Last Updated December 24, 2001
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Chapter 2: 22,23
2:22-23 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man,
made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is
now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man."
This text focuses on the nature and role of women in the Old and New
Testaments of the bible.
Genesis gives us the biblical account of the creation of mankind. It
focuses on God's creation of a male and female man, whom he named Adam
and Eve. The female was called Wo-man because she was intrinsically a "man
with a womb" which is what the word woman means.4
There are two accounts of the creation of mankind in the Genesis. Genesis
1:26-30 describes the creation of mankind in general terms. In Genesis
2:7-25 a more detailed account is given focusing on the order of creation.
Adam was created and given dominion over the earth. A while later God decided
to make a partner for Adam. He took a rib from Adam's side and created
The use of bone tissue from Adam to create Eve is significant. Using
bone tissue is important because bones contain a substance that creates
and makes blood forming cells, called "marrow." Having been given blood
forming cells identical to those of Adam, Eve and her mate were "bone of
bone."They became one blood. Had God chosen to create Eve using the same
method that he used to create Adam the results may not have been the same.
At the very least they would have been partners but not "bone of my bone
and flesh of my flesh."
In the beginning both Adam and Eve shared the same charge: to have dominion
over the earth. The distinctions came when sin was introduced into God's
perfect order. As a result of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden several
punishments were made. Eve was given two punishments 1)Increased pain in
childbirth and 2)Subordination to her husband (Gen. 3:16). Adam was punished
with the curse of "responsibility" and labor.(Gen 3:17-19). From this point
forward the relationship of men and women was defined and woven into the
fabric of society. The Edicts given in Eden formed the theological basis
for the subjugation of women for thousands of years.
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Chapter 4: 8
4:8 "And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to
pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother,
and slew him.
This text focuses on Cain and Abel the first two sons of Adam and Eve
as they presented the fruit of their labor for the approval of God. Cain,
a farmer, brought before God the first fruits of his crops and offered
them in a sacrifice. Abel was a herdsman and brought a sacrifice to God
from the best of his flocks. Both men presented God with a grand sacrifice.
However, God found one sacrifice acceptable and the other unacceptable.
God showed respect to Abel's sacrifice and received it while rejecting
Cain's. God explained to Cain in verses 6-7 that he had no real reason
to be upset. If he came before God in the same way his work could be blessed
too. He warned him in verse 7 however, to beware because the presence of
evil was waiting for an opportunity to seize him. He was warned to be on
Rather than reorder his sacrifice and make himself more acceptable to
God Cain lured Abel to an open field, talked with him for a while, and
then killed him. In the aftermath Cain tried to hide his sin from God who
asked "Where is Abel thy brother?" Cain answered God's question with a
question: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Thus Cain became the first murderer. Abel, his victim, was his own brother,
who crime was that he was hard working and humble and presented his best
self to God and it was accepted. Cain remained unrepentant and a marked
man for the rest of his life, just as his descendants were after him.
The tragedy of rising crime, murder and disrespect for human life is
epitomized by the three questions asked in this text.
Why art thou wroth? This was the question that God asked Cain. Why are
you angry? Today the same question can be posed to those disposed to bring
hurt on others: Why are you angry?
Cain's anger was rooted in the fact that Abel was successful at getting
God's blessing and he was not. What made Abel's sacrifice acceptable was
not the type of offering, but Abel's attitude of faith and humility. Hebrews
11:4 says "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than
Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous..." Rather than
change his attitude, Cain became jealous and envious of his brother.
Even today there are people who are angry with others because they seem
to live a blessed life. God appears to accept your sacrifice and he has
given you a few creature comforts to make life easier and there are those
who are angry, envious, and jealous of you because God likes what you are
doing. Some of them become so angry with you that they work to destroy
you. Sometimes that destruction is literal, in the case of physical murder,
sometimes it is more subtle as they work to destroy your life's work, reputation
Most of the murders which are occurring today are the result of anger
and frustration. Involved in the anger, in many instances, are envy, fear,
and jealousy. Many are choosing to go the way of Cain in that they are
attempting to improve their condition by worsening yours. Somehow they
think status life is graded on a heavenly curve.
