BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 23, Day 5: Genesis 31

Summary of passage:  Laban’s sons were jealous of Jacob’s wealth.  The Lord told Jacob it was time to return to his homeland.  Jacob called Rachel and Leah to him and told them how he has worked for Laban despite the wages being constantly changed but God has been with him and has blessed him with their father’s livestock.

Jacob recounts a dream where God acknowledged Laban’s treachery and told Jacob to leave for home at once.  Rachel and Leah agree and say all Jacob has gained from their father should be theirs anyways as an inheritance.  Jacob and his family left Paddan Aram along with all of his livestock and goods for Canaan.  Rachel stole all of her father’s household gods and Jacob left without telling Laban.  They crossed the Euphrates.

Laban found out after three days that Jacob had fled.  He pursued him and caught up with him in Gilead.  God came to Laban in a dream, warning him not to speak to Jacob. Laban, in his infinite wisdom, speaks to Jacob anyways, and asks him why he had fled without saying good bye and why he has stolen the idols.

Jacob replies that he was afraid Laban would take his daughters from him (can’t blame him here) and that if someone has stolen the idols may they die.

Laban searched and found nothing for Rachel was sitting on them and said she was having her period so she couldn’t stand to greet him.  Laban found nothing.

Jacob is mad at Laban for accusing him of stealing.  He points out how he has worked 20 years for him, 14 for his daughters and 6 for his flocks even though Laban has changed his wages on him 10 times, and God Himself even rebuked Laban for his behavior.

So Laban and Jacob made a covenant, asking Jacob not to mistreat his daughters or take any more wives and neither will cross the other’s “side” to harm each other.  They offered a sacrifice, spent the night, and the next day Laban bid his daughters farewell and left.

Questions:

11a)  The Lord told him it was time to go.

b)  20 years (verse 38 & 41)

12a)  Verse 5 (the God of my father has been with me), Verse 7 (God has not allowed him  (Laban) to harm me, Verse 9 (God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me), Verse 12 (I–God–have seen all that Laban has been doing to you)

b)  With Laban and Abimelech, the un-Godly ones (yes, I’m calling Laban un-Godly since he’s throwing such a fit about his stupid idols missing) approached the patriarchs and set the terms of the treaty/covenant.  Both knew God was with Jacob and Isaac and decided to move preemptively to protect themselves.  Both treaties stated one was not to harm the other.  Then they feasted, swore, and went on their merry way.

In terms of Jacob and Jesus, both were being pursued and both submitted to God’s will for their lives.  Jacob was told it was time to move back to Canaan.  Jesus was told it was time to die for our sins.  Both were being falsely accused (Rachel was the perpetrator, not Jacob).  Both sought God in the process.

c)  Verses 5, 7, 9, 12, 42

13a)  Hebrews says to endure hardship as discipline, which Jacob did.  He endured sweltering days and freezing cold nights out in the elements as he cared for the flocks.  He absorbed all the animals’ losses as his own and endured Laban’s mistreatments.  Jacob worked hard and was blessed.  He put his faith in God to care for him and bless him and the Lord did.  He received all he had set out for (a wife basically) and much more (two wives and flocks).

Of course, Jacob failed miserably in the wife department.  But his faith grew in God, which I believe was God’s intent, through the hardships.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Verse 42.  God has seen my hardship and rebukes the persecutors of such.  Verse 7.  God has not allowed them to harm me.  Verse 11.  God has seen all that has happened.

Conclusions:  It’s important to remember that God is with us in the difficult times and that He uses ALL things for our good (Romans 8:28).  We will be blessed for we are His. Jacob is not personally afraid.  He is afraid he’ll lose his family (as we all).  But Jacob has faith in God to protect him and do His will through him.  That is what we must remember.  God is working through us even if we can’t see it and don’t know why we have to go through something.  It will work for our good.

End Notes:  This is the last we will hear of Laban in the Bible.  As we see, he is a pompous bully who only half-believed in the Lord.  He used his idols for divination.  He is exceedingly jealous of God’s blessing upon Jacob.  It is all about him.

