Genesis, chapters 47-50

Genesis 49:9,10~

Judah is a lion cub. From the prey, my son, you will certainly go up. He has crouched down and stretched himself out like a lion, and like a lion, who dares rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shi′loh comes [meaning: He Whose It Is; He to Whom It Belongs], and to him the obedience of the peoples will belong.

On his deathbed, Jacob passed down the birthright of preserving the Messiah’s lineage to the eldest of his sons who did not sin against him.

The lion and the scepter represent the right to rule as king, and Shi’loh refers to the then unborn Messiah.

This is a noteworthy prophecy because as we now know, King David proceeded from the tribe of Judah and Jesus’ ancestry was traceable to David on both his parents’ sides (2 Sam. 2:4; 2 Sam. 7:16,17; Matt. 1:1-16; 3:23-33).

Of Jesus, it was said: “This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom,” (Luke 1:32,33).

Jesus asked us to pray for that kingdom to come: Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.” (Matt. 6:9,10).

After his death, Jesus’ followers expected him to one day begin ruling from heaven:

God resurrected this Jesus, and of this we are all witnesses […] For David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet,”’ (Acts 2:32-35).

This in turn makes reference to Jesus’ first act as king: to do God’s will in heaven, that is, to throw out God’s enemies from it (Rev. 12:7-12).

Then the prophecy refers to us, saying: “the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.”

It might take thousands of years for God’s prophecies to come to full light, but they are always fulfilled unfailingly.

Genesis, chapters 43-46

Genesis 45:17,18,20~

So Phar′aoh said to Joseph:[…]”Take your father and your households and come here to me. I will give you the good things of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the richest part of the land.[…] Do not worry about your belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.”

Israel’s household went from being on the verge of dying of starvation to living in the most abundant environment available at the time.

This reminds me of the spiritual abundance God’s people enjoy nowadays.

We live in a world that is spiritually deprived.

Although religion is everywhere, most people wonder where God is and they are not sure he listens to them or how to draw close to him.

Some go so far as to try to experience spirituality through fleshly conducts such as drugs or sex.

When some of my friends have participated witnessing in the streets, pastors from other churches have come up to them and asked them for our literature because they do not know what to teach their followers.

It is a blessing to be a part of God’s people- an organization that provides spiritual food in abundance.

This “food” comes in the form of answers to both basic and deep questions:

Who is God?

What is the purpose of life?

Why is there so much suffering?

What happens when we die?

Should I get a divorce?

When will the “end” come?

Does God forgive all sins?

This spiritual abundance is reminiscent of other Bible prophecies:

‘Look! The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah,

‘When I will send a famine into the land,

Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,

But for hearing the words of Jehovah.’

(Amos 8:11)

Jacob comes to Egypt and meets with his son Joseph.

Jacob comes to Egypt and meets with his son Joseph.

Genesis, chapters 40-42

~Genesis 41:16

At this Joseph answered Phar′aoh: “I need not be considered! God will speak concerning Phar′aoh’s welfare.”

By the time the prisoner, Joseph, was brought before Pharaoh to interpret the meaning of his dreams, he had undergone a series of tragedies:

His mother died when he was a child (Gen. 35:16-19); growing up, his ten brothers bullied him (Gen. 37:4,5,11); they sold him as a slave when he was 17 and his father took him for dead (Gen. 37:28,33); his master’s wife falsely accused him of trying to rape her after he refused her sexual advances, which caused him to be thrown into prison (Gen. 39:12,17-20).

There, he accurately interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s servants, but he was left in prison for three more years (Gen. 40:9-14, 20-23).

Joseph was finally brought before Pharaoh at the age of 30 and received prophetic insight into the meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams (seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine) (Gen. 41:25-32).

Of course, now we’ve all heard of him and how he forgave his brothers and saved his family, but at the time Joseph stated the words I cited at the beginning, “I need not be considered! God will speak concerning Phar′aoh’s welfare,” he had every reason on earth to be bitter and resentful.