"Why are you angry? Why is thou countenance fallen?" God asks. Cain
and none of those who follow him, never fully answered. "Where is Abel
thy brother?" This is the question that God posed to Cain after the murder.
Cain's response indicates a second underlying cause of murder and violent
behavior in our society. Cain responded to God's to God's three questions
by asking "Am I my brother's keeper?" He felt no obligation for the protection
and care of his brother. Neither was there a respect for the value of his
4:10 "..The voice of thy brother's blood, crieth unto from the
These three text verses consider individual instances of shed blood
and a collective expectation of a response for that shed blood.
Cain and Abel both made approaches to God by making sacrificial offerings.
Abel's offering was accepted, but Cain's was, for some reason, not acceptable.
Cain rose up against his brother in vengeance and killed him. When God
asked of Abel's whereabouts Cain asked a question that has been asked many
times since: "Am I my brother's keeper?" God said that Abel's blood cried
out from the ground for God to make a response. Abel's blood cried out
for God to take action to avenge his death.
John looking into the future envisioned the saints waiting in glory,
asking "How long?" before their deaths would be avenged and they would
receive their reward. They, like Abel, were the innocents. They were the
ones persecuted for righteous causes. They were the ones whose blood, sweat
and tears, were given sacrificially to help achieve the kingdom's end.
In both instances the blood of the slain expected a response, the question
was not will God respond, but "how long?"
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Chapter 5: 24
5:24 "And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took
This text first considers Enoch, the father of Methuselah and the grandfather
of Lamech. The five verses that refer to Enoch fall in the midst of a litany
of family genealogies that site the life and death of many of the descendants
The litanies all end the same way...and he died. Seth lived a hundred
and five years...and he died. And all the days of Enos were 915 years...and
he died. And all the Days of Jared were 962 years....and he died. Very
little is said about the lives of these great men except that they begat
children and died.
However in the case of Enoch a special notation was made..."And Enoch
walked with God"
Walking with God is a desirable trait. He who walks with God is one
that learns to pace himself in life, keeping in mind that they that wait
on the Lord, shall renew their strength.
He who walks with God, is one who has a firm grip on the difficulties
of life and has resolved to let God's will be done.
He who walks with God, is one that stands tall though others would belittle
him, and forges on though the storms will cloud his way.
Enoch walked with God and God walked with him.
Secondly this text considers that despite the closeness of Enoch's walk
with God...God took him.
The departure of Enoch was uniquely different from the others listed
in this chapter. Their epitaph concluded bluntly...and he died. However
Enoch's departure was not described as "he died" but that "he was not"
for God "took him."
He was not because God chose him, selected him, and elevated
him...to a grander life where their walk would be continued through all
The Psalmist had this thought in mind when the Psalm 49:15 pronounced:
God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave...for he shall receive
The walk that is perpetual and faithful with God ends with God receiving...or
taking his own.
Psalm 73:23-24 says "Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou
hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and
afterward...receive me to glory."
Enoch was spared the torturous climb up the hills of disappointment
and the quickening descent into the valley shrouded by the shadows of the
dusk of life.
Enoch was spared the despair of sickness and the misery that accompanies
approaching death and swished to his heavenly reward, non-stop, in a twinkling
of an eye...to his father's house.
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Chapter 6: 16
6:16 You shall make a window for the ark,
and you shall finish it to a cubit from above.
This text focuses on the Ark of Noah and the way God provided
for its ventilation and light.
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Chapter 15: 15
The history of Noah's Ark is steeped in the ungodliness
of men. While the first five chapters of Genesis tell of the wonder of
God's creation, they also tell about the sinfulness of man. That sinfulness
disturbed God so much that regretted his decision to create man. God warned
Noah of His intentions to destroy the earth because of the wickedness of
humanity. Noah was commanded to build an ark to God's specifications to
save his family and representatives of all animals from the flood (Gen.
Because the Ark would save Noah and his family from
destruction, it has become a symbol of faith on the part of Noah
and a symbol of grace on the part of God (Gen. 6:8,22).
According to Holman, the shape of the ark was unusual.
Although the Bible does not give enough detail to enable a full model to
be made, the ark was apparently not shaped like a boat, either ancient
or modern. The shape more closely approximates a giant block. The length
was 300 cubits (about 450 feet), the width was 50 cubits (about 75 feet),
and the height was 30 cubits (about 45 feet), overall dimensions that resemble
the dimensions of a giant house (Gen. 6:15). The ark had three floors filled
with rooms (Gen. 6:14,16).
