BSF Genesis: Week 23, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

11.
a.
God said

b.
20 years, Gen 31:38

12.
a.
7 God has not allowed him to harm me, 9 God given them to me, 11 vision in dream, 42 God rebuked you,

b.
Jacob and Isaac both justified action because of their fear, both formed a covenant with the one they had feared. Jesus on the other hand, when faced with swords and clubs, was not afraid.  He did not lie out of fear, but told the truth daily

c.
5, God with me, 7 protected me, 9 provided for me,  11 in dream, 12 restored from wrong, 13 remembered vow from Bethel, 16 wives who honored, 24 warned Laban, 42 God provided, 50 witness, 53 judge

13.
a.
He sought to live in honesty and peace.  He formed a covenant with the one he ran from to not do him any harm

b.
vs 55, Laban kissed his grandchildren and daughters and blessed them and left.  Through God there was the ability to find peace and reconciliation even for one who had repeatedly done wrong.  through which both parties were blessed and moved on.

My Daily Journal:

There will come a time when each of us faces the reality that Laban faced in verse 43.  “The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne?”

We go through life accumulating possessions.  This is mine, that is mine, all of this belongs to me.

But, as Laban learned, it doesn’t.  We are caretakers.  We are servants.  We are stewards.  Everything on this earth belongs to the one who created it.  He is eternal we are temporal.

But, like Laban, we deceive ourselves far more than anyone else deceives us.  He calls Jacob the deceiver because he left without notice, but was he really being truthful that he would have thrown a big party send off to all of these things that he considered his own. Who is truly deceiving whom?

But faced with the truth of God, we too will recognize all that we have accumulated is not really ours.

We have all done wrongs in our lives.  We have wronged and hurt others and strained and broken relationships over time.  The final verses of this chapter provide hope for peace.  When Laban did recognize that what he thought he owned, was not truly his, he did a wise thing: he sought to make a covenant of peace.  The greatest benefit that he received from that covenant wasn’t the lack of hostility or monetary gain, but it is what we see in verse 55.  He gained the opportunity to kiss his grandchildren and his daughters and to bestow his blessing on each of them.  These daughters, who earlier in this same chapters felt like they were foreigners to their father, objects that he had sold for personal gain and then squandered that profit, these daughters now bring their children to him, kiss him and kneel before him to receive his blessing.

BSF Genesis: Week 23, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures:

Questions:

8.
a.
He worked for him for 7 years before marriage and then had 12 children after that, completing at least another 7 years (likely more).  During this time Laban prospered, his livestock grew and prospered

b.
Jacob honored Laban, he didn’t cheat, he didn’t run off.  He worked hard and brought the blessings that God gave him to his workplace.  Thus, the glory of the outcome went to God

c.
Col 3:18 – Whatever you do, do it dilligently as for the Lord because it is He who you serve not men

9.
a.
self-centered

b.
He changed the field after the deal was made.  He removed all of the spotted and speckled animals and moved them 3 days journey away.  After all these years, Jacob started with nothing.

10.
a.
Running a business, writing and teaching, story-telling

b.
By ensuring God is glorified in all that I do, that there is recognition that all work I do is for God

My Daily Journal:

God is not the God of church, he is the God of everything.  But so many don’t recognize that.  You can’t talk about God at work.  You need to cover up and hide your faith to not offend others. Etc., Etc.

But that is not what we see with Jacob.  Jacob lived his life and worked for the glory of God.  He saw all that he received not something he had earned, although he worked very hard, but as blessings bestowed by the Lord.

I had the opportunity to attend a dinner earlier this week where the speaker was Bobby Albert, Chairman of Albert Companies, Inc.  Mr. Albert presented about faith in the workplace and one of his points was very fitting in the discussion of Jacob and Laban.  He said, we would rather be a Values-Driven company that provides results than a Results-Driven company that provides value.

What drives your workplace behavior and decision making.  Do you have fears of loss that cause you to lie (like we have seen time and again with Abraham and Isaac)?  Or do you have the strength to do what is right and God honoring even when faced with hardship and adversity.  Do you treat others, with whom you work, with respect as brothers and sisters in Christ or do you take the profit of their labor and treat them as servants?

