January 12, 2022: Day 9 – Genesis 29-32 and John 17

The story of Jacob is a complicated, and frankly, a disturbing one.  We find him fleeing from his brother and settle into the camp of his uncle after finding his beautiful cousin at a well that he wants to marry.  Laban seems to fall in line with the rest of the story by deceiving Jacob, who was the ultimate deceiver.  

We then have a rundown of babies that are born to Jacob from a multiplicity of women, all of whom were either his wife or his wife's servant, much like Sarah and Hagar.  Eventually Rachel, the favorite wife, bears a son and that son is Joseph.  Keep your eye on that Joseph, he is going to figure pretty prominently in the rest of Genesis.  Also, there is a reason why Dinah is mentioned, she will also be an important figure in Genesis.  

Once Jacob flees Laban with his flocks and his family Rachel seems to follow along in the deception gene and steals the family gods from Laban.  This should be troubling on a whole variety of fronts, not the least of which is the fact that she is an idol worshipper.  That is a problem with God.  God wants to be worshipped alone and idols are a pretty big no-no for Him.  But she gets away with it and Laban and Jacob depart peacefully.  

We now have Jacob's name changing to Israel which is where the nation of Israel gains its name.  When Jacob wrestles with God, God gives him that name as a tribute to his constant striving against those around him.  That name continues to be relevant today as well.  We will see what happens when Jacob meets Esau in the next chapter.  One would expect that Esau would want blood vengeance.  Let's see.

John gives us one of the most relevant chapters in all of Scripture.  We find Jesus praying to the Father that his disciples would be one just as he and the Father are one.  Jesus knew that on his death his disciples would scatter and that even today his churches would not be unified.  So he prays that at some point we would be unified and one.  That has not happened yet.  A significant encyclical was put out by Pope John Paul II called Ut Unum Sint, which means that they would be one.  You can read it here, it isn't very long: https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25051995_ut-unum-sint.html

We were in Naples serving at the time and I remember that it was a significant document because for one of the first times in history Protestants were called brothers and sisters in Christ.  That is a good step toward unity.  

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2 Responses to January 12, 2022: Day 9 – Genesis 29-32 and John 17

  1. Debbie says:

    I am enjoying your summaries to reinforce our reading. What are the family gods?

  2. Robert Bronkema says:

    The family gods were what each family had that were in the region that they worshipped for protection, health etc. They had gods for pretty much every aspect of life. Keep in mind, this is not what God wanted, it was completely against God’s desires and plans and it is what God hated the most. But Rachel took them and kept them even though she birthed Joseph who ended up being the one who saved Israel in the long run.

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