Some have estimated that the Ark was bigger than
most steamships with a storage capacity so large that it could have easily
store 600 freight cars on board filled with a combined tonnage of 90 million
The ark was built of gopher wood (Gen. 6:14) which
may have been a variety of cypress.
Despite its great size the Ark only had and one
window and one door (Gen. 6:16).
That fact has marveled those who have studied the
Ark for centuries. A three story luxury liner sized boat with only one
door that had to be sealed and opened from the outside and one 25 inch
window seemed impossible. They questioned how so many animals could survive
for so long without light or air. Although the text only refers to "one
window" some scholars seems to think that this would be an impossibility,
sense air and light would be needed to sustain life on board a giant boat
for one year and 17 days. They suggest that there was probably one window
on each floor. Even if they were correct, three 25 inch windows for a boat
that size would still be a miracle.
They survived the darkness, with only one window!
They survived the stench of life, with only one window!
They overcame every imaginable reason why they should
fail, inspired by the light of only one window!
The window was so small that the only thing that
Noah could see when he looked out was the waters God saved him from and
heaven from which would ultimately come his help and salvation.
Since there was no large body of water stood nearby
on which Noah could have floated such a large boat, its very construction
attested to Noah's unwavering faith in God. When he constructed the
Ark there was no obvious or visible need for such a vessel. To have built
such a vessel at that place and at that time was clearly an act of tremendous
faith in the message of God that the vessel would be needed (Gen. 6:17-19).
Noah dared to believe that he had properly understood God and that God
could be depended upon (Gen. 6:22).
The fact that it only had one small window underscores
Noah's faith, enough to lock himself within and trust God for light, air
15:15:"And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried
in a good old age."
This text focuses on promises God made to two old and faithful servants
of the Old Testament, Abraham and Isaiah. Both men received promises from
God that because of their faithfulness that they would live to achieve
a "good old age" and enjoy its fruits. They were promised the sustaining
presence of God in their strength, in their retiring years and in their
Abraham lived a life of faith in God. His life was marked by great displays
of loyalty to and faith in God. God promised him great lands, a large and
prosperous family and the blessing of being the family through which the
opportunity for salvation would come to the earth. Abraham was promised
that he would live to see a good old age. When Abraham's life ended he
was 175 years old. By comparison, Abraham died at a relatively young age.
Adam lived 930 years. Seth did not have his first child until he was 105
and died at age 912. Methuselah lived 969 years. Enos lived 905 years and
Cainan lived 910. Therefore by comparison, Abraham's mere 175 years would
have to seem something short of the life expectancy of his time..physically,
175 years old was not considered the time to die. Yet Abraham was described
as having died at a good old age. What made his old age good was not the
numbers and the length of his life, but the quality of the years lived.
This text also focuses on a promise of long, fruitful and abundant life
that God made to his servant Abraham. Abraham, who has been characterized
in scripture as a man of great faith and trust in God was only one of three
men in scripture that have been described as men who lived to see a "good
old age." Gideon, the great warrior who reduced his forces to 300 men on
the command of God and faced his enemy on faith alone,was described as
one who died in a "good old age." David, whose life was characterized by
strength, action and humility before God was also described as one who
died a "good old age." The only other person described in this manner was
Abraham. Abraham lived a life devoted to God and his family. Even in his
golden years he found favor with God and learned that even in his 90's
there was still work for him to do.
There is apparently a difference between "old age" and a "good old age."
This is clear when it is noted that Abraham was in his mid 90's when God
spoke to him in this text and made him a promise that he would have a child,
a great family and many blessings. Abraham was elderly, but there was still
work for him to do. The description of a "good old age" was applied to
the three men whose dedication, service and faith excelled above all others.
In Genesis 25:8, over 80 years later, Abraham died and his death is recorded
this way: "Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age,
an old man, and full years; and was gathered to his people."
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Chapter 19: 26
19:26 "But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became
a pillar of salt."
