When running is bad for your health (Genesis 31)

Run, or reconcile?

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Jacob has a history of running instead of sorting things out. Remember how he ran from Esau? Well, it’s happening again. It tends to do that when you don’t resolve things. Continue reading “When running is bad for your health (Genesis 31)”

Jacob in exile: hope in difficult times (Genesis 29–30)

Despite Jacob’s failures, YHWH establishes the foundation of his kingdom.

In the third generation, the promises God gave to Abraham hang on a knife-edge. Jacob is the sole person who can advance the vision of descendants in the land (YHWH’s nation), but he has splintered the family and abandoned the land. The whole kingdom project dangles like a thread. Continue reading “Jacob in exile: hope in difficult times (Genesis 29–30)”

Jacob’s new direction (Genesis 28:18-22)

What turns someone around? A revelation of who God is.

Jacob’s alone. In the dark. Fleeing with nothing. With no one. His greed destroyed his family. He hopes Esau doesn’t find him.

None of this changes the sovereign’s plans. The God who promised land and descendants and blessing to his father and grandfather reveals himself to Jacob. Yes, Jacob goes into exile for his sins, but he does not go alone: Continue reading “Jacob’s new direction (Genesis 28:18-22)”

Jacob’s dream: a portal between heaven and earth (Genesis 28:10-17)

Jacob dreamed of a ladder linking God’s two realms. We’d probably call it a portal. What is the connection between heaven and earth?

Jacob is fleeing for his life. He’s leaving the land God promised to Abraham. He has no reason to come back. His father is dying. He’ll never see his mother again. For his own safety, he hopes he never sees his brother either. Continue reading “Jacob’s dream: a portal between heaven and earth (Genesis 28:10-17)”

Abraham’s family disintegrates (Genesis 27)

How can God’s rescue plan work when the problems that shattered humanity in the beginning threaten to destroy Abraham’s family?

You’ve advertised for help with a bakery in a country town. Two people apply. The first asks prying questions about your business model, disquieting questions that leave you feeling you can’t trust him. The other doesn’t bother showing up for the interview. You have to call him and remind him. So, who do you hire? They one you can’t trust? Or the one who couldn’t care less?

Continue reading “Abraham’s family disintegrates (Genesis 27)”

Isaac: the next kingdom representative (Genesis 26)

The Isaac narrative is all about the way Abraham’s descendants must follow in his footsteps.

Since Abraham laid the foundation of the nation that would restore the blessing of divine reign to the earth, what Abraham’s descendants must do is to follow in his footsteps. The Genesis narrator makes this point in the way he recounts Isaac’s life. Continue reading “Isaac: the next kingdom representative (Genesis 26)”

Abraham’s life: a summary (Genesis 12–25)

Abraham lived his entire life for the kingdom of God.

Abraham is the most significant human so far. The narrator devoted more space to Abraham than to Adam, Cain, Lamech, Seth, Enoch, Noah, and Shem combined. Why was Abraham so important? His significance was his contribution to the kingdom of God. Continue reading “Abraham’s life: a summary (Genesis 12–25)”

Rebekah’s romance (Genesis 24:22-67)

How would the story of Genesis 24 have felt from Rebekah’s point of view?

Rebekah is caught up in a romantic mystery beyond her wildest dreams. She’s a beautiful girl who has kept herself pure. A wealthy traveller has turned up in her corner of the world. After showing him hospitality, she learns he’s not really a stranger but the servant of a long-lost relative. Apparently Abraham has been very successful, and is seeking a suitable bride for his son who will inherit his good fortune. The guest showers her with expensive jewellery and dresses suitable for a princess. It’s all very sudden and unexpected, but it might be the opportunity of a lifetime. Continue reading “Rebekah’s romance (Genesis 24:22-67)”

A test for the bride (Genesis 24:13-21)

In seeking a bride for Isaac, why did Abraham’s servant set this particular test?

The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah must be important: Genesis 24 is the longest chapter in Genesis. The narrator repeats details multiple times. It’s a royal wedding, and we’re introduced to the princess of the kingdom, or at least of the nation that will represent YHWH’s kingdom. Continue reading “A test for the bride (Genesis 24:13-21)”