Genesis – Chapter 30

Jacob and all his sons

Verses 1-3 – Rachel and Leah were locked in a contest to see who could have the most children.  Although this was the custom to give your husband your handmaidens, it wasn’t very smart.  Sarah did it.  Rebekah did it.  And now Rachel did it.  The fact that something is accepted as custom of the day doesn’t make it right.  Is what you are doing going to affect those around you?  In what way?  Are you doing anything now that will give you future problems?  These are the list of sons by Jacob and the order in which they were born:  1) Zilpah – Leah’s maidservant – Gad and Asher, 2) Leah – Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and a daughter, Dinah, 3) Rachel – Joseph and Benjamin, and 4) Bilhah – Rachel’s maidservant – Dan and Naphtali.  These are the 12 tribes of Israel.  Judah is the tribe from which our Lord Jesus Christ would descend from and Levi would become the chosen Royal priesthood.

Verse 27 – Laban thought his divination had brought him all this favor.

Verses 37-43 – God’s promise of provision was the main reason Jacob’s flocks increased.

Genesis – Chapter 29

Jacob meets Rachel

After deceiving Esau, Jacob ran for his life, traveling more than 400 miles to Haran where an uncle, Laban, lived.

Verses 1-9 – This is the same well that Abraham’s servant went and found Isaac’s wife, Rebekah.  This is where Jacob found Rachel, his future wife, bringing her sheep to drink.

Verse 11 – Have you ever heard of love at first sight?  Jacob saw Rachel, kissed her and wept.  There are some pretty strong emotions there.  She ran and told Laban and he came and took Jacob to his home.  These two daughters that Laban said were his actually belonged to Bethal.

Verse 17 – Leah must have been either nearsighted or cross-eyed because the Bible says she was weak in the eyes.  She also was not the one Jacob had asked for.  Rachel was said to be beautiful.

Verses 18-20 – It was the custom then, for the man to have a dowry, but Jacob had none.  So he worked for Laban 7 years.  There was another custom evidently Jacob knew nothing about.  The oldest daughter had to marry first.

Verses 23-25 – The deceiver of Esau had now been deceived.  We get so upset over the injustices done to us, but yet are blind to what we have done to others in like manner.  Sin has a way of coming back to haunt us.

Verses 28-30 – When we have been deceived by others, it is wise to still keep our end of the bargain.  Flying into a rage or plotting revenge will not allow us to see God’s perspective on the situation.

Verse 30 – It was the custom to name someone with a meaning to what they would become, and then if they didn’t live up to this name, it was changed.  All throughout the Bible God changed people’s names to another meaning.  Jacob (“he grasps the heel,” figuratively, “he deceives”), whose name was changed to the point that he was no longer seen as a deceiver, but as a God – honoring man.

Genesis – Chapter 28

Esau two wives

Verse 9 – Ishmael was Isaac’s half brother, the son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant (16:1-4).  After marrying two foreign girls (26:34), Esau hoped his marriage into Ishmael’s family would please his parents.  Life is a whole lot easier if we just do what’s right first.

Jacob starts a family.

Verses 10-15 – Will your blessings flow from one generation to another?  God has no grandchildren.  He only has sons and daughters.  Just because granddaddy, Abraham, and daddy, Isaac, followed God won’t make Jacob a child of God.  Jacob had to form his own relationship with God. (Galatians 3:6, 7)

Verse 19 – Bethel was about 10 miles north of Jerusalem and 60 miles north of Beersheba where Jacob has left his family.  This was where Abraham had made one of his first sacrifices to God.  Later it was the center of idol worship.

Genesis – Chapter 27

Jacob deceives Isaac

What methods are you using to achieve your goals?  Rebekah knew that God had already blessed Jacob as the leader, but she wanted to make sure God didn’t mess up.  She resorts to a lie and deception in order to make it happen.  We should never do what’s wrong to obtain what we want.