Joseph’s faith is what sustained him through all his trials and even when finally given the chance to state his case and glorify himself, he still channeled all praise and glory to God.

This is definitely one of the greatest examples humanity has to offer of how faith and virtue lead to true success.

Genesis, chapters 36-39

~Genesis 38:26

Then Judah examined them and said: “She is more righteous than I am…”

Judah was pretty set on executing his twice-widowed daughter-in-law, Tamar, when he found out she had prostituted herself (Gen. 38:24).

After her second husband died, he deceitfully promised her she could marry his third son once he was old enough (Gen. 38:11).

This was a common Hebrew practice, termed “brother-in-law marriage,” realized to preserve the first husband’s lineage (Gen. 38:8; Deut. 25:5,6). This arrangement also served to provide materially for women who otherwise might end up in dire poverty.

But when Judah’s son came of age, Judah was afraid he would also die so he did not keep his promise to Tamar.

When she realized she had been lied to, she disguised herself as a prostitute and had sexual relations with Judah, who by then was also a widow (Gen. 38:14-16).

Tamar was cunning enough to ask him for some of his personal belongings which she later used to hold him accountable for his actions (Gen. 38:18,25).

The lesson I wish to point out is that although Judah had acted shamefully, he readily admitted he had been wrong.

Judah was a prominent man, eventually receiving his father’s blessing. This was a privilege since only one of his father’s 12 sons could become an ancestor to the Messiah (Gen. 49:10).

Even so, he did not use his influence to hide his error or to crush the woman who brought it to light, thus setting an example for future leaders who likewise make grave mistakes.

Genesis, chapters 32-35

Genesis 33:4~

E′sau ran to meet him, and he embraced him and kissed him, and they burst into tears.

When Esau last saw Jacob, he had plans to kill him (Gen. 27:41).

20 Years later, as described in the above passage, his heart has been softened.

He has taken on a more spiritual approach to life.

This teaches me that people can change for the better.

It is wrong to give up hope on someone without giving them time to reflect on their own actions and see the negative consequences of their bad decisions.

Usually it’s those closest to us that let us down. A family member or a best friend who was like a sister or brother.

God doesn’t give up on people from one moment to the next. He patiently waits for them to repent (2 Pet. 3:9).

And if we want to truly change, then it is imperative to ‘clothe ourselves in humility,’ as in the case of Esau (Col. 3:12).

Genesis 35:8~

Later Deb′o·rah, Re·bek′ah’s nurse, died and was buried at the foot of Beth′el under an oak. So he named it Al′lon-bac′uth [meaning: tree of weeping].

I had never taken this passage into account.

According to a Bible encyclopedia, Deborah lived for about another 125 years after Rebekah and Isaac married (it-1 p. 600).

She had left everything behind to accompany Rebekah south into a new family and new lifestyle, for Isaac’s household dwelt in tents.

In all this time she became a part of their family and they were moved to heartfelt grief upon her death.

I am touched by the inclusion of this small but telling detail in the Holy Scriptures.

In a book that selectively lists ancestries and important dates to provide historical proof and context, the fact that God included this about Deborah, a humble servant, tells us how much he values the lives of those who render sacred service toward Him (Matt. 10:29-31).

Bible map Patriarch's travels

Genesis, chapters 29-31

Genesis 29:18~

Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel, so he said: “I am willing to serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”

This is a point a couple friends of mine made:

Young people shouldn’t be in a hurry to start dating or to find “the right person” because true love is patient and if two people really love each other, it doesn’t matter how long it takes them to wind up together, they are willing to wait.

Genesis 29:32~

So Le′ah became pregnant and gave birth to a son and named him Reu′ben, for she said: “It is because Jehovah has looked upon my affliction, for now my husband will begin to love me.”

