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Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Family of Esau

esaus family

God had blessed Esau’s household and Esau’s sons were too blessed. God had blessed Esau too with riches as Jacob.

The verses that have touched our hearts while reading the chapter are as follows:
These are the descendants of Esau (that is, Edom).

Magdiel, and Iram; these are the clans of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of Edom), according to their settlements in the land that they held.

Let’s Pray: God blesses those who follow and obey him. We all falter many a times in our lives. We get angry and frustrated easily. We look down upon people and even indulge in gossiping. Our Christian life demands absolute submission to God. Our riches does not lie in this transient world but we have been promised eternity in heaven. Let us remove all the pretences, sinful living and materialistic pursuits from our daily lives. Now is the time to submit ourselves to God. Make prayers part of our daily lives and include God in all our pursuits. May the God almighty bless us all. Amen.

Chapter 36: The Family of Esau

1 These are the descendants of Esau (that is, Edom).
2 Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah daughter of Anah son of Zibeon the Hivite,
3 and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebaioth.
4 Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau; Basemath bore Reuel;
5 and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.
6 Then Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household, his cattle, all his livestock, and all the property he had acquired in the land of Canaan; and he moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob.
7 For their possessions were too great for them to live together; the land where they were staying could not support them because of their livestock.
8 So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom.
9 These are the descendants of Esau, ancestor of the Edomites, in the hill country of Seir.
10 These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz son of Adah the wife of Esau; Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Basemath.
11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz.
12 (Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These were the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife.
13 These were the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These were the sons of Esau’s wife, Basemath.
14 These were the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, daughter of Anah son of Zibeon: she bore to Esau Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.
15 These are the clans of the sons of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: the clans Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz,
16 Korah, Gatam, and Amalek; these are the clans of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Adah.
17 These are the sons of Esau’s son Reuel: the clans Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah; these are the clans of Reuel in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath.
18 These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: the clans Jeush, Jalam, and Korah; these are the clans born of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 19 These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their clans.
20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah,
21 Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; these are the clans of the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom.
22 The sons of Lotan were Hori and Heman; and Lotan’s sister was Timna.
23 These are the sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.
24 These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah; he is the Anah who found the springs in the wilderness, as he pastured the donkeys of his father Zibeon.
25 These are the children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah.
26 These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran.
27 These are the sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.
28 These are the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.
29 These are the clans of the Horites: the clans Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah,
30 Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; these are the clans of the Horites, clan by clan in the land of Seir.
31 These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites.
32 Bela son of Beor reigned in Edom, the name of his city being Dinhabah. 33 Bela died, and Jobab son of Zerah of Bozrah succeeded him as king.
34 Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king.
35 Husham died, and Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king, the name of his city being Avith. 36 Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah succeeded him as king. 37 Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates succeeded him as king.
38 Shaul died, and Baal-hanan son of Achbor succeeded him as king.
39 Baalhanan son of Achbor died, and Hadar succeeded him as king, the name of his city being Pau; his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, daughter of Me-zahab.
40 These are the names of the clans of Esau, according to their families and their localities by their names: the clans Timna, Alvah, Jetheth,
41 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar,
43 Magdiel, and Iram; these are the clans of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of Edom), according to their settlements in the land that they held.

 
 

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God Blesses Jacob at Bethel

God blesses jacob at bethel

Jacob believed that idols should have no place in his household. He wanted nothing to divert his family’s spiritual focus. Thus, Jacob ordered his household to get rid of their gods. Unless we remove idols from our lives, they can ruin our faith. What idols do we have? An idol is anything we put before God, not just physical objects; they can be thoughts or desires. Like Jacob we should get rid of anything that could stand between us and God.

God reminded Jacob of his new name Israel, which meant “he struggles with God.” Although Jacob’s life was littered with difficulties and trails, his new name was a tribute to his desire to stay close to God.

