Genesis 28:20 to 40:11
Stolen blessings, trickery, deception.
No, this isn’t yesterday’s Jerry Springer, this is the story of Jacob, Esau, Isaac and Rebekah.
Just thinking about this reading has me exhausted!
As a twin, I’ve often been asked questions ranging fro the mundane to just out and out foolish. No, we don’t feel each other’s pain, yes, I have a sense when she’s upset, no we never traded boyfriends, yes, we are close.
Jacob and Esau could never makes those claims. Jacob established himself as early as birth that he was going to be a piece of work. In the womb the two tussled, causing Rebekah discomfort, and when they were born Jacob held onto the foot of Esau. For some reason, Rebekah favored Jacob while Issac favored Esau. According to my Sociology 101 course, it’s possible that as a female, Rebekah was drawn to Jacob’s fair demeanor while Issac, a “manly man” was drawn to Esau’s roughness. In any event, Esau was a hasty son of a gun and gave up his birthright for a bowl of soup.
When Issac fell ill, he wanted to bless his favored son but had a condition: make me something to eat. Rebekah overheard this and tricked her husband into blessing Jacob by dressing Jacob up in Esau’s clothing and preparing the meal herself. Questions to ponder:
Wouldn’t Issac have known his wife’s cooking?
Was Jacob cunning or a pawn in his mother’s twisted marriage politics?
Where in the world was a skilled hunter like Esau hunting if it took him so long to find game?
Back to the story….
Rebekah destroys her family. Jacob is forced to flee for his life because Esau is pretty ticked that he was denied a blessing. Esau then does what his father asked him not to do and take a wife plus more from the women of the land. Jacob has run away to his uncle’s house and falls in love with Rachel.
Again we have more family turmoil. Laban, just as tricky as his sister, has Jacob work for him for seven years for the hand of Rachel only to pull a bait and switch and have him lay with Leah, her oldest sister. Looking at it with the eyes of a 30 something something, but Leah must have been real hard up for a man to agree with this trickery and to accept her loveless marriage. Bust she worked like a bunny and pushed out multiple children for Jacob while Rachel remained barren. Rachel used an old trick,
pimping offering her handmaiden to Jacob so she could bear a child by proxy. Not to be undone, Leah also pimped offered her handmaiden to be a surrogate mother.
Jacob after being away for twenty years, wants to go home. Again, Laban tricks him by trying to first steal his portion of the livestock and hiding them, then allowing seeds of discontent to rise from his sons. Once again, Jacob flees this time with his family only to be pursued by an angry Laban. Jacob smooths things out and continues home only to get the news that his brother is approaching. Ever the trickster, Jacob devises a plan to meet his brother with all of his servants and family in a procession, him last, and hope that gifts and finery will appeal to Esau. It doesn’t work because Esau is just happy to see his brother. Jacob of course, can’t accept that his brother means no harm and sends Esau one way while he goes another.
At this point, God appears:
S: Gen 32:24-26
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.”
O: Does Jacob really wrestle with an angel or is this one of those mental wrestling, a conviction of the spirit? Repeatedly through his story, God appears to Jacob and tells him that he has great plans for him, and that he is a prince. But Jacob does not heed the word of God, rather trying to manipulate situations and then running away when he realizes he doesn’t have full control.
A: I need to stop wrestling with God’s will in my life. God speaks to me and I continue to treat his words like an a la carte buffet, choosing which parts I want to follow and which ones I think I can justify because they are like victimless crimes…no one REALLY gets hurt.
P: Dear Lord, please let me heed your words, even those that seem unpleasant. I know that YOUR will is the right way and as a sinner, I am all too often tempted to follow my will. Continue to guide my hand and thoughts. Do these things and I will continue to praise your Holy name. Amen.
Some other observations from this day’s reading:
Was Dinah consulted after her rape? (34:26)
In the book The Red Tent, Anita Diamant explores the story of Dinah, the lone girl in Jacobs sea of children.
Genesis 37 begins the story of another favorite son, Joseph, who is disliked by his brothers. Issac gives Joseph a coat of many colors and this makes his brothers snap. They plot to kill him, then have him sold into slavery.
Is the favored child destined for difficulty but blessed by the Lord in the end?
I found this as I was looking for the scripture to cut and paste (yes, I’, working on sloth):
From the site by David Guzik:
Genesis 9-11 Joseph’s second dream.
Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
a. Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers: If Joseph was unwise in telling the first dream (knowing how irritating it was to his brothers) he was even more wrong sharing this second dream, especially because it set him not only above his brothers, but also set him above his father and mother.
i. Joseph seems to be afflicted with the sort of pride often apparent among the favored and blessed. He is so focused on how great his dreams are for him, he doesn’t begin to consider how the dreams will sound in the ears of others.
ii. At this point, Joseph is a contrast to Jesus. Jesus wants us to be as He was on this earth: an “others-centered” person. Joseph seems to fall short in this area.
iii. Though Joseph was wrong to tell these dreams, they certainly did come true. One may receive a wonderful message from God that He does not intend them to publish to others. Joseph showed a proud lack of wisdom here.
Tomorrow Today, we go on the ark with Noah!