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Today's Genesis chapter 30 readings bring us the account of several of Jacob's sons and a daughter being born to Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah, and Rachel. We also read about Jacob gaining wealth and wanting to leave his father-in-law Laban’s house to go back home in Genesis chapter 30. In verse 37 we read: "Now Jacob took fresh shoots from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of the bark to make white streaks on them." It seems in this verse and the ones that follow that Jacob is getting a bit superstitious - and not really asking God for help. Later Jacob does admit that God did do the work of increasing his wealth, and that he didn't do it on his own with his superstitions, as we see in Chapter 31 verse 9 when Jacob is speaking to his wives Rachel & Leah: "In this way, God has made me wealthy at your father's expense." I think it's great to see that Jacob starts to realize more and more that God is in control. I wonder for us, today, do we sometimes act like Jacob with the sticks - and rely on superstition or our own power, when we should be relying solely on God? Are there maybe areas in our work life or personal life where we think we are running the show? Are we really? Or is God? Will we let our superstitions go, and embrace the reality that God is in control? And - who better is there to be in control, really? :) Actually - I'll share with you a quote someone shared with me once when I was really trying to micromanage a situation - and was worrying and fretting way too much about the situation. The quote is simply this: "Let go and Let God." Let us let go of what we are hanging on so tightly to if it is not of God - and let us instead let God run the show. Are there areas in your life where you need to "Let go and let God"? Below is a painting by Spanish painter Jusepe de Ribera from the year 1632 of "Jacob and Laban's Flock":
Today's Genesis chapter 31 readings take us through Laban's pursuit of Jacob and his family and Laban & Jacob's treaty. In this chapter we read about Rachel taking Laban's "household gods", which were worthless idols - and yet both Laban and Rachel were very attached to idols, which was common in pagan religions of that time. Idols were often family heirlooms that were passed down from generation to generation and could sometimes signify that someone would receive their family's estate if they received the idols. People believed idols could bring blessings - and Laban obviously wanted them back. Though, I think he wanted more than just his idols back - I think he also wanted control over Jacob and his family back. In verses 33 & 34 we read: "Finally, Laban went into Rachel's tent. Rachel had taken the household gods and had stuffed them into her camel saddle, and now she was sitting on them. So although Laban searched all the tents, he couldn't find them." Rachel was cunning like her husband Jacob! Below is a fresco painting from 1729 by the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo titled "Rachel Hiding the Idols":
Verse 42 stood out to me in today's readings as Jacob spoke to Laban: "In fact, except for the grace of God--the God of my grandfather Abraham, the awe-inspiring God of my father, Isaac--you would have sent me off without a penny to my name." I like seeing that Jacob is realizing that the grace of God has blessed him! I wonder if sometimes in our lives the grace of God is blessing us, and we don't realize it? Do you ever have those moments when you look back on a day, or a week, or even a year and realize that God's grace was so there - and yet... you didn't realize it at the time? Will you try to live more like Jacob in this verse - and recognize awe-inspiring God's grace more and more frequently in your life? And can you give praise to God for this ever-present ever-dependable gift of grace that is available to you?
Worship God: Today's readings in Genesis reminded me of the Switchfoot song "Restless:"
Are you restless? Click here for your eternal Rest!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Then the LORD said to Jacob, 'Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.'" Genesis 31:3 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will listen and obey the Lord each and every day of your life. Pray that you know that the Lord is always with you, if you are in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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