This text focuses on words of Jesus as he warned his disciples about
becoming too attached to the things of this world. His urging was that
they should never be caught, even for a moment, outside of obedience to
God because his return could be any moment. He illustrated his point with
three words: "Remember Lot's Wife!"
Genesis 19 gives the account of Lot, a righteous man, who lived in the
city of Sodom with his wife and two daughters. Sodom was a city of decadence,
homosexuality, and willful disobedience to God's will. Lot had chosen the
cities of the plain because they offered exciting opportunities. Since
there is no record of his coming to Sodom with a wife, it is believed that
he met and married his wife in Sodom, a city that made its fortune from
the mining of salt. Salt mining and the profits made from its sale made
for comfortable living in Sodom. The people lived and dressed well, lived
prosperously, and enjoyed themselves because of the thriving salt business.
When God sent angels to deliver Lot and his family from destruction in
Sodom, they were told the leave the city, run for the mountains and don't
look back. On the day of the destruction angels took Lot and his family
by the hand and pulled them to the outskirts of the city and pointed them
toward the mountains. But as the rain of fire came down from heaven, destroying
the prosperity of the city, Lot's wife stopped going forward and looked
back as she watched all of the pleasant memories of her past go up in smoke.
At that point God turned her into a pillar of salt, the embodiment of her
hopes and dreams. Lot and the remainder of the family kept walking and
did not look back.
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Chapter 22: 7
22: 7 "And Isaac spake unto Abraham his
father, and said, my father; and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said,
Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
This text focuses upon the Patriarch Abraham as he responds to a command
of God which asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac. The willingness of Abraham
to obey God is one of the finest examples of faith in scripture. When he
traveled to the mountain top Abraham carried with him the essentials of
the sacrifice, fire, wood and his son.
While much has been said about Abraham's obedience there is a wealth
of importance in the question asked by young Isaac: "Where is the lamb?"
Sacrifices required an altar, wood, fire and the shedding of blood.
The word "altar" means simply a "high place" or that which "lifts up."
No sacrifices were made unless there was a way to lift it up. Upon the
mountain Abraham constructed an altar to lift up his sacrifice to God.
To come in contact with the altar was to come in touch with the claims
and character of God himself.
Abraham carried with him a knife, the wood and fire. In biblical times
fire making was a tedious process. There were no matches, or lighter fuels
that could make quick fires. Once a fire was lit, it was a labor of love
to keep it burning for the family. Special holders and carriers were designed
to carry burning coals from place to place. The fire of the altar represents
the presence of God. When Israel constructed the Tabernacle, they were
told by Moses never to let the fire go out and to keep it burning continuously.
Isaac said to his father: "Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the
Isaac's question was prompted by the fact that all sacrifices required
the shedding of blood. An altar, no matter how beautiful and well constructed
had no purpose, unless it lifted up the blood of the sacrifice. Fire and
wood, no matter how well they are maintained serve no purpose unless they
have a sacrifice to bring before God.
Where is the lamb? Abraham's response to his son's question was that
God would provide the lamb. His statement was direct and yet prophetic.
For directly afterwards the Lord showed him a ram caught in the bushes
that would be used for the sacrifice. Prophetically, Abraham's belief that
God would provide the lamb, referred to the coming of the lamb of God who
would be sacrificed for the sins of men.
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Chapter 24: 67,
24:67: And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and
took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was
comforted after his mother's death. Genesis 24:67
Genesis 24 records the classic love story of Isaac and Rebekah. Abraham
became concerned that his son Isaac had no wife. Since it was the custom
of the time that fathers would arrange for the marriages of their children,
Abraham sent his trusted servant to look for a wife for his son. The servant
traveled to a distant village. He did not know how to pick a bride for
his employer's son so he turned the matter over to God. At verse 42 he
asks God to show him the right woman. The servant told God that he would
say "Give me, I pray thee, a ittle water of thy pitcher to drink" and the
girl, if she's the right girl should respond "Both drink thou, and I will
also draw for they camels."
As it happened the servant looked around a a beautiful young woman came
to the well to get water. He asked his coded question and to his surprise
the woman answered the exact words that he had chosen as a confirmation
of his blessing. The servant hurriedly found his way to the girl's father.
He produced expensive jewelry, fine necklaces and other presents for Rebekah.