Why did Rachel steal the idols?  The Bible never tells us why.  Scholars give many different speculative reasons:  she didn’t want her father to have them in order to use them for divination to find them.  She was getting back at her father for the many years of mistreating them.  She wanted them for herself for she worshipped them.  And the Jews usually say she took them to keep her father from sinning into idolatry.

You can also glean a nugget here of a healthy separation from your in-laws who may unduly influence you.

Most fascinating to me was that nowhere in this passage of praising God does Jacob ever say “God is MY God.”

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 23, Day 4: Genesis 30:25-31:16

Summary of passage:  Jacob asks Laban if he may return to his home country with his wife and children and flocks.  But Laban asks him to stay for he knows he has prospered only because of Jacob so he offers Jacob to name his price to stay.  Jacob says he will stay if Laban will give him as wages every speckled or spotted sheep and every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat that is born.  He will separate out the current speckled and spotted and dark-colored animals and those will be cared for by Laban’s sons, which will decrease the odds of these being born.

Laban divided the animals as agreed upon and separated the flocks.  Jacob then placed tree branches in the water troughs so when the flocks came to drink they would mate. Jacob, caring for the solid-colored animals, kept his flocks separate from Laban’s and he only kept the strong ones.  The weak ones went to Laban.  Jacob grew exceedingly prosperous.

Laban’s sons were jealous of Jacob’s wealth.  The Lord told Jacob it was time to return to his homeland.  Jacob called Rachel and Leah to him and told them how he has worked for Laban despite the wages being constantly changed but God has been with him and has blessed him with their father’s livestock.

Jacob recounts a dream where God acknowledged Laban’s treachery and told Jacob to leave for home at once.  Rachel and Leah agree and say all Jacob has gained from their father should be theirs anyways as an inheritance.

Questions:

8a)  He did his job.  His employer’s flocks multiplied under his care and God’s blessing.  He gave over 14 years of work for Laban in exchange for room and board and his daughters.

b)  Jacob worked hard for Laban, never resenting it, always doing what he was told, and never grumbling.  He increased his employer’s wealth FIRST and then worried about his own.  Laban prospered.  He obeyed Laban in everything he was asked to do.  He worked at it with all his heart since he was truly working for the Lord.  Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for the wrong (as Laban will be).  He respected Laban.  Wealth was not Jacob’s goal.

Even though Laban tricked him repeatedly, Jacob repaid him with blessing by multiplying his flocks.  He was humble.  He depended on God for his well being. He did not worry.  He trusted God to take care of him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To be working for God, not others.  I try to keep this in the forefront of my mind especially since my writings bring me no monetary rewards as of yet.  I try to give my worries to Him as much as possible.

9a)  Selfish, conceited, unfair, manipulative, greedy, taxing, unscrupulous, a cheat, downright conniving

b)  Laban culled out the speckled, spotted, and dark-colored animals and removed them a three-days journey away, leaving Jacob with only the solid-colored animals.  This meant less likelihood speckled, spotted, and dark-colored animals would be born with those genes removed from the gene pool.  And less animals Jacob would receive as his compensation for his long years of work.

10a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Homeschool, write, and maybe someday do worship music.  Taking care of family and home.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By trying my best, working for God, following His Word when a dodgy situation arises, and praying throughout it all.  Give God the credit by merely saying so, acknowledging it’s all through His power (as everything we do is from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night).

Conclusions:  Pleasantly surprised this lesson was on work.  Thought it would be on trickery.  Always a good reminder you are working for God.  For if you work for man you are destined to be unfulfilled, unhappy, and unsatisfied with life.

Equally important is giving God the credit for all that you do.  Saying so out loud to others is a powerful testimony that I’m sure puts a smile on God’s face when He hears it.

Note on Selective Breeding:  Scholars are unsure exactly the methods Jacob used as described here in Genesis.  Jacob thought the branches would somehow give him speckled offspring and he culled out the strong to breed with the strong.  Point being is: God increased Jacob’s lot despite the methods used.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 23, Day 3: Genesis 29:31-30:24 & 35:16-20

Summary of passages:  Genesis 29:31-30:24:  The Lord gave Leah children because she was unloved by Jacob while Rachel remained barren.  She had Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.

