The four chapters chosen for today are full of promise, but also trouble and conflict.
January 16: John 15, Genesis 32, Genesis 33, Genesis 34 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
In John 15 Jesus continued his instructions to the disciples. There are many memorable quotes from this chapter: “I am the true vine, I am the vine, you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing, as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, love each other as I have loved you, greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends, this is my command: Love each other” and “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
In Genesis 32 Jacob, schemer as the was, prepared to meet Esau. He figured Esau wanted to kill him, so he split up his company in two, and gave instructions to his messengers on what to say to make Esau less vindictive. Then the Jacob family crossed the Ford of Jabbok. On the other side they camped for the night, and Jacob wrestled with an angel of God and prevailed, but got a limp in his hip. God then ggave Jacob a new, spiritual name, Israel.
In Genesis 33 Jacob finally met up with Esau, and it turned out that Esau was rejoicing to see Jacob and all his children.
Trouble started in Genesis 34. Dinah was violated by an uncircumcised person, two of her brothers executed revenge on not only the violator but every male in the whole town, killing them all. Jacob said: “You have troubled me to make me a stink among the inhabitants of the land.” And so trouble started.
Edom, the hill country of Seir, is Southwest of the Dead sea, a dry near desert like land, but with winter rains and occasional rain at other times.
The descendants of Esau are well documented from Egyptian sources that corroborate the biblical account.
The angels of God are everywhere for those whose eyes are opened.
Jacob is trying to pacify Esau with gifts.
The Ford of Jabbok.
Jacob had his plans, but God….
Rebekah: Let the curse fall on me. She didn’t have it easy after that.
Rebekah was the original inventor of the plot for Isaac to give Jacob the blessing rather than Esau after Jacob had extorted Esau’s birthright. By deceit they fulfilled God’s will. The Bible shows how sinful man can still fulfill God’s purpose.
After Sarah’s death Abraham married one of his concubines. Keturah already had six sons with Abraham, according to first Chronicles:
Ishmael was there at Abraham’s death, and helped bury Abraham. Thus he had not moved far away yet.
Of particular interest is Ishmael’s second son, Kedar. His name is closely associated with Arabia. But Kedar lived much closer to Jerusalem than what the Muslims suggest. They claim he moved to what is now Mecca, but according to Isaiah 60:7 he must have lived much closer.
All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you,
the rams of Nebaioth will serve you;
they will be accepted as offerings on my altar,
and I will adorn my glorious temple.
The lambs and other animals used for sacrifices were raised much nearer Jerusalem so they could more easily be driven as herds.
And this is the reason God said: Esau have I hated. Esau did not consider the spiritual dimension of his birthright.