The family members were also given great presents. At verse 58 Rebekah
was finally called in and asked whether or not she would go, sight unseen,
to marry the stranger and she said "I will go."
On the return trip the servant moved hurriedly. Isaac had been away
and was not aware that his father had sent for him a wife. At verse 63
Isaac was meditating in the field one night when the camel caravan returned.
As he walked to meet the caravan, Rebekah saw him and instantly got off
the camel. When she was told who he was she veiled her face as was the
custom. When Isaac looked at her and then was told the story of his father's
selection of her Isaac married her on the spot and loved her the rest of
his life. Throughout the rest of his Isaac provided for her, protected
her and honored her. She became the mother of Jacob and Esau and even though
she tricked and deceived him concerning which of the sons should receive
his blessing, he loved her until death.
Isaac's love for Rebekah on the surface appears to be at first sight.
In reality it was a gradual love that developed through the years by successive
action. Since love is an action word, the phrase "he loved her" implies
that he took actions that showed his love. While there may have been an
attraction, the love he bestowed was an act of the will and not of the
One key element of the success of this relationship is that it is a
union that God brought together. Two partners who both willingly agree
to submit themselves to the will of God. Even today, love must go beyond
mere physical attraction. Love has to be a spiritual attraction. It is
an instance where God has opened the eyes of two people to the point that
they peer into each other's souls, and decide to love them despite what
is seen. It's that inner person that lives forever. That's why it is important
to look beyond the physical into the soul and look for God. We should avoid
being uequally yoked, that is having a mate who has not love of or respect
for God, for it makes the Christian life incomplete at the least and unbearable
at the worse.
Issac and Rebekah did not fall in love at first sight. They decided
to love at first sight and never backed away from their decision.
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Chapter 28: 12, 18
28:12 "And he dreamed and behold a ladder set
up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels
of God ascending and descending on it."
This text focuses on Jacob's vision at a place he named Bethel. Jacob
had been away from home for two decades. During this time he had amassed
a small fortune and married two wives. Despite his material success he
still had one more obstacle that stood between himself and happiness, mending
his relationship with his brother Esau. The relationship had gone sour
many years before. Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright when both of
them were children. Later as young adults, his mother helped him to make
itofficial and he cheated his brother out of his blessing and inheritance.
Jacob's life as a trickster haunted him. As he prepared to return home,
he worried about his safety, since his brother had threatened to kill him
when he left two decades earlier.
Jacob's journey in life had come full circle. He had been a trickster
who had been the victim of tricks himself. No doubt he worried whether
his luck was taking a change for the worse. He was unsure about his future
and his life. In this context God showed him a vision at night that revealed
to him that there was great promise to his life. He saw a great ladder
in his dream. Angels both descended and ascended the ladder in a regular
pattern between earth and heaven. It was a hint that the promises God gave
him would end with one that would give access to heaven freely to all.
Angels go from heaven to earth and vice versa suggests free access, which
was unusual considering the distance that every man kept between himself
and God in Jacob's day.
`The separation that Jacob envisioned would be fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
Jesus himself said in John 1:51 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter
ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon the Son of man." The prophetic picture Jacob saw was but a sign of
the mediation role that Christ would play between God and man.
Christ projected himself as the link or ladder between God and man.
Separated by a gulf of sin, Christ came to offer humanity a way back to
heaven. Our sin was so great that no mere animal sacrifice could substitute
for us. Nothing short of the blood of the lamb of God could suffice. Jesus
became our mediator. He became our ladder to glory. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 puts
it this way: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus;Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified
in due time.
The vision that Jacob saw was just a glimpse of things to come. To him
it was a sign that God had not abandoned him. It was a sign that he should
continue his journey, step by step, mile by mile, until he returned home.
For us, Jacob's vision is a reminder that the only link we have to God
is Jesus. With him we have the continued assurance, just as Jacob had,
that if we climb each rung of life's ladder, one rung at a time, we will
get home someday.
28:18 "And Jacob rose up early in the morning and took the
stone that he had put for his pillow and set it up for a pillar and poured
oil upon the top of it."
This text introduces Jacob, one of the three prominent patriarchs of
the nation of Israel. Jacob is an important character in the history of
Israel because the nation bears his name, after it was changed in an all
night wrestling match with an angel. Jacob was the heir of the promises
of God made to Abraham his grandfather. His twelve sons became the representatives
of the 12 tribes of Israel. He was an important influence on the nation,
leading his family with prophetic vigor for several generations.