Verses 11-13 – We need to think about our motives for doing things.  Are you more afraid of getting caught for doing wrong than being afraid it won’t turn out right doing what is right?  Jacob didn’t seem to be concerned that he was doing wrong, but was more afraid of getting caught.  Let your fear of getting caught be a warning to do what is right.  Jacob ended up paying a huge price for not doing the right thing even though his mother was the one who devised the plan.  Hurt and disappointment may come if you stop doing what is wrong right in the middle of it, but you will have a clear conscious and be free from intentionally sinning.

Verse 24 – Though Jacob got the blessing that he desired, here’s what he lost:  1) he never got to see his mother again, 2) his brother was so angry, he wanted to kill him, 3) he ended up being deceived by his uncle, Laban, 4) his family was torn by strife, 5) Esau became the founder of an enemy nation, and 6) he was exiled from his family for years.  Things could have been much different if he and his mother would have only waited on God’s timing.

Verses 33-37 – Once the father pronounced the birthright blessing it could not be revoked.

Verse 41 – Esau was so mad at Jacob that he didn’t remember that he was the one who gave his birthright away.  Jealousy and anger blinds us to what we do have, and causes us to focus on what we don’t have. Not controlling our anger is one of the emotions that will take us on a path of destruction.  You can control it through the Holy Spirit.

Genesis – Chapter 26

Isaac went to see Abimelech in Gerar

Famine struck the land again just like it did in the time of Abraham.  The Lord told Isaac to stay in Gerar.

Verses 7-11 – So Isaac went to Abimelech.  This is the land of the Philistines.  Isaac told the men of Gerar that Rebekah was his sister.  Sound familiar?  Children will follow their parent’s actions.  Are you setting a good example for them?

Verses 12-16 – God continued to bless Isaac.  The Philistines grew jealous of him because everything he did began to prosper.  So they plugged his wells and tried to drive him off.  Jealousy can cause wars between nations and break up relationships.  We are to be thankful to God for Him blessing others.  Things go a lot better that way.  When you only want blessings for yourself, and are not happy for others, you have a problem.

Verses 17-22 – To stop up or plug someone’s well was an act of war.  This was one of the most serious crimes in the land.  Isaac chose peace over war and the Philistines respected him for it.  Three times Isaac dug out these wells.  The first two times it happened for the sake of peace.  Ask God for the wisdom to know when to compromise or stand and fight.

Verses 26-31 – When God’s influence in our lives attracts even our enemies, we must be willing to reach out to them with God’s love.  I know this is hard, but it will come if you work towards it.

Verses 34, 35 – Meanwhile, Esau married a pagan woman.  Isaac had forbidden it, but he did it anyway.  You may not think your parents are right about some things, but they have lived longer and know a whole lot more about life than you do.  You will save yourself a whole lot of heartache if you do.

Genesis – Chapter 25

Isaac and Esau being born

The death of Abraham

Verses 1-6 – Abraham took another wife.  Her name was Keturah.  Although Abraham gave his other sons many gifts, the majority of the inheritance went to Isaac.  Abraham sent all his sons away from Isaac towards the East.

Verse 9 – Ishmael came and helped bury Abraham with Isaac.

Verse 21 – Everything is in God’s timing.  Rebekah was barren and probably didn’t understand why.  Sometimes prayer is delayed to prepare us in order to handle the blessing.  Timing is essential.  Isaac’s prayer was answered; Rebekah became pregnant with twins.

Verse 25 – Esau came out first.

Verse 26 – Jacob came out second, grabbing Esau’s heel.  Isaac was 60 when they were born.  Esau became a hunter.  Jacob was what we call a mama’s boy, staying around the house.

Verse 31 – The oldest son could sell his birthright or give it away, but in doing so he would lose material goods and his position of leadership.  By giving it away Esau showed total disrespect of his birthright.

Verses 32, 33 – Esau acted on impulse not thinking of the lasting consequences.  Esau exaggerated his hunger.

