Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jacob's Journeys

This Sunday is going to be a wonderful Sunday.  Why?  Because my Au kids will be back!  I could just dance.  But tonight I celebrate by doing laundry. 

Since I decided to split my last Jacob lesson into two lessons with the kids, they will actually be ahead of my lesson with Aubrie.  So the question is, should I proceed with the next lesson or discuss the past four weeks?  As I normally underestimate my time, and my lessons are way too short, I will probably ask if she has any questions from before and if we have time, we'll read the lesson I planned for this week.

This week, the kids will follow Jacob from his home to the place where he sees the stairway to heaven.  Now that Led Zeppelin is in your head, Genesis 28:10-22 finds Jacob passed out on a rock as a pillow as he envisions a stairway with angels going up and down.  God reminds Jacob of what he promised to Abraham, but includes that God will protect him and bring him back to Canaan.  Abraham only left Canaan once and lied about his wife in Egypt.  As Isaac did the same thing in Gerar, it was good to remind Jacob of his protection and return to Canaan.  Jacob made many mistakes, but he never repeated the lying mistake of his father and grandfather. 

And we must always remember that Jesus is the very stairway to heaven.  He is the one that lets people see the glorious entrance to his Kingdom and blesses anyone he wishes to bless.  Like I said yesterday, he's the Bridge to cross the Great Divide.

I still don't have my Sunday School material for Aubrie.  I gave them to her father, Shannon.  I've had a hard time coordinating.  I thought I'd do it today, but I remembered that I scheduled an interview with our State Court judge for a class project.  I suppose I might just facebook his wife, Megan or something. 

But according to plan, my lesson with her will be Genesis 29:31-31:55: Laban's trickery and Jacob's marriages and many children.  As we read, we might keep a chart of each wife with her respective kids. 
Was this home situation happy?  Why? God never approved of polygamy, and clearly, the wives were not happy because they had to share Jacob's love that God only meant to share with one person.  But in God's sovereignty, Jacob had children with four women.

What is Laban doing in 34-36?
What is Jacob doing in 37-43?  Who decided the outcome? 
Jacob is trying to manipulate the mating habits of the sheep through what seem to be some magic trick.  Laban is tricking Jacob again, and Jacob is onto him.  Laban takes the sheep that will produce Jacob's speckled wages, and Jacob cuts some branches near the water troughs to somehow hex the sheep into giving speckled lambs.  After the 14 years dealing with bickering women, Jacob has clearly forgotten God's promise and tries to use some witch doctor remedy on the sheep.  God, who never changes, still increases Jacob's wealth by causing the trick to work.

Why were Laban’s sons complaining?  All their flocks were slowly becoming Jacob's.  He sapped their resources.  And we must recall, when Laban hired Jacob for pay, he was not treating him like a son, but like an indentured servant.  He treated both Jacob and his daughters as property.

What does God start to do in verse 3?
Finally, God wakes up Jacob and decides to fulfill his promise to go back to home.
What does verse 4 reveal about Jacob?
Jacob believes God and immediately starts to make plans with Rachel and Leah
Who does Jacob credit for his success?
He finally remembers God as the one who gave him his wealth and children, not Laban, and not his striped branch.  God.

How does Rachel show that she is like her father, husband, and aunt Rebekah?   
She steals household gods.  She's trying to manipulate her fate, probably for another son or something.  But she tricks Laban and never reveals that she has them.  
Why should she have household gods anyway?
This also shows how far Jacob had forgotten the one true God.  He fell into the idolatrous practices of Abraham's home country.  It's no wonder Abe would not let Isaac go to Paddan Aram.  God still kept his promise to Jake and led him back to true monotheism, sadly to the detriment of Rachel.  Jacob rashly vowed that the idol thief would die, and Rachel truly did die in Bethlehem as she bore Benjamin.  As she did not trust God for fertility, he gave her her wish but at a fatal price.  He lovingly reprieved Jacob for the same thing with his branches.  

Reflecting on this, God must have preferred Leah to Rachel as he did Jacob to Esau.  Judah's tribe came from Leah which led to the Messiah.  Neither girl knew God, but Leah finally gave in to His sovereignty while Rachel could not be satisfied with Jacob's love and Joseph as a son.  She'd stop at nothing to have one more child under her lineage.  Ultimately, we won't completely know God's reasoning as all who are saved are saved because of him and not through any faithfulness of our own.

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