Old Testament: Genesis 30:1-31:16
Genesis 30:1-31:16 Star Wars
Although the appearance-challenged Leah had borne children to Jacob, poor Rachel was barren. Rachel hatched a plan to let Jacob have children with her servant. It worked so Leah did the same thing to get back at her. Jacob’s sons are later seen as being like stars (Gen. 37:9) so this might be viewed as an early version of “star wars.” Rachel actually was able to have children and gave birth to the famous Joseph who will be the “star” of the whole end of the book of Genesis.
Laban and Jacob got into it again, this time over the amount of flocks each had. Jacob came up with the idea of letting Laban have the mixed colored goats and lambs, keeping the rest for himself. This seemed to give Laban the advantage. But Jacob put white sticks (Laban means white in Hebrew) in front of the water troughs — who knows why? — somehow he ended up with all the strongest goats. Well, the “somehow” was that God blessed him! He also mated the strongest flocks with the strongest and ended up with the most and strongest. Cheating goes, always shows!
In Chapter 30, Rachel complains to Jacob that he’s not giving her any kids. Jacob asks if he is God who can give children to people (v. 2). So Rachel made the same mistake as Sarah and gave Jacob her maid, Bilhah, so she could have kids for her. Bilhah hatched Dan and Naphtali (vv. 6, 8). Leah said two can play at this game and gave her maid, Zilpah, to Jacob. Zilpah bore two sons, Gad and Asher (vv. 11, 13).
Rachel then made a deal with Leah to exchange some mandrakes for a roll in the hay with Jacob (vv. 14-16). Mandrakes are supposed to be an aphrodisiac but they really aren’t but people back then thought they were. Not long after, Leah bore two more sons, numbers five and six for her, Issachar and Zebulun (vv. 17-20). She also bore him a daughter to boot, Dinah (v. 21).
Finally, Rachel had a son and named him Joseph which meant “may God add” because she wanted another son, too (v. 24). She felt like God had taken away her reproach (v. 23).
So Jacob had six sons by Leah, two by Bilhah and two by Zilpah for a total of ten. Rachel had one so far for a grand total of eleven.
Jacob wanted to get away from his Uncle Laban. Laban, of course, wanted Jacob to stay since he was benefiting so much by having him around. Jacob made another deal with Laban. He said he’d take all the supposedly inferior animals, the spotted, speckled, and black ones (vv. 32-35).
Jacob thought he was being slick by having the animals breed by striped branches. They were supposed to help in the breeding process but was another superstition like the mandrakes (vv. 14; 37-43). He did take out the more feeble of the animals and let Laban have those back (vv. 41-42). Jacob ended up doing very well for himself (v. 43).
In Chapter 31, Laban’s son became jealous so God told Jacob to abscond back to his father’s area in Canaan (v. 3). Jacob had a secret meeting with Rachel and Leah and they all agreed they should leave for Bethel and leave Laban in the dust (vv. 4-16).
New Testament: Matthew 10:1-23
Jesus called the Twelve disciples and sent them out to proclaim the kingdom to the Israelites. They didn’t have any money but were just supposed to trust God, doing miracles all over the place to prove they were from God. They were supposed to be as slick as serpents but demure as doves. They would end up being persecuted but would stand before rulers, having to flee for their lives going from town to town in order for everyone in the world to hear the Good News about the kingdom.
Matthew 10:1-23 Traveling Road Show
Jesus sent out the twelve apostles to cast out demons and heal all kinds of diseases (v. 1). The apostles were Peter, Andrew, James who was John’s brother, John, Philip. Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the author of this book), James son of Alphas, Thaddeus, Simon and Judas, the jerk (vv. 2-4).
Jesus told them to go only to the Jews, not the Gentiles or Samaritans since he wanted the Jews to hear the message that He was bringing the kingdom (vv. 5-7). They weren’t supposed to take any means of sustenance with them (vv. 9-10). The communities were to sponsor them (v. 11). They were to bless the ones who treated them well (vv. 12-13). They were to shake the dust off their feet as they left a house or city that didn’t accept their message, treating them as an unclean Gentile city (v. 14). Sodom and Gomorrah were going to do better in the White Throne Judgment than a town that didn’t receive them (v. 15, Rev. 20:11ff.). This verse implies that there are degrees of punishment in Hell since the people in some towns would fare better in Hell than others.
The apostles were not to be naive (vv. 16-18). God, the Holy Spirit, would give them the words that they needed if they were brought before government officials (vv. 19-20).