Genesis – Chapter 24

Eliezer finds Rabeca at the well

Verse 1 – We are the seed of Abraham.  As Gentiles we have been grafted into his family.  God blessed Abraham in all things.  Putting a hand under the thigh was how an agreement was sealed.  Today we shake hands or sign papers in front of a notary public.

Verse 4 – Abraham wanted Isaac to marry within the family.  This practice kept them from marrying into pagan religions.  A son’s wife was usually chosen by his parents.

Verse 6 – Abraham didn’t want Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman.  This is in contrast to the way Hagar selected Ishmael’s wife in 21:21.

Verse 7 – God sends His angels before us.

Verse 9 – Abraham’s servant was sent to Nahor.

Verse 11 – The well was located outside the town which the whole town used.  They had to walk about a mile; so, they could only take home what they could carry.  Rebekah would have come to the well twice a day for water.

Verse 12 – Eliezer had learned about faith from Abraham.  What are your family and friends learning by watching you?  Be like Abraham and live that example, and also be like Eliezer and ask God for guidance.

Verse 14 – Eliezer asked God to show him a woman with an attitude of servant hood.  An offer to water his animals would prove that.  He knew a right heart was important.

Verses 15, 16 – Appearance is important to us and we spend a lot of time improving it.  “Eliezer was looking for inner beauty.”  We should spend a lot more time developing our inner beauty that God has placed within us.  Patience, kindness and joy are the beauty treatments that help us become truly lovely inside.

Verses 18-21 – Rebekah heeded to Eliezer’s request for water.  She also went above and beyond that.  It takes about 25 gallons of water per camel after a week’s travel.  Do you have a servant spirit?  When you see a need, do you do just the minimum or do you go above that?

Verses 26, 27 – As soon as God answered Eliezer’s prayer, he thanked Him.  God will use us if we make ourselves available.  Then our first response should be thankfulness.

Verse 40 – Here again we see the angel of the Lord going before him.

Verses 42-48 – Eliezer openly told Laban of God’s goodness.  Often we do the opposite.  We will tell what is happening and not mention God for fear of those listening will think we are too religious.

Verse 60 – This phrase means “May you overcome all your enemies.”

Verses 64, 65 – When Rebekah learned that the man coming out to meet them was going to be her husband she placed a veil over her face as was the custom.

Genesis – Chapter 23

Burial of Sarah

Verse 1- 4 – Death in Abraham’s day was a ritual and tradition to give honor to the dead.  Sarah died at the age of 127.  She was buried in Canaan in a burial cave.

Verses 4 – 6 – Abraham was highly respected in this area.  He had followed God all his life which brought a good reputation and the respect of others.  Ephron wanted to give Abraham the land but Abraham said no.

Verse 16 – Four hundred shekels of silver was a high price for a piece of property.  The custom of the day was to ask double the fair market value of the land.  Abraham paid the purse chase Ephron asked.  He didn’t want to take anything that he didn’t deserve, even though God had promised the land to him.

Genesis – Chapter 22

Abraham sacrifice of Isaac

Verse 1 – Just as fire refines one to extract precious metals, God refines us through testing.  When we are tested we can complain, or we can try to see how God is stretching us to develop our character.  Sometimes you will think that you’re not going to make it, but God wouldn’t have allowed the testing if He was not going to go through it with you.  If you don’t give up, you will always be the victor.

Verse 2 – Then God told Abraham what to do.  Have you ever questioned God in what He was doing?  I have.  Too many times I’ve said, (or more like cried), “God, what are you doing?”  Nowhere in scripture can I find where Abraham questioned what God was doing.  He believed God and trusted Him.

Verse 3 – This is one of the greatest acts of obedience in recorded history.  The next morning Abraham got up and even split the wood that he would need for the sacrifice.  That was pure faith.  He traveled 50 miles to Mount Moriah near the site of Jerusalem.  He would have had a lot of time to think about what was to take place.  Over the years he had learned many tough lessons about the importance of obeying God.  This time his obedience was prompt and complete.  Obeying God is often a struggle because it may mean giving up something we truly want.  We should not expect our obedience to God to be easy or to come naturally God does nothing without purposes.