The text finds Jacob on a pilgrimage to the home of his uncle Laban
to find himself a wife. Along the way he became weary and he made himself
a bed on the ground and used a large stone for a pillow.
In the course of his slumber, the Lord talked to Jacob and caused him
to see visions of grandeur in the form of a giant ladder, extended from
earth to heaven and traveled by angels descending and ascending. It was
an awe inspiring sight that lingered in his mind after he awoke.
Impressed with a fresh vision from God, Jacob reconsecrated himself
to the service of God.
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Chapter 29: 18, 20
29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said,
I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. Genesis
The story of Jacob and Rachel is another classic biblical love story.
Jacob, the son of Isaac left home and travel to lands inhabited by his
uncle Laban. While there he met a beautiful woman at the well and instantly
kissed her and cried with joy. It was love at first sight. She was so beautiful
that it didn't matter to him that she was his first cousin and he made
a bargain with his uncle to marry her in exchange for seven years of labor.
He worked daily, driven by the thought that after seven years Rachel would
be his prize. However, at the end of the seven years Jacob learned that
it was the custom for the oldest daughter to marry first, so in order to
get Rachel he had to agree to work another seven years. Disappointed, Jacob
worked another seven years to win the hand of the woman he fell in love
with at the well. After 14 years and two wives, Jacob finally married Rachel
and she kept a special place in his heart all of his life. Even after she
died Jacob showed special favor on her children Benjamin and Joseph.
What is striking about this case of love at first sight was what Jacob
was willing to do to win the hand and affection of Rachel. She was willing
to work 14 years to get the woman he wanted.
What woman in her right mind could refuse the affection of a man who
was willing to go that far just to win her hand? Would she have a problem
submitting to leadership? Could she learn to love him? The love that developed
between Jacob and Rachel was sparked by his actions toward her. His love
was shown by his willingness to risk all to provide for her and to win
29:20 "And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed
unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
This text focuses on the romance and marriage of Jacob and Rachel.
Jacob was a colorful and important figure in Old Testament history.
Nearly half the Book of Genesis tells his story. He was respected and revered
so much by Old Testament believers that no one else gave their child that
name. Only in the New Testament is there another named Jacob and he was
the father of Joseph the husband of Mary.
By all standards Jacob was a very successful man. He was well organized,
a leader of his generation and by every measure a successful man. Early
in his life he caught a glimpse of future promises as he came face to face
with the realization that his life goals were dependent upon his ability
climb by the power of God. He envisioned a ladder that reached into glory
with angels ascending and descending. In that hour he met God at a place
he called Bethel. From the day he met the Lord his life became a gradual
climb, round by round, toward higher heights, guided by the hand of God.
Jacob enjoyed the good life. Through hard work and sacrifice he accumulated
considerable resources and was able to live a comfortable life. He worked
well with people and developed a large staff of assistants and subordinates
whose daily actions he directed and supervised. He invested wisely and
managed his resources well. Even though he was away from home, he continued
to worship God and ordered his life in a way that pleased Him. He blessed
God by living a God fearing life and God blessed him with health and prosperity.
In addition to living the good life, Jacob was also able to experience
real love. He fell in love with a beautiful young lady named Rachel. He
was so captivated by her that he was willing to go to any extent to claim
her as his own. He worked 14 years for the right to marry her. During these
14 years he was sustained by hope and anticipation. He worked hard every
day to claim her. As he labored 14 Summers, 14 winters, 14 springs 14 falls
and 5,110 days he was not injured in spirit. It all seemed "but just a
Jacob's story is a story of a God fearing life. It is also a story of
a man who was deliriously in love. It was a life and a love that was so
intense and fast moving that when it was over.. it seemed but a few days!
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Chapter 31: 3
31:3 There are many who have been estranged from their families
for many years. When they consider going home, they don't know what to
expect. Their last encounter wasn't the best and they troubled by the prospect
of going home.
Such was the case with Jacob. He and his brother Esau had been on bad
terms for over 20 years. Neither had seen or spoken to the other. Esau
had sworn that he would kill his brother because he had stolen his birth
right and cheated him out of his father's blessing. The family was in disarray.