Rachel became jealous of Leah and demanded children from Jacob (like it’s Jacob’s fault. Why doesn’t she go to God?).  Which Jacob not so kindly pointed out to her.  So Rachel offered up her maidservant, Bilhah, in her place (does NO one learn around here?). Bilhah had Dan and Naphtali and Rachel felt she won over her sister.

So what does Leah do?  She wants revenge.  So she offers up her servant, Zilpah, to Jacob to have kids with (Jacob apparently is loving this).  Zilpah had Gad and Asher.

[The next scene is unbelievable!]

Reuben brings Leah some mandrake plants.  Rachel wants some so she trades a night with Jacob for some.  Leah sleeps with Jacob and becomes pregnant with Issachar.  Leah had another son named Zebulun (but she is apparently not honored by Jacob).  Then she had a daughter named Dinah.

Rachel prayed to God (finally) and He heard her.  He blessed her with a son named Joseph.  Then she prayed for another.

Genesis 35:16-20:  Rachel gave birth to Benjamin and she died in the process.

Questions:

6a)  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

b)  God completely disagrees with favoritism as we see in 29:31 when we are told the reason God blesses Leah with children is because she was not loved by Jacob (but is this fair to Rachel?)

c)  She was comforted with sons but to me her words don’t show a lot of comfort because she is still hoping Jacob will love her with each birth and he never does.  Pray and accept it willingly.

7a)  To be loved by her husband (but isn’t this her fault as well?  She married him knowing he did not love her.).  No, she was never loved.

b)  Leah is in heaven.  But Jacob’s sons became the 12 Tribes of Israel (including hers).  Levi’s was set apart as priests.  The royal line was through the tribe of Judah.  And Christ came through Leah (the line of Judah), not Rachel.

c)  2 Corinthians tells us to not lose heart for inwardly we are being renewed day by day and our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs anything we are going through on earth.  God doesn’t forget us in our earthly struggles. He comforts us in different ways (for Leah a child) and for us through His word, through a friend, our kids, our spouse, our pets, strangers, prayer, church, or something material. He is there in the unseen.

Conclusions:  Was I the only one wondering why is Jacob having sex with Leah if he didn’t love her?  Conjugal duties only? Sex is supposed to be the ultimate show of love and bonding of a man and a woman as one.  So why is Jacob just “going through the motions” here?  Or is he just shunning the meaning of sexual intercourse and engaging callously, especially when Leah herself says she is unloved?

Jacob could have ended all of the jealously between sisters if he had just honored the marriage vows.  And kept his pants zipped.  But Jacob is of the flesh.  He couldn’t overcome his desires.

It seems to me all of this is Jacob’s fault.  Sure, you could argue Laban was at fault for substituting Leah in place of Rachel (but shouldn’t Jacob have checked before getting it on with her?) but Jacob is 100% responsible as the man of the household for decisions. He’s also responsible for who he sleeps with and who he doesn’t.

He could have ended all of this but he must have been enjoying having 4 women as wives and all the in-fighting over his affections.  Not only could he have stopped the sex part, but he could have FORBIDDEN the rivalry as the man of the household.  Instead, he stood by.  And watched his family become more and more dysfunctional every day.  He’s definitely egotistical and likes to have his ego stroked.

This whole passage is just utterly sad.  Here we have 2 sisters, competing with each other, and using children as the weapon!!  The kids have become trophies so to speak and it becomes a competition of who has more!!  How sad!  We have 2 sisters who are blood allowing a man to separate them and cause one ugly feud that must have been wretched for the entire household.  And we have the man who plays one wife off the other by refusing to zip his pants!  He probably would have slept with more servants if offered! Sad all around!

Leah was comforted by God to a point.  But she repeatedly says how she’s trying to earn Jacob’s affection.  This is a sin.  For God should be enough.  God is NOT her center.  For if God had been, she wouldn’t have needed Jacob to fill the need deep inside of her that only God can fill in all of us.

