Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 11: Genesis: Chapters 30, 31, 32

Woodcut for "Die Bibel in Bildern", ...Image via Wikipedia
Whew! So much happened in these condensed, action packed segments of history.  There is no depiction of an idyllic, pastoral married life where everyone is pleasant, agreeable, and kind.  The prior chapter ended with Leah, who knew she was the unloved wife, bearing four sons.  Rachel, who was loved by Jacob, was jealous of her sister who bore children.  Rachel ranted at Jacob who, in turn, became angry with her, hurtling sharp, stinging words at her.  I can almost hear the yelling, the insults, the squabbling children, the crying that emanated from this patriarch's house.  No, there was no peace or happiness there.

I am certain that no-one could believe that they even had any special relationship with God.

These chapters are filled with people who used their own resources, their self-willed ingenuity,  to accomplish God's will.  Discord, deception, superstitious beliefs, enmity between sisters, suspicion amongst brothers dominated the interactions in Jacob's family.  Each sister also gave Jacob an additional wife/concubine as they competed to produce more children.

All of these people knew the promise which was the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God promised Abraham the land of Canaan and he promised him descendants as numerous as the stars.   But each man, when faced with a great trial, failed to rest in God's promise.  Instead of resting in the knowledge that God was sovereign and that he would bring about about what he had promised, Jacob countenanced his wives competition for his affection.  

It's a good thing that God's promises are not based on how much man deserves God's favor.  While Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob believed God to varying degrees, God never wavered from his everlasting covenant agreement with them.  Although each of these men would probably have had a happier, easier life if he rested in God's ability to make good on his promises rather than try, on their own, to make them happen,  it is comforting to see how God blessed them in spite of their shortcomings.  Men will always fail, but God remains Sovereign and constant.

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