Mother tended to favor Jacob over Esau and bad blood was everywhere. When
God told Jacob to return to his family in Genesis 31:3, Jacob did not know
what to expect. He was at crossroads. He agonized over whether or not he
should go home. He tossed and turned in his sleep. Just before making his
decision, he wrestled with an Angel and evolved with a firm resolution
to return to his kindred.
There are many siblings today that are torn in a similar way. Some have
left for one reason or another and have cut off all connections with the
family. On occasion the thought of going home or calling the family occurs
but rarely happens because they don't know what to expect. What they remember
is what they last experienced. Jacob rose above his fear of the unknown
and found that his brother Esau had forgiven him and welcomed him home
with arms wide open. Many today might find Jacob's experience similar to
their own, especially if the spirit of God has spoken to their soul and
said "go home to thy kindred."
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Chapter 37: 18, 19,
37:18-20 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came
near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one
to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us
slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast
hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams."
This text considers Joseph and his brothers as envy and jealously causes
a bitter family feud that almost ended in Joseph's death.
Joseph,a son of Jacob, was his favorite son, having been born when Jacob
was 91. He was the son of Jacob's true love: Racheal, and although he had
other sons by his other wife, Leah, it was Rachael that was close to his
heart. When Racheal died, Joseph took a place of importance in Jacob's
life, moreso than the other sons. Joseph's favorite position was symbolized
by a gift from his father of a "coat of many colors." This angered his
brothers who were jealous of the special attention that he received. At
Gen. 37:4 their hatred is noted this way: "And when his brethern saw that
their father loved him more than all his brethern, they hated him and could
not speak peaceably unto him." They did not like to be in his company and
whenever they spoke to him it rarely in a peaceful tone.
Making matters worse was the fact that Joseph was gifted with visionary
talents from God. He visions of future events for himself and had the ability
to interpret the dreams of others. One of his dreams involved his own future,
which was to be a great ruler. His dreams disturbed his brothers because
they always pictured them in a subserviant role, either bowing down to
or serving Joseph. This angered them further. Each time they saw Joseph
they saw his coat of many colors and rekindled
their hatred. His new revelations about dreams of rising fame and influence
made them increasingly bitter.
Ultimately the brothers decided to kill their brother. They planned
to kill him and tell their father that some evil beast had caused his death.
Joseph's death was only avoided when one of the brothers, Reuben, talked
the others into putting him in a pit instead of killing him. While Reuben
was jealous of Joseph, he hadn't reached the point of murder, but he did
want to teach him a lesson.
The feud between the brothers led to Joseph's eventually being sold
into slavery, freed from his imprisonment and given a high status in the
Egyptian kingdom. In return, Joseph ended the feud by refusing to return
evil for evil, forgave them and caused them to be special guests of the
nation for many years.
37:19: Joseph was the favorite son
of his father Jacob. That favorite son status often drew the envy of his
brothers who were jealous of his position. Joseph's position became dangerously
imperiled when he shared his dreams with them. The dreams exacerbated the
problem because they depicted the brothers in a surbordinate role to Joseph,
bowing down to him and treating him as their lord Dreams in the Old Testament
are rarely mentioned, except in the Books of Daniel and Genesis. In these
instances, dreams are characterized as instruments used by God to depict
future states. God used a dream to give Solomon an opportunity to ask for
anything he wished in 1 Kings 3:5. He also used dreams to speak to the
Babylonian King about his ultimate fall from grace. Prophets were often
given directions in dreams.
In the New Testament, references to dreams were
very few. It appears that The New Testament placed very little importance
on dreams. They were certainly mentioned much less than in the Old Testament.
There are only six references and one citation to dreams or dreamers. It
is significant that all these references are in the book of Matthew and
still more significant that Jesus nowhere refers to dreams, evidently attaching
little if any importance to them as instruments by which God would speak
to individuals. The references in Matthew are confined entirely to warnings
and announcements. The one citation is in Acts 2:17 which referred to an
Old Testament prophecy about old men dreaming dreams and young men seeing
While dreams were diminished as a communication tool of
choice, there were grand visions in both the Old and New Testaments. Prophets
painting sweeping pictures of the destruction of Israel, as well as its
restoration. Jesus didn't use dreams, but spoke of the Kingdom of God and
the Kingdom of Heaven in a way that painted a futuristic picture of the
advanced state of all believers.