Can you imagine growing up in this environment?  Can you imagine how the children felt?  Obviously there is tension. They learned it from their mothers.  And saw their father stand by and do nothing to stop it.  Who can blame the brothers when they throw Joseph down the well?  With these two as mothers it’s no wonder!  And no father to lead!

Great reason why there should only be one man and one woman in a relationship (as God intended).  But Leviticus 18:18 had to outlaw specifically no marriage with sisters.  Any one guess why?

Explanation on the mandrake plant:  Why all the fuss over this plant?  Why would Rachel trade a night with her husband to Leah for it?  It had to be pretty valuable stuff. And it was (at least so it was thought).

Mandrakes are a plant that is thought to increase fertility in women.  It is the root of the plant and it is translated as “love-apples” in Hebrew.  It worked in Leah’s case!

We should see now the sovereignty of God over childbirth.  He opens wombs and closes them repeated throughout the Bible.  As He does today.  We also see His grace. When women (or husband’s) pray, God answers and opens wombs.  Great lesson for those struggling to have a baby.

Rachel pays the ultimate price for this competition:  with her life.  She asked Jacob for children or she would die (Genesis 30:1).  She got both.  This was also the fulfillment of the curse Jacob pronounced in Genesis 31:32.

Final Note:  Everyone sinned here.  But the sin could have stopped.  All it would have taken would have been only ONE of them to stand up and say “No more!”.  Rachel didn’t. Leah didn’t.  And Jacob didn’t.  And so the sin perpetuated.  And into the next generation as the kids learned from their parents’ examples.

This is the lesson for us all.  It only takes one party in a conflict to stand up for what is right, for their beliefs, for God’s will and word, and say “No more!”

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 23, Day 2: Genesis 29:1-30

Summary of passage:  Jacob travels to Paddan Aram and immediately meets Laban’s shepherds watering their sheep.  He helps them water the sheep by pushing the stone from the well.  Rachel who is a shepherdess and Laban’s daughter arrives.  Jacob kisses her and tells her he is Rebekah’s son (so they are cousins).  She ran home to tell her father Laban who welcomes Jacob as his own.

Jacob agrees to work for Laban for seven years in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage. It seems as only a few days to him his love was so great for her.  But on the marriage night, Laban tricks Jacob into sleeping with Leah.  Jacob realized in the morning what had happened.  Laban told him the custom was he had to take the older daughter first and then the younger daughter.  And if he still wanted Rachel, he’d have to work another 7 years.

Jacob agreed and gained Rachel as a wife whom he loved more than Leah.

Questions:

3)  You can see God’s fingerprints everywhere.  The servant found Rebekah easily as the well.  She came up to the servant and happened to be from Laban’s family.  Jacob happened upon Laban’s servants and lo and behold Rachel shows up and Jacob falls in love with her.  God is in control here.  Neither incident happened by accident.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.  It doesn’t seem so.  It seems to me as if they obeyed Laban out of daughterly duty.  I would imagine Rachel loved Jacob as much as he loved her so she was probably upset about it.  Not sure about Leah.  She might have been willing if she had no other suitors or if she herself loved Jacob as well.

5a)  Jacob pretended to be Esau by dressing up as him and Leah pretended to be Rachel in a similar manner.  Jacob exchanged the younger for the older.  Laban exchanged the older for the younger.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Cheating, lying, and deception are no way to live your life.  That what he did to Esau, although God’s will, was the wrong way to go about gaining God’s favor.  Cheating and lies have a heavy cost and take a huge toll on relationships.  That honesty is the best policy and is God’s way.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Haven’t learned anything new about deception.  I just try to be honest and up front with people.  Never take the short route for a minimal game.  The price is too high.  Be honorable.  Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.  You don’t want to be cheated so don’t cheat others.

d)  Psalm 15:  “He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart…who keeps his oath..will never be shaken.”

Proverbs 12:22:  “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.”

Proverbs 19:1:  “Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.”

Proverbs 6:16-20:  “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  a lying tongue…a heart that devises wicked schemes…a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

2 Corinthians 8:21:  “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.”

Others:  1 Peter 3:10-12, Philippians 4:8-9, John 8:32, Hebrews 13:18, Proverbs 11:3, Colossians 3:9

God honors those who are truthful.  Deception is from the devil and only causes heartache.  It’s just not worth it.  I’m encouraged by how much honesty is talked about in the Bible.  That tells me just how important it is to God that you are upright, righteous, and full of integrity.  You follow Him and not the world.

