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Today's Genesis chapter 28 readings begin Jacob's adventure as he leaves the land promised to Abraham and Isaac and heads for Paddan-aram to stay with his uncle. Jacob's dream at Bethel is awesome in this chapter! While this dream is often referred to as "Jacob's Ladder," many commentaries say it was probably stairs that Jacob dreamt of - similar to the stairs of a ziggurat (think tower of Babel) that winded around the outside of the tower on the way up. Have you ever had a dream anything like this one? :)
I do have to admit - Jacob's story and the parallel stories of his uncle Laban, Jacob's wives, and his sons - culminating with Joseph in Egypt - is one of my favorite parts of the Old Testament. This is just good narrative! I think one thing that really opened my eyes to all of the small details of the story of Jacob is that I was in an amazing Bible study for about a year going through this part of Genesis. I don't know if you've been in a group Bible study before? If not, let me encourage you to join one! They are incredible. You get so many different perspectives from each person in the group - similar in some ways to what you are getting here on this blog - but more personal and I think far better. You get to go through the text with other people and really dive into things - and even have some fun joking around about things. If the church you attend has some sort of Bible study, will you consider checking it out this month of January? I know you will be incredibly blessed by this decision!
I found verses 21 & 22 intriguing: "Then Jacob made this vow: "If God will be with me and protect me on this journey and give me food and clothing, and if he will bring me back safely to my father, then I will make the LORD my God." Do you notice the "if" / "then" statement in this vow from Jacob? Jacob is putting some conditions on what it will take for him to make God his God. Do we do this in our lives sometimes? Do we try to put "conditions" on God? Does this really make sense to do? What if our conditions are not met? What if things don't go as planned? Will we still love God as our God, even if the "conditions" in our life are not met or are not ideal?
In Genesis chapter 29 Jacob arrives at Paddan-Aram, which was close to Haran. See this map below for where Jacob will spend the next 20 years of his life. All 12 of his children besides Benjamin will be born in this land! Note that this map below shows arrows going from right to left - because it's really a map of Abraham's early journey. :) But, you can see how far Jacob traveled from Bethel - where he had the dream discussed above - to Haran / Paddan-Aram at the top of the map.
In this chapter Jacob meets Rachel and Laban, and works for 7 years to marry Rachel - except for the fact that Jacob was deceived by Laban on the wedding night! Which is a bit ironic, as we have seen in recent chapters that Jacob did some deceiving himself... I read one commentary that said for most of his life Jacob was so focused on getting the rights of the first born from his father Isaac - and now he must accept the rights of the first born in this surprise marriage to Leah! At the end of today's readings we see that Leah is beginning to have sons - including Levi who will be the ancestor of the Aaronic priestly line of Israel, and Judah who will be the ancestor of King David and ultimately Jesus Christ. Below is an oil painting from 1836 by Bohemian painter Joseph von Fuhrich of Jacob encountering Rachel with her father's herds in verses 9 - 11: "As this conversation was going on, Rachel arrived with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherd. And because she was his cousin, the daughter of his mother's brother, and because the sheep were his uncle's, Jacob went over to the well and rolled away the stone and watered his uncle's flock. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and tears came to his eyes."
Worship God: Today's readings in Genesis about Jacob's dream and his many years of work for Laban reminded me of the FFH song "Come Undone:"
Are you Undone? Click here and come Undone!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought,'Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.'" Genesis 28:16 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you are aware of when God is with you. Pray that through your saving faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, God is with you always.
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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