Many of the dreams of the Old Testament were personal.
The Butler's dream, interpreted by Joseph was personal. The baker's dream
was personal. They both dealt with the personal fate of individuals and
focused on them. The biblical trend seems to suggest that God gradually
shifted from speaking "in" dreams to "giving" dreams or visions. That is,
grand visions for the good of the people were given to the people, but
not necessarily in a dream. Thus, Ezekiel was carried to a valley of dry
bones, in a vision. The vision was not about Ezekiel but a broader, grander
picture than simply one man in a valley of bones. It was about the restoration
of an entire nation.
The Kingdom of God characterized by Christ is bigger than
one man. It involves the whole world. It also involves a dream powered
by the spirit of God. As such, the dream of transforming the world by one
carpenter and a rag tag collection of unlearned men from the most
non-productive region of the nation, could be realized. It could be realized,
not because they wanted to make a name for themselves, but because what
they wanted was the same as what God wanted and he helped make it happen.
The great biblical leaders had visions, rather than dreams.
Those visions moved an entire nation to believe in trust in God more fully
37:20 This text focuses on the boy Joseph
as he became the victim of the futile efforts of his brothers to kill his
dream. Joseph, a favorite son of his father Jacob was the object of scorn
among his brothers both because of his favored treatment and because of
his dreams. Joseph constantly dreamed a series of dreams that portrayed
himself as a superior and his family members as subordinates. In one instance
(v7) he saw his family binding sheaves in the field, but Joseph's sheave
stood up straight while those of other family members bowed before him.
In another instance he envisioned the Sun and the Moon and eleven stars
bowing before him. (v9). His dream angered his brothers and disturbed his
father. His brothers were so disturbed that they decided at one point to
kill him, to stop the endless litany of dreams that depicted Joseph's rise
and their subjection. Joseph was eventually thrown into a pit and left
One of his brothers came back and sold him to traveling merchants who
sold him into service in Egypt. He was imprisoned but was later released
and given a high station in the kingdom. Years later as the entire land
suffered from a famine and his brothers came to buy food. He stood in royal
garments as a ruler of Egypt and they bowed before him, fulfilling the
dream. He forgave them, enriched them and protected for the remainder of
their days. His was a dream that refused to die.
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Chapter 41: 41, 42
41:41-42 "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee
over the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and
arrayed him in vestures of linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.."
This text considers Joseph, a favorite son of Jacob. As a youth Joseph
had dreams of being in high places of authority and power. His dream pictured
his brothers and humbling themselves before him. He often told his brothers
about his dreams and it angered them. They devised a plan to kill him and
end his persistent talk about excelling over them. He was put into a pit
and his brothers told his father that he was killed by a wild animal.
Joseph began a jaggered rise to success. Sometimes he rose sometimes
he fell. In the pit Joseph reached a low point in his life. He was rejected
by his brethern, alone and abandoned. But he was soon sold to some traveling
merchants who carried him to Egypt. In Egypt he was promoted to head of
a household's servants. He refused to compromise his integrity no matter
how he was falsely accused of sexual improprieties and was jailed wrongly.
He made a step up, then was knocked back.
In jail he rose to prominence as well. He was given charge over the
other prisoners and so well liked that he was trusted beyond measure by
the keeper of the prison because the keeper perceived that God was with
Joseph. In prison he interpreted the dreams of fellow inmates and those
dreams ultimately came true.
When one inmate he helped became free and was in the presence of the
Pharaoh, he told him about Joseph. He told of Joseph's amazing gift to
interpret dreams and the King was so impressed with David's abilities that
he was given a high place in the king. He was promoted from the dungeon
to a palace in a moment.
The uniqueness of Joseph's rapid rise is that in each instance he did
not ask for any promotions. He did not seek to rise high or to gain prominence,
it came as a result of his work. He had proven himself to be a man that
could be trusted to do a job well. He also was promoted because people,
like the jailer, were able to see that God was working through him to do
a great work and they went far beyond their normal responses to help him
in the work.
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