Conclusions:  I enjoyed looking up honesty in the Bible.  I would hope living a life full of integrity is ingrained in all of us, but alas I know that not to be true.  If you struggle, with honesty, please pray.  God will change your heart.

Keep the Golden Rule in mind that Jesus spoke and was recorded in Matthew 7:12:  “So in EVERYTHING, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

It’s hard for our culture to imagine Rachel and Leah going along with Laban’s plot but it was expected and demanded in ancient times.  We must honor our father and mother but not if it goes against God’s word.  Luckily, we have that right today to stand up and say, “No, I can’t do that because it’s a sin.”  But in ancient times, you had to submit.  No matter how sinful your father’s plan was.

I had to wonder (assuming Leah may have protested the arrangement), why would Leah want to marry Jacob, someone who didn’t love her?  Either she didn’t think anyone else would marry her or she loved him herself.  Either way she sinned as well either complicityly or complyingly.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 5: Genesis 28:10-22

FINALLY!!!  SOMETHING NEW!!!!

Summary of passage:  So Jacob left Beersheba to Haran.  He stopped along the way, put a stone under his head, and had a dream.  In the dream he saw a stairway from heaven to earth on which the angels of God were going up and down.  The Lord was there and He repeated His promise to Jacob (the covenant He gave to both Abraham and Isaac), saying He’ll give Jacob the promised land and his descendants will spread out.  All people on earth will be blessed through him.  God said He is with him and will watch out for him wherever he goes.

When Jacob woke, he took the stone he had been lying on and poured oil over it and called the place Bethel. Then Jacob vows that God will be his God and the stone will be God’s house and he will give God a tenth.

Questions:

12a)  The stairway linking heaven and earth now reveals access to God.

b)  Jesus is the stairway, the way to heaven.  Jesus says the angels of God ascend and descend on the Son of Man.  John 14:6 says he is “the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Hebrews says we will enter the Most Holy Place (heaven) “by the blood of Jesus.”

13a)  “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.”

b)  Same as a. “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.”

c)  “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

d)  “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have  done what I have promised you.”

14a)  He had the fear of God now and realized God was with him and in this place.  He took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil over it to make the place, which he named Bethel or house of God.  He made a vow, saying if God does what He promises, then God will be my God, the pillar will be God’s house, and he will give God a tenth of all that God has given him.

b)  Through the Holy Spirit, God is with us and watches over us wherever we go.  He will not leave us until His work is done. (See Philippians 1:6 for a similar message).  We return a tenth to God of what is His.  He is our God and our pillar.  Hopefully, we believe first and then receive without the same stipulations Jacob makes (see Conclusions below for elaboration).

Conclusions:  Well, we moved on but I literally typed up most of the passage for my answers.  It felt like a copy exercise I might give my kids for school.  I did like saying specifically He is with us wherever we go and He will not leave us.  Something I needed to hear today.

The significance of this passage is that Jacob has finally realized God is everywhere and not just in certain places.

However, what BSF missed and what I find fascinating (of course we could see this next lesson if we repeat this passage again as seems to be the custom), is how Jacob responds to God’s promises.  Jacob doesn’t quite believe God will do all of these things He promises.  We see this in his response in verses 20-22:  IF God will be with me and IF He will provide, THEN the Lord will be my God.”

Do you see it?  He’s not quite sure if God will be with him and if God will provide.  But only after Jacob sees all this, then will God be his God.  Jacob is trying to make his own deal with God instead of humbly accepting God’s promise.  However, in God’s grace, He punishes Jacob through Laban in order to gain Jacob’s whole heart.

End Note:  Now God has personally appeared to all three patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob.