Problems and difficulties are painful but inevitable; you might as well see them as opportunities for growth. You can’t prevail with God unless you have troubles to prevail over.

The verses that have touched our hearts while reading the chapter are as follows:
then come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”

and there he built an altar and called the place Elbethel, because it was there that God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother.

God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he was called Israel.

God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, we come to your presence as children who seek their father’s counsel. Lord, you are omniscient and omnipotent, you know our every thought and one every desire. Give us the grace to always abide in you. Today’s world lacks the wisdom and conviction of being near you. Help that we all may dwell in your peace and blessings forever and ever. Amen.

Chapter 35: God Blesses Jacob at Bethel
1 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and settle there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”
2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your clothes;
3 then come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”
4 So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak that was near Shechem.
5 As they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities all around them, so that no one pursued them.
6 Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him,
7 and there he built an altar and called the place Elbethel, because it was there that God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother.
8 And Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried under an oak below Bethel. So it was called Allonbacuth.
9 God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and he blessed him.
10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he was called Israel.
11 God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you.
12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”
13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had spoken with him.
14 Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it.
15 So Jacob called the place where God had spoken with him Bethel.
The birth of Benjamin and death of Rachel
16 Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel was in childbirth, and she had hard labor.
17 When she was in her hard labor, the midwife said to her, “Do not be afraid; for now you will have another son.”
18 As her soul was departing (for she died), she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. 19 So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem),
20 and Jacob set up a pillar at her grave; 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.
Concluding materials on Jacob’s sons and Isaac’s death and burial
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 maid: Dan and Naphtali.
26 The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddanaram.
27 Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, or Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had resided as aliens.

28 Now the days of Isaac were one hundred eighty years.
29 And Isaac breathed his last; he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

 
 

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What Dinah’s Brothers Did

what dinahs brothers did

Shechem may have been a victim of “love at first sight,” but his actions were impulsive and evil. Not only did he sin against Dinah; he sinned against the entire family (34:6-7). The consequences of his deed were severe both for his family and for Jacob’s (34:25-31).
Even Shechem’s declared love for Dinah could not excuse the evil he did by raping her. Don’t allow sexual passion to boil over into evil actions. Passion must be controlled.

When Shechem raped Dinah, the consequences were far greater than he could have imagined. Dinah’s brothers were outraged and took revenge. Pain, deceit and murder followed. Sexual sin is devastating because its consequences are so far reaching.

The verse that has touched our hearts while reading the chapter is as follows:
But they said, “Should our sister be treated like a whore?”

Let’s Pray: Lord, we humans have a tendency to let our carnal needs govern us rather than our spiritual bend. This leads to a lot of sinful acts and makes us guilty and remorseful. Our acts also hurt others and the chain reaction continues, leaving the people hurt, hateful, angry and frustrated. Heavenly Father, be with us during the times when we are inclined towards bodily needs and are about to sin against us. Help us flee from such situations and be holy for you. Amen

Chapter 34: What Dinah’s Brother’s Did

1 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the region.
2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the region, saw her, he seized her and lay with her by force.
3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the girl, and spoke tenderly to her.
4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl to be my wife.”
5 Now Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter Dinah; but his sons were with his cattle in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came.
6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him,
7 just as the sons of Jacob came in from the field. When they heard of it, the men were indignant and very angry, because he had committed an outrage in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.
8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The heart of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage.
9 Make marriages with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.
10 You shall live with us; and the land shall be open to you; live and trade in it, and get property in it.”
11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor with you, and whatever you say to me I will give.
12 Put the marriage present and gift as high as you like, and I will give whatever you ask me; only give me the girl to be my wife.”
13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah.
14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us.
15 Only on this condition will we consent to you: that you will become as we are and every male among you be circumcised.
16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live among you and become one people.
17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and be gone.”
18 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem.
19 And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his family.
20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying,
21 “These people are friendly with us; let them live in the land and trade in it, for the land is large enough for them; let us take their daughters in marriage, and let us give them our daughters.
22 Only on this condition will they agree to live among us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised.
23 Will not their livestock, their property, and all their animals be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will live among us.”
24 And all who went out of the city gate heeded Hamor and his son Shechem; and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
25 On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and came against the city unawares, and killed all the males.
26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went away.
27 And the other sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled.
28 They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field.
29 All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and made their prey.
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites; my numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.”
31 But they said, “Should our sister be treated like a whore?”

