust.  He came to them on day and saw that they were down.  He knew that feeling! So, when he asked, Joseph found out that they had dreams that were both bothersome and unexplainable to the officials.  Joseph knew that feeling too.  After all, didn’t his brothers call him the “Dreamer”?

Joseph listened to the men and interpreted their dreams.  The cupbearer would be free, and the baker would be killed.  Not great news for the baker, but closure for both.

We are often asked to fulfill roles in our lives that are neither fun nor easy.  Prison trustee for the Pharaoh’s finest would be difficult at best.  Then to tell the Pharaoh’s top officials that they were to live or to die was a terrible duty as well.  If he was correct, the one official would die.  If he was not, He would die for making a false report.  In either case, it left Joseph no better off than before.  

Joseph maintained his trust and faith in God.  He told the truth. Now, God would take over and completer the plan.  Joseph would only need to wait upon the Lord.  Isaiah knew that feeling.  That is why He pinned Isaiah 40:31, “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint!” 

Isaiah, another prophet, that spent his life listening and following the Lord.  They were great men of faith and, as such, mighty tools in the execution of God’s plan.  These men were also great reminders to those of us that have come after.

Neither Joseph nor Isaiah had any idea what their impact would be.  Ironically, neither do we.  We simply are called to trust God and obey our Lord’s lead.  If we will, the Father will use us in ways we could never imagine.  Ask Joseph!

God Bless You

Sometime after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer, and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them. They continued for some time in custody.

And one night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”

So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, “In my dream there was a vine before me, 10 and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” 12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. 15 For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.”

16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, 17 and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.” 18 And Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. 19 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you.”

Genesis 39 Part 2–Joseph’s Journey…NO MEANS NO! or Prison?

Joseph was handed over to slavery by his brothers, Once in Egypt, the superpower of that day, Joseph found himself in the top slave job imaginable.  He was operations manager for the Pharaoh’s captain of the guard.  He was so well trusted and respected, that Potiphar basically said, “other than my wife, you oversee everything I own…Well, there in was the issue.  

Potiphar’s wife wanted Joseph as a boy toy.  Day after day, she would try to seduce Joseph.  Joseph would not play along.  Potiphar’s wife tried everything.  Nothing worked–after all Joseph worshipped God, not women.  Finally, Potiphar’s wife engineered a plan that would leave Joseph without witness or support when she seduced him–HE HAD TO SAY YES, Right? Wrong.  Joseph fled, but Potiphar’s wife stole his clothes right from him.  Joseph refused to compromise.  The result? A medal? Nope.  A reward? Nope! A promotion? Nope! Jail , humiliation, and complete despair.  

It certainly was not fair; but it was also not the end.  See, Joseph had climbed the ladder of success for slaves.  It simply did not get any better. But God was not moving Joseph up the ladder of slaves.  God had a better plan.  God’s plan involved jail, cupbearers, butchers, bakers, and maybe even a candlestick maker… all folks, Joseph would have never met as a slave.  These were the people you met as a guest of the Captain of the guard, not his manager.  Ironically, just as Joseph thrived as a slave, he was also about to thrive as a prisoner.  As we see time and again, God’s chosen are blessed even in the difficult times. 

We simply must trust Him to lead, provide, protect, and prepare us for the path that God has laid out.If we trust the Lord, He will make our lives a legacy and a blessing even when things seem impossible.  It is in those times; He makes himself most apparent. We can never grow comfortable, even as the top slaves.  We may be missing the opportunity to be a jail trustee, or even the second in command of a foreign superpower??? 

Jesus said it best–“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you!!!” Matthew 6:33. 

This is the core of our amazing journey, that is if we are willing to simply trust Our Lord.

God Bless You

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

Genesis 39 Part 1–So This is Slavery…

One can only imagine the terror, the feeling of betrayal, and the hopelessness that Joseph felt as he was being dragged to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders.  He did not get to say goodbye to his dad or little brother, and he had no idea what lay ahead. 

One thing that Joseph did know was that God was still in control.  He also knew that God had a plan.  Joseph had the dreams where God told him that he would rule over his brothers and his family.  Further, Joseph knew how to work and how to be a man of integrity.

Joseph was purchased by the
Pharaoh’s head of security, Potiphar.  Once in place, Potiphar was blessed by Joseph being in his house.  Moreover, Potiphar saw that Joseph ran his home with efficiency and complete honesty.  Potiphar literally turned the house over to Joseph and did not give it a second thought.  Joseph saw God’s favor and knew once again that God kept HIs promises.

God plans for the long game.  He is never about a single event in our lives.  Instead, He works ALL things together for good for those who love God and are called according to God’s purpose.  Romans 8:28. 

When going through difficult times, We, like Joseph, must cling to our faith.  As the writer in Hebrews reminds us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

In the end, God’s plan is always best.  It is not based on any one circumstance, but a million little things that form a path and a journey to be like God and with Him for eternity.

God Bless You

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.

The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

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.