Verses 5, 6 – Abraham told the two servants to wait and he would return after they had worshiped.  We don’t know how Abraham carried the fire.  Maybe he carried a hot coal or a flint to start the fire.

Verses 7, 8 – Why did God ask Abraham to perform a human sacrifice?  Pagan nationals practiced human sacrifice, but God condemned this as a terrible sin (Leviticus 20:1-5).  God did not want Isaac to die, but he wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, in his heart, so it would be clear that Abraham loved God more than he loved his promised and long-awaited son.  God was testing Abraham.  The purpose of testing is to strengthen our character and deepen our commitment to God and His perfect timing.  During this testing, Abraham also learned about God’s ability to provide.

Verse 12 – When we give God what He asks, He returns to us far more than we could ever dream.  The spiritual benefits of His blessings far outweigh our sacrifices.

Verse 13 – Notice the parallel between the ram offered on the altar as a substitute for Isaac and Christ offered on the cross as a substitute for us.  Whereas, God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, God did not spare His own Son, Jesus, from dying on the cross.  If Jesus had lived, the rest of humankind would have died.  God sent His only Son to die for us so that we can be spared from the eternal death we deserve and instead receive eternal life (John 3:16).

Verses 15-18 – Abraham received abundant blessings because he did not hold back, but obeyed God.  First, God gave Abraham’s descendants the ability to conquer their enemies.  Second, God promised Abraham children and grandchildren who would in turn bless the whole earth.  Most often we think of blessings as gifts to be enjoyed, but when God blesses us they are to overflow to others.  We, as Christians, are living under the blessings of Abraham because of that promise.

Genesis – Chapter 21

Hagar leaves with Ishmael

Verses 1-7 – Abraham was 100 years old when he had a son and lived long enough to see him into adulthood.  Doing the impossible is every day business for God.  Our problems won’t seem so big if we let God handle them.  After some time and both boys grew, Ishmael started mocking Isaac.  Sarah had had enough.  So, she told Abraham to send the bond woman away with her son.

Verse 13 – The next morning, Abraham sent them both away with supplies.  He knew they would be alright because God had told him that Ishmael would be over a great nation also.

Verse 16 – Hagar ran out of supplies and placed Ishmael under a shrub to wait and die.  Hagar had lived around Abraham long enough to know who God was so she cried out to Him.

Verse 17 – In this verse, it says that God heard the voice of the innocent. So, it was Ishmael’s voice He heard.

Verse 18 – God encourages Hagar to stand up and take Ishmael to a land He would give him.  What happened to Ishmael and who are his descendants?  The Ishmaelites were nomads living in the Desert of Sinai and Paran, south of Israel.  The Bible pictures the Ishmaelites as hostile to Israel and to God.

Verse 20 – So God must have supplied them with food and shelter for them.  The Bible also says God opened up Hagar’s eyes, and the first thing she saw was a well for water.  Ishmael grew and became a great archer.  There is still conflict today among the different tribes in the Middle East because Ishmael was the first-born therefore, he should have been the one chosen.  Here is the problem with this line of thinking; God did not promise a chosen people through Hagar.  He promised a chosen people through Sarah.  Sarah was the one who got tired of waiting and gave her husband her handmaid.

Verse 31 – Beersheba, the southernmost city of Israel, lay on the edge of a vast desert that stretched as far as Egypt to the southwest and Mount Sinai to the south.  The phrase “from Dan to Beersheba” was often used to describe the traditional boundaries of the Promised Land (2 Samuel 17:11).  Beersheba’s southern location and the presence of several wells in the area may explain why Abraham settled there.  Beersheba was also the home of Isaac, Abraham’s son.