The Chosen One(s)

Near the end of his life, Jacob told Joseph that Joseph’s sons would be as his own sons. Because of this, Jacob asked to bless them. Joseph brought Manasseh, his first born, and Ephraim, his second born, to Jacob. According to natural order, Jacob would’ve placed his right hand on Manasseh, thereby conferring the greater…

Insignificant and Despised

Verses 8 through 27 in Genesis 46 list Jacob’s descendants.  After this, Jacob and his family come to Egypt, settle in Goshen, and meet Pharaoh.  Before meeting Pharaoh, Joseph instructs his relatives to tell Pharaoh they are shepherds.  “Then you will be allowed to settle in the land of Goshen,” Joseph explains, “since all shepherds…

There, There

Spiritually, we don’t mature unless God brings us “there,” to those places of pressure and pain.  We may well ask, “Why?”, and this is the question most on our lips during such seasons.  It is tempting to think we can grow without going “there,” to assure ourselves that suffering isn’t a necessary part of spiritual…

There

After Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, he asked them to bring his father, Jacob, and the rest of their family to Egypt. Jacob was stunned and didn’t believe his sons at first.  But when he at last accepted their report, he couldn’t wait to see Joseph (Gen. 45:26-28). His first night on 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…

Struggling and Prevailing (Part 1)

In fear of meeting his brother, Esau, Jacob sent his family away.  That night, alone, he wrestled with a man until daybreak (Gen. 32:24-32).  The man touched Jacob’s thigh at the hip and put it out of joint.  He told Jacob to release him but Jacob refused, saying he wanted a blessing.  The man told…

Parting Ways

As Jacob increased in wealth, he came into conflict with Laban (Gen. 31:1-2). We’ve seen that Jacob’s increase was the increase of what is spiritual and that this leads to escalating conflict with what is fallen and fleshly. God doesn’t let this conflict go on indefinitely.  God told Jacob to leave Laban.  He brought separation…