January 16: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 11:1-44 describes how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (on the fourth day no less).

Jacob arrived in Paddan Aram in Genesis 29, fell in love with Rachel, worked seven years to be allowed to marry her, but her father Laban tricked Jacob, so he got Leah instead. Then he worked another “seven years for Rachel”. But it was Leah that gave him his first four children, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah.

Genesis 30 records the remaining children born to Jacob (except Benjamin, who will be born later). It also tells a story about Rachel, desperate to get a child of her own was bargaining with Leah for Reuben’s mandrakes. After Joseph was born, Jacob wanted to leave and go back to the promised land, but Laban bargained with him to stay and make them even more prosperous. Through selective breeding Jacob acquired the majority of the flocks, and became wealthy.

Psalm 6 is a prayer, this time of a humble David asking for mercy, but also asking God to humiliate David’s enemies.

January 15, read through the Holy Bible in a year in Power-point, with comments.

The three chapters chosen for today deal with departures, promises, and yes, deceit.

January 15: John 14, Genesis 30, Genesis 31 (click on the chapter to begin reading)

John 14 records the events of the hour after the Passover meal before they all depart to Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples he is going away to prepare a mansion, more precisely a dwelling place for them. Since he was leaving he promised to send another comforter or advocate. (I have put in a short explanation on the difference in the interpretation of this passage between Christianity and Islam). Jesus then explained clearly he will be going away and send the Holy Spirit in his place.

Genesis 30 records the remaining children born to Jacob (except Benjamin, who will be born later). It also tells a story about Rachel, desperate to get a child of her own was bargaining with Leah for Reuben’s mandrakes. After Joseph was born, Jacob wanted to leave and go back to the promised land, but Laban bargained with him to stay and make them even more prosperous. Through selective breeding Jacob acquired the majority of the flocks, and became wealthy.

This displeased the sons of Laban, so in Genesis 31 Jacob fled from Laban. However, as Jacob, wives and children all were set to depart, Rachel stole Laban’s idols. Laban found out the idols were missing, pursued Jacob and caught up with him. Laban looked for the idols, at no avail, Rachel had hid them under the saddle of her camel and sat on it claiming she had her period. Finally Laban gave in, said farewell to all and he and Joseph established the Mizpah.

Genesis 30, Jacob’s children, mandrakes, Jacob’s breeding method.

Mandrakes are both narcotic and hallucinogenic, and were used for sorcery and divination, but were also believed to cure sterility. Rachel kept trying anything.

Hitler practised mysticism, and possessed mandrakes. Nowadays mandrakes are used in some Wiccan rituals. And then there was the early 20th century cartoon “Mandrake the Magician”.

So Laban used divination. Many believe that the best way to find water is using a divining rod. If bent the right way it will point down to where water can be found.