And so the race for who could bare the most children begun, for somehow Jacob, who had originally set out to marry Rachel, wound up with 4 wives.

(If you are unfamiliar with the story, what happened is that Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. He signed up to work another 7 years to get permission to marry Rachel. Rachel was barren and so she gave him her servant to have kids in lieu of her. Leah didn’t want to be left behind so she also gave Jacob her own servant. {Gen. 29:25-27; Gen. 30:3,4; Gen. 30:9}).

The point I want to highlight is that even today, women seem to be under this false illusion that if they have a man’s child or children, he will automatically love her, as if there were something someone could do to project love out of someone else.

In this case I am referring to romantic love.

But, as we saw from the first passage, love is something that flows naturally from one’s self. It cannot be forced or shut off or transferred into a third person.

A lot of women today, especially in my own Latin culture, get themselves pregnant hoping this way their boyfriends will want to marry them.

That is not how love or marriage works. These relationships tend to fall apart within the first ten years leaving deep emotional and financial scars.

On an opposite note, Genesis 30, verses 1 and 2, read:

When Rachel saw that she had borne no children to Jacob, she became jealous of her sister and began to say to Jacob: “Give me children or else I will die.”  At this Jacob’s anger flared up against Rachel, and he said: “Am I in the place of God, who has prevented you from having children?”

Even when you are deeply in love with someone, this doesn’t mean you will be in perfect synchronization or pure bliss, or that you will never need to confront their flaws.

On occasion it will be entirely normal to “flare up in anger” and argue, because we are all imperfect and different.

That doesn’t nullify or subtract from true love in any way. True love endures and becomes more refined.

The moral of all this:

One wife is more than enough. 😉

Jacob meets Rachel for the first time

Jacob meets Rachel for the first time

Genesis, chapters 25-28

Last week’s reading taught me about resolving conflicts through faith and mildness.

In Genesis ch. 26 verses 16 & 17, we see how the Philistines grow afraid of Isaac due to his ever-growing prosperity and so their king asks him to leave.

A·bim′e·lech then said to Isaac: “Move from our neighborhood, for you have grown far stronger than we are.” So Isaac moved from there and encamped in the valley of Ge′rar and began dwelling there.

As Isaac’s servants are working hard digging up his fathers’ old wells which the Philistines had stopped up, they find a new well.

And the shepherds of Ge′rar began quarreling with the shepherds of Isaac, saying: “The water is ours!” So he named the well E′sek [meaning: contention] because they had quarreled with him (Gen. 26:20).

Isaac decides to move on and they look for another well.

And they started digging another well, and they began quarreling over it also. So he named it Sit′nah [meaning: accusation] (Gen. 26:21).

Again, instead of arguing with the Philistines, Isaac moves his men elsewhere. This time he is successful.

Later he moved away from there and dug another well, but they did not quarrel over it. So he named it Re·ho′both [meaning: broad places] and said: “It is because now Jehovah has given us ample room and has made us fruitful in the land,” (Gen. 26:22).

As a result, the Philistine king who had kicked him out now seeks him out to form a pact of peace between them.

At this Isaac said to them: “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hated me and sent me away from your neighborhood?” To this they said: “We have clearly seen that Jehovah has been with you. So we said, ‘Let there, please, be an oath of obligation between us and you, and let us make a covenant with you that you will do nothing bad to us just as we have not harmed you, seeing that we have done only good to you in that we sent you away in peace. You now are the blessed of Jehovah.’” Then he made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. In the morning they got up early and swore an oath to each other. After that Isaac sent them away, and they went from him in peace (Gen. 26:27-31).

Isaac’s mildness is blessed again as while this is happening, his servants find yet another well.

On that day the servants of Isaac came and reported to him about the well that they had dug, and they told him: “We have found water!” (Gen. 26:32).

From this I see that when we make a genuine effort to foment peaceful relations with others, even when we know we are right and they are wrong, God does not abandon us and continues providing for our needs.