Dead in the Water

Not long ago, I was going about my day when a bit of pride strutted through my soul. I can’t even remember what it was about. But my reaction was, Ugh. Every thought of my mind is only evil all the time! I realized I was paraphrasing Genesis 6:5, where God is grieved he made mankind because…

The Stranger Inside

Because there was famine in Canaan, Jacob sent 10 of his sons to Egypt, where he heard there was grain for sale (Gen. 42:2-3).  When Jacob’s sons came before Joseph, he recognized them, but they didn’t recognize him (Gen. 42:7-8). We have seen how Joseph’s life foreshadows Christ’s death and resurrection.  Joseph’s brothers hated him…

Life out of Death

Joseph embodies the key reality of spirituality: life out of death.  God is a God of life out of death.  This is His way.  Everything He does or creates expresses it.  If we would truly know the Lord, our experience will be marked by life out of death. Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit…

Turning Tricks (Part 2)

When Tamar posed as a prostitute in order to get Judah to sleep with her, he promised to pay her a goat.  Tamar wanted some assurance.  She didn’t care about the payment; if she got pregnant she would need to show that her pregnancy fell under the duty Judah’s family had to carry on the…

Turning Tricks (Part 1)

Genesis 38 shows that God doesn’t function by the knowledge of good and evil.  The Lord put Judah’s son, Er, to death because he was evil.  This left his wife, Tamar, alone without a child or heir.  Er’s brother, Onan, should’ve fathered a child with Tamar but didn’t.  The Lord also put Onan to death….

Dreams and Suffering

Joseph dreamt his brothers were sheaves of wheat that bowed to his sheaf; he dreamt the sun, moon, and 11 stars all bowed to his star.  His brothers hated him because of his dreams, and because he was his father’s most loved son.   One day, their hatred brimmed over.  They stripped Joseph of the…

The Pain of Childbirth

After leaving Bethel, Rachel goes into labor.  It is hard labor.  She dies while birthing a son.  Scripture says, “With her last breath—for she was dying—she named him Ben-oni, but his father called him Benjamin” (Gen. 35:18).  Ben-oni means, “Son of my sorrow,” while Benjamin means, “Son of my right hand.” This turn of names…

Settling at Bethel

After the incident with Shechem, the Lord tells Jacob to go to Bethel and settle there.  Jacob went to Bethel with all his family, servants, and livestock.  Then, “Jacob built an altar there and called the place God of Bethel because it was there that God had revealed Himself to him when he was fleeing…

Staying Buried

In Genesis 34, Leah’s daughter, Dinah, is raped by Hivite Prince Shechem.  Infatuated, Shechem bargains with Jacob and his sons to make Dinah Shechem’s wife.  Jacob’s sons tell Shechem he can’t have Dinah unless he and their men are circumcised.  The Hivites agree. They will benefit by mingling with the Hebrews: flocks and possessions will…

Struggling and Prevailing (Part 2)

Please read part one before continuing… Jacob named the place he wrestled with God, “Face of God,” adding that he saw God’s face and was delivered (Gen. 32:30).  In a sense, seeing God’s face and dislocating his hip were of a piece.  Said another way, Jacob’s hip was dislocated because he saw God’s face. We…