The story of Jacob is a long one and it covers a number of chapters, and we are still in his story when we finish today. We see him marry the daughters of Laban in a way that he is deceived on his wedding night. I love the simplicity of 29:25 where it says: “When morning came, it was Leah!” Surprise! He does get to marry the love of his life and then Leah and Rachel have a bit of a contest to see who can bear the most sons to him. Notice Dinah is mentioned, a daughter, which is unusual, but she will come into play a little later on. Jacob finds a way to get out of Laban’s household, even if it is a bit by hook or crook.
Do you notice that a lot of unethical things are happening in the lives of those who have been called by God to do His will. Including, but not limited to, the taking of household gods, which would be idols. You would think that would be frowned upon to have the wife of the man who would one day very soon become “Israel”. Did you notice that Manheim is mentioned in 32:2 and that term means two camps.
In this chapter we see Jacob getting himself ready to come face to face with his brother Esau whom he hadn’t seen since he stole his birthright and his blessing. You would think that he would still carry a bit of a grudge, and Jacob certainly thought so. He strategically places his wives, the one he loves least, in front of him as a buffer before Esau come to him. It is the evening before this fated meeting that he wrestles with God and has his name changed to Israel. The changing of names in Scripture is certainly something we should look at. Abraham, Jacob, Peter in the NT and so on have their names changed as they carry out God’s plans and as it becomes more and more clear that they are going to be crucial figures in God’s kingdom.
This chapter in John contains one of my favorite concepts, Jesus praying to God that his disciples would remain united. The term: that they may be one, is a term that we use to focus on when we gather together as a ministerium once a year. This day of unity is meant to be a very small answer to Jesus’ prayer. Yes, chapter 17 is an entire prayer as Jesus prepares himself to suffer and die on the cross. In his final prayer he asks that God would allow his disciples to be one. The many different churches and denominations spread across the globe is proof that we have sinned as a church in that we have not been one. We are divided. I would love to answer God’s prayer of unity.