What drives your decision making, a focus on results or a focus on values?

BSF Genesis: Week 23, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

6.
a.
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Isaachar, Zebulun, (Dinah), Joseph, Benjamin

b.
God’s love for us is not based on anything we do or earn, but it is an outpouring from him.  When we model love differently, we do not follow the example of the creator

c.
Each time she bore a son she praised God for his comfort in what was really paining her heart.  We need to do so joyfully.

7.
a.
Her husband’s love and to not live in the shadow of her younger sister.  I think so because she was buried in the tomb of the patriarchs, with her husband, and her family

b.
Jesus was born through the tribe of Judah, Leah’s 4th son

c.
God is a long term thinker and giver.  We grow impatient in a few minutes or hours, God looks to eternity

My Daily Journal:

I found the change in Leah’s naming of her sons to be very interesting.  Leah saw each of her sons as a gift from God.  She praised him and honored him for who he was and for giving her these gifts.  But we see the way she planned to use those gifts change with each child.

The gift of Reuben was like a bargaining chip to gain the love of her husband.  The gift of Simeon and Levi were the same.  Surely my husband will love me now.

These gifts were like many of us see good deeds today.  Surely this buys me favor with others.  Surely this will enable me to deserve what I desire and don’t have today.

But then, with Judah, something changes.  The gift of the child is no longer something thought of as a tool or token to gain the loving relationship of a distant human.  Everything in the naming of Judah had to do with the relationship between Leah and God.  “This time I will praise the Lord.”

Is it any wonder that it was through this son’s descendents that God sent His own son?  What gifts from God am I trying to leverage into something I want from someone else instead of appreciating them as gifts from the one who loves me unconditionally and gives me everything?

BSF Genesis: Week 23, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
An act of servantude conducted at the well.  A relative of Laban comes for water.  In the first, Rebekah served the servant, in this Jacob serves the shepherd

4.
Leah did for sure.  Rachel may have as well.

5.
a.
Posing as a substitution through trickery.  The one who was lesser favored took something that was meant to be given to the one who was more favored.  In this case the first was put before the second, with Jacob and Esau it was the other way

b.
God allows men to sin because of our free will.  He uses all, including our sin, for His glory.  There are lessons here about honesty, deception, favoritism, following customs, etc.  All have moral lessons

c.
Every action and every decision we make reflects not only on who I am, but it also reflects on how people view my family, my church, my father, my grandfather and my God.  The gain from a deception cannot outweigh those costs.

d.
Jer 5:1 – find one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth and I will forgive this city. Prov 24:26 An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.   (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Th 5:26; 1 Pe 5:14 – Greet one another with a holy kiss)

My Daily Journal:

What a good look at these scriptures.  This is one of the things that I love most about BSF; when we take a story we have all read and heard hundreds of times and dive deeper into it for the underlying messages and lessons.  I had never really thought about whether Leah and Rachel willingly joined in their father’s deception.  Nor had I ever questioned why God allowed the deception.

It helped me think about what lessons God is teaching me about me in the wrongs of others.  I have worked in a number of different jobs, companies and professions during my life, from sales to service, from development to management, from being an employee to an employer.  I’ve seen people cut corners, lie, cheat, violate agreements, steal, pretty much every act of dishonesty I can think of.  And, like something that is rotten, the aroma of that act or decision is never limited to the memory or opinion of that single act or decision.  It is present in my opinion of that person, their education, their moral views, their religious beliefs, their family.  I don’t mean this judgmentally, but truthfully – I have a hard time isolating an act of dishonesty to that single act.

Our churches are full of sinners – that is kind of the idea!  So, I’m not trying to say that the argument of some that they can’t go to church because it is just a bunch of judgmental hypocrites holds water.  I’m saying that instead of turning our judgment to those others, we should use that knowledge to help guide our own decision making and temptations.

When I am given too much change at the grocery store, instead of pocketing the money and thinking, their mistake, I need to stop and ask myself, am I willing to risk tarnishing the view that people have of my family, my father, my business, my church and my God over a few cents or dollars?