 
 

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Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau

jacob-wrestles-with-god

Why did angels of God meet Jacob? In the Bible, angels often intervened in human situations. Although angels often came in human form these angels must have looked different for Jacob recognized them at once. The reason these angels met Jacob is unclear; but because of their visit, Jacob knew God was with him.

How would you feel knowing you were about to meet the person you had cheated out to of his most precious possessions? Jacob had taken Esau’s birthright (25:33) and his blessings (27:27-40). Now he was about to meet this first time in 20 years, and he was frantic with fear. He collected his thoughts however and decided to pray. When we face a difficult conflict, we can run about frantically or we can pause to pray. Which approach will be more effective?

The verses that have touched our hearts while reading the chapter are as follows:
and when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s camp!” So he called that place Mahanaim.

Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”

Let’s Pray: Strong character develops as we struggle through tough conditions. Lord, encourage us with more persistence in our spiritual life. Father, you are all knowing and we pray that we too like Jacob change from ambitious deceivers to benevolent givers and your true followers. During our struggle times be with us and help that we may never leave you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Chapter 32: Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau

1 Jacob went on his way and the angels of God met him;
2 and when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s camp!” So he called that place Mahanaim.
3 Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom,
4 instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have lived with Laban as an alien, and stayed until now;
5 and I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male and female slaves; and I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.'”
6 The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies,
8 thinking, “If Esau comes to the one company and destroys it, then the company that is left will escape.”
9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, and I will do you good,’
10 I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan; and now I have become two companies.
11 Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may come and kill us all, the mothers with the children.
12 Yet you have said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of their number.'”
13 So he spent that night there, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau, 14 two hundred female goats and male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,
15 thirty milch camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys.
16 These he delivered into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on ahead of me, and put a space between drove and drove.”
17 He instructed the foremost, “When Esau my brother meets you, and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?’
18 then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob; they are a present sent to my lord Esau; and moreover he is behind us.'”
19 He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau when you meet him,
20 and you shall say, ‘Moreover your servant Jacob is behind us.'” For he thought, “I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of, and afterwards I shall see his face; perhaps he will accept me.”
21 So the present passed on ahead of him; and he himself spent that night in the camp.
22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had.
24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.
25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”
27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
28Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”
31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle.

 
 

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Jacob Leaves Laban

Jacob leaves Laban

Jacob’s wealth made Laban’s sons jealous. It is sometimes difficult to be happy when others are doing better than we are to compare our success with that of others is a dangerous way to judge the quality of comparing ourselves to others, we may be giving jealously a foothold. We can avoid jealousy by rejoicing in others’ successes. (see Romans 12:15).

Jacob made it a habit to do more than was expected of him. When his flocks were attacked, he took the losses rather than splitting them with Laban. He worked hard even after several pay cuts. His diligence eventually paid off; his flocks began to multiply. Making a habit of doing more than expected can pay off. It (1) pleases God, (2) earns recognition and advancement, (3) enhances your reputation, (4) builds others’ confidence in you, (5) gives you more experience and knowledge and (6) develops your spiritual maturity.

The verses that have touched our hearts while reading the chapter are as follows:
Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”

I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth.'”

Let’s Pray: Lord, it is hard to see through the tough times your greater plan for our lives. We only welcome you in our lives when we are faced with adversities. Heavenly Father, let our waking hours be dedicated to you. Help us give our all in the work you assign to us and be ever graciously thankful to you and your blessings in our lives. Amen.