Jesus prophesied that the apostles would be betrayed by even their families and possibly be put to death (v. 21). People will hate them for standing up for Jesus (v. 22). What Jesus is portraying is the same as the time of the Tribulation (cf. Matt. 24:9-14). The ones who witness during that time and endure will “be saved” in the sense that they will pass, alive, into the one thousand year reign of Christ on earth, aka, the Millennium (cf. Rev. 20:2-7). During the time of the Tribulation, the Jewish witnesses to Christ will not be able to transverse all of Israel before the Lord literally comes back in bodily form (v. 23).
Psalm 12:1-8 C’mere Sweetie! A Psalm Of Trust By David
Psalm 12:1-8 C’mere Sweetie!
This is another psalm of confidence or trust in the Lord. Doesn’t it help sometimes just to read these? (Answer is “yes.”)
Again, David is in a crunch. I don’t know which crunch time this might be but we’ve already seen David to be in a sticky wicket on several occasions.
It seems sometimes like we might be the last faithful Christian standing in a world gone wild (v. 1). Well, we’re not. Elijah thought that, too, and he was wrong (cf. 1 Kings 19:10). It might not seem like it but there faithful ones scattered around everywhere. But I like to see that there are other whiners like me in Scripture. God always puts up with them.
Ungodly are liars (v.2a). Flattery is basically lying to manipulate someone else (v. 2b). David pictures the Lord as a plastic surgeon, rearranging people’s lips and tongues (vv. 3-4). Perhaps He will do it, figuratively speaking, to save the “needy” (v. 5).
I love verse 6. It speaks of the Word. David describes God’s words in Scripture as being refined seven times (v. 6b). Silver is refined multiple times to remove the imperfections. Seven is a perfect number meaning that God’s Word is perfectly pure.
If we stay in God’s Word, He will protect us from the world’s flattery and lies (v. 7).
The wicked strut around (did you see the Golden Globes last weekend?) promoting “vileness” (v. 8). Anywhere we look there seems to vileness. The world system (1 John 5:14-15) surrounds us.
Years ago in my first seminary experience, one of my friends defined “propositional revelation” as when the world says to you, “Hey, c’mere Sweetie!” (Propositional revelation just means that God’s Word is understandable. So ha-ha. Theological humor.)
Is the world flattering you? Is it saying, “C’mere, Sweetie!”?
Proverbs 3:13-15 Can You Keep A Secret?
Want to be blessed? Find wisdom (v.13, cf. Prov. 1:7). That’s the theme of this entire book. Wisdom is applied knowledge. It’s “understanding” (v. 13b). It should be your life’s goal. And it’s fun (cf. Prov. 25:2).
Wisdom is better than money and jewelry (vv. 14-15). Don’t tell anyone. Once the word’s out, everyone will be wanting to find it.
Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 10:24 NASB “Giving Up”
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.” Matthew 10:24
I was just reading about a student at the seminary I attended. Most seminaries have a three year degree for pastors. Not the one I went to. It has a four-year degree. One of my professors once stated that it was interesting that a school that didn’t believe the church was going to go through the tribulation would put their students through one.
The student I was reading about was in his fourth year. He was forty-one years old. I was thirty-eight when I graduated. I was lucky. My wife worked full-time and I worked part-time to get through school. I took five years to do it. This poor guy had alternate between working a year at a restaurant then going to school a year. His final year his mother died and his car, that had more than a quarter of a million miles on it, got totaled. He was taking a bus to school and riding a bike to church. Fortunately, he was given a car and a scholarship to get him though his last year.
I don’t know if anyone ever preaches how tough seminary and the ministry can be. I was at a large church in Atlanta with a television ministry. I thought it was cool: this is ministry?! It didn’t turn out that way. I’ve had churches that topped out at around thirty people and Bible studies of less than ten.
Jesus warned that disciples were not above their Teacher just as slaves were not above their Masters. He went on to say that if He was compared to Beelzebub (aka Satan aka the devil aka Lucifer, etc.), they probably would draw the same comparison (v. 26). The apostles were sent out with nothing and Jesus didn’t have a pillow when He was traveling (cf. Matt. 8:20).
What are you willing to give up for your Lord Who gave up all for you? Are you willing to give up everything (not that you’ll have to)?
And if you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Jesus told his disciples that whoever gave up everything for Him would receive even more in return . . .. and eternal life to boot. ” . . . No one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). Jesus was saying that you might lose your physical, natural family on earth, but you will gain many more spiritual brothers and sisters here on earth. And you will have eternal life thrown in.
Many preachers are fond of saying “You can’t out-give God.” By that they mean you should give them money and God will give you even more money back in return. Well, it’s true that you can’t out-give God but what you get back in return will often be better than money. You will receive a better relationship with God.
Money can’t buy you that kind of love.
Give to others today and expect a spiritual blessing in exchange.
That is, if you really want to be blessed!
You’ll thank God in the morning.
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Star Wars