Chapter 31: Jacob Leaves Laban

1 Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s; he has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.”
2 And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him as favorably as he did before.
3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”
4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was,
5 and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me as favorably as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me.
6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength;
7 yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me.
8 If he said, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped.
9 Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father, and given them to me.
10 During the mating of the flock I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats that leaped upon the flock were striped, speckled, and mottled.
11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’
12 And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the goats that leap on the flock are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you.
13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth.'”
14 Then Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house?
15 Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has been using up the money given for us.
16 All the property that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children; now then, do whatever God has said to you.”
17 So Jacob arose, and set his children and his wives on camels;
18 and he drove away all his livestock, all the property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
19 Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods.
20 And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee.
21 So he fled with all that he had; starting out he crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.
22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled.
23 So he took his kinsfolk with him and pursued him for seven days until he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead.
24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night, and said to him, “Take heed that you say not a word to Jacob, either good or bad.”
25 Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsfolk camped in the hill country of Gilead.
26 Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword.
27 Why did you flee secretly and deceive me and not tell me? I would have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre.
28 And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? What you have done is foolish.
29 It is in my power to do you harm; but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Take heed that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’
30 Even though you had to go because you longed greatly for your father’s house, why did you steal my gods?”
31 Jacob answered Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force.
32 But anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsfolk, point out what I have that is yours, and 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 maids, but he did not find them. And he went out of Leah’s tent, and entered Rachel’s.
34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. Laban felt all about in the tent, but did not find them.
35 And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched, but did not find the household gods.
36 Then Jacob became angry, and upbraided Laban. Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me?
37 Although you have felt about through all my goods, what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsfolk and your kinsfolk, so that they may decide between us two.
38 These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks.
39 That which was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself; of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.
40 It was like this with me: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.
41 These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.
42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”
43 Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about their children whom they have borne?
44 Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I; and let it be a witness between you and me.”
45 So Jacob took a stone, and set it up as a pillar.
46 And Jacob said to his kinsfolk, “Gather stones,” and they took stones, and made a heap; and they ate there by the heap.
47 Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.
48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he called it Galeed,
49 and the pillar Mizpah, for he said, “The LORD watch between you and me, when we are absent one from the other.
50 If you ill-treat my daughters, or if you take wives in addition to my daughters, though no one else is with us, remember that God is witness between you and me.”
51 Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and see the pillar, which I have set between you and me.
52 This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53 May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor” — the God of their father — “judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac,
54 and Jacob offered a sacrifice on the height and called his kinsfolk to eat bread; and they ate bread and tarried all night in the hill country.
55 Early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them; then he departed and returned home.

 
 

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Jacob’s Children

jacobs-family

Rachel and Leah were locked in a cruel contest. In their race to have more children they both gave their maidservants to Jacob as concubines. Jacob would have been wise to refuse, even though this was an accepted custom of the day. The fact that a custom is socially acceptable does not mean it is wise or right. You will be spared much heartbreak if you look at the potential consequences, to you other, of your actions. Are you doing anything now that might cause failure problems?

Eventually God answered Rachel’s prayers and gave her a child of her own. In the meantime, however, she had given her maidservants to Jacob. Trusting God when nothing seems to happen is difficult. But it is harder still to live with the consequences of taking matters into our own hands. Resist the temptation to think God has forgotten you. Have patience and courage to wait for God to act.

The verses that have touched our hearts while reading the chapter are as follows:
Then God remembered Rachel, and God heeded her and opened her womb.

She conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach”;

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, give us the patience to bear our difficult and trying times with prayers and faith. Though we would be tempted to take matters in our hands and try to resolve it but you are all knowing have best interests for us. Help us that display full faith and belief in you. Guide and love us always Lord. Amen

Chapter 30: Jacob’s Children

1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!”
2 Jacob became very angry with Rachel and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
3 Then she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, that she may bear upon my knees and that I too may have children through her.”
4 So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife; and Jacob went in to her.
5 And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.
6 Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son”; therefore she named him Dan.
7 Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.
8 Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed”; so she named him Naphtali.
9 When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
10 Then Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son.
11 And Leah said, “Good fortune!” so she named him Gad.
12 Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son.
13 And Leah said, “Happy am I! For the women will call me happy”; so she named him Asher.
14 In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband?
Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.”
16 When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night.
17 And God heeded Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son.
18 Leah said, “God has given me my hire because I gave my maid to my husband”; so she named him Issachar.
19 And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son.
20 Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good dowry; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons”; so she named him Zebulun.
21 Afterwards she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.
22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God heeded her and opened her womb.
23 She conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach”;
24 and she named him Joseph, saying, “May the LORD add to me another son!”
The birth of Jacob’s flocks
25 When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country.
26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know very well the service I have given you.”
27 But Laban said to him, “If you will allow me to say so, I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you;
28 name your wages, and I will give it.”
29 Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your cattle have fared with me.
30 For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly; and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?”
31 He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything; if you will do this for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it:
32 let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages.
33 So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.”
34 Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.”
35 But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in charge of his sons; 36 and he set a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob was pasturing the rest of Laban’s flock.
37 Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the rods.
38 He set the rods that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink,
39 the flocks bred in front of the rods, and so the flocks produced young that were striped, speckled, and spotted.
40 Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and the completely black animals in the flock of Laban; and he put his own droves apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock.
41 Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob laid the rods in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the rods,
42 but for the feebler of the flock he did not lay them there; so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s.
43 Thus the man grew exceedingly rich, and had large flocks, and male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys.

 
 

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Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

jacob-and-labans-two-daughters

Life is mysterious and god’s ways of making our lives are also full of mystery. We suffer not because we have to suffer but there are great lessons that God wishes us to learn. Although Jacob was tricked by Laban, he kept his part of the bargain. There was more at stake than just Jacob’s hurt. There was Rachel to think about, as well as God’s plan for his life. When we are tricked by others, keeping our part of the bargain may still be wise. Nursing our wounds or plotting revenge makes us unable to see from God’s perspective.

The verses that have touched our hearts while reading the chapter are as follows:
When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.

Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben; for she said, “Because the LORD has looked on my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.”

She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also”; and she named him Simeon.

Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons”; therefore he was named Levi.

She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD”; therefore she named him Judah; then she ceased bearing.

Let’s Pray: Lord, give us the gift of deeper life. Lord, be with us at the time of adversity. Father, help us rise above our faults and sins. Amen.

Chapter 29: Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the people of the east.
2 As he looked, he saw a well in the field and three flocks of sheep lying there beside it; for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large,
3 and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from mouth of the well, and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well.
4 Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.”
5 He said to them, “Do you know Laban son of Nahor?” They said, “We do.”
6 He said to them, “Is it well with him?” “Yes,” they replied, “and here is his daughter Rachel, coming with the sheep.”
7 He said, “Look, it is still broad daylight; it is not time for the animals to be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them.”
8 But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”
9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them.
10 Now when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, and the sheep of his mother’s brother Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of his mother’s brother Laban.
11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and wept aloud.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son; and she ran and told her father.
13 When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him; he embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things,
14 and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.
15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?”
16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful.
18 Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.”
20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.”
22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast.
23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her.
24 (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.)
25 When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”
26 Laban said, “This is not done in our country — giving the younger before the firstborn.
27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.”
28 Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.
29 (Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her maid.)
30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He served Laban for another seven years.
The birth of eleven of Jacob’s sons and Dinah
31 When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.
32 Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben; for she said, “Because the LORD has looked on my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.”
33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also”; and she named him Simeon.
34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons”; therefore he was named Levi.
35 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD”; therefore she named him Judah; then she ceased bearing.

 
 

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