Fun Fact:  Bethel means “House of God” and is second only to Jerusalem to the number of times a town is mentioned in the Old Testament.  God even refers to Himself as the “God of Bethel” in Genesis 31:13.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 4: Genesis 27:42-28:9 with Hebrews 12:6-14

Summary of passages:  Genesis 27:42-28:9:  Rebekah hears Esau’s plans to kill Jacob so she sends for Jacob and tells him to go and live with her brother Laban in Haran until Esau’s temper cools. She tells Isaac she doesn’t want Jacob to marry a Hittite woman so Isaac blesses him and commands him to go to Paddan Aram to the house of his mother’s father Bethuel and take a wife from the daughters of Laban.  He blessed him again with fruitfulness and with the blessing given to Abraham.

Esau learned what had happened and he took a wife from Ishmael’s line in an effort to please his father.

Hebrews 12:6-14:  The Lord disciplines those He loves and punishes everyone He accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline for God is treating you as a son.  For if you are not disciplines then you are not sons of God.  Everyone is disciplined.  God disciplines us for our good so we may share in His holiness.

Discipline is never pleasant but it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Questions:

10)  Jacob got sent away from the only home he has known.  He has to endure Laban.  He is tricked into marrying Leah.  He had to work for 14 years to have Rachel.  He slept with her maidservant when she couldn’t have kids (sound familiar?). He has to flee from Laban.

Rebekah spends the rest of her days without Jacob.  She dies before he returns-never seeing him again or getting the chance to say good-bye.

11)  Just the fact that Isaac is giving Jacob the blessing willingly when he really wants to give it to Esau shows he trusts God when God chose Jacob to be the heir.  He trusts God to find a wife for Jacob.  He blesses Jacob with the same blessing God has blessed him with:  bless him financially and multiply in number and take possession of the Promised Land.

Conclusions:  I have nothing positive to say about this lesson so I won’t say anything at all.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 3: Genesis 27:26-41

Summary of passage:  Isaac kissed his son.  He smelled Esau’s clothes and concluded this was Esau.

Isaac blessed Jacob, asking God to give him abundance and have the nations serve him and bow to him, have him be lord over his brothers and have those who curse him be cursed and those who bless him be blessed.

Esau returned from hunting and brought in the food to Isaac.  Isaac realizes he had been tricked by Jacob.  But it was too late.  Isaac cannot bless both.  He did not reserve another blessing.  Esau wept and Isaac tells him he will serve his brother and he will live away from the earth’s riches but eventually he will throw off Jacob’s yoke.

Questions:

6a)  God will grant riches of the earth and an abundance of grain and wine.  Many nations will serve Jacob and people will bow down to him.  He will reign over his brothers and mother’s sons.  May those who curse him be cursed and those who bless him be blessed.

b)  God will punish the nation that enslaves His people (Genesis 15:14) but afterwards they will come out with great possessions.  Same as those who curse him be cursed.  Repeated in Genesis 12:3 where God says “I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse.”

7a)  According to Webster’s dictionary, regret is “to mourn the loss or death of; to miss very much; to be sorry for.”  Repentance is “the act or process of repenting (to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret) for misdeeds or moral shortcomings.”

As you can see, their meaning are the same in a way.  Regret is more to feel sorry for what you did (or did not do).  Repentance is to feel sorry for what you did but also to resolve to change and it’s emphasis is more on sin.

b)  Esau is regretful.  He’s sorry for himself that he did stupid things like sell his birthright for a meal and marry unbelievers.  But he doesn’t change his ways. Immediately, he wants to kill his brother–for his mistakes (of selling the birthright) but also for God’s will as I’m sure they all knew the prophetic words revealed to Rebekah. His heart is not repentant at all.

Jacob is repentant.  He realizes he tricked his father and lied to him and I think he’s truly sorry.  God spoke to him afterwards and does not condemn his actions.  For He doesn’t need to as Jacob has learned his lesson.

8a)  It would have gone against God’s will as spoken to Rebekah (Genesis 25:23).  Esau was flippant and despised his birthright as we see in Genesis 25:29-34 when he sold his birthright for a meal.  Esau married Hittite women (Genesis 26:34) which would have jeopardized the raising of his sons in terms of faith in the Lord.  Esau wants to kill his brother (Genesis 27:41)–a direct violation of God’s law of murder.  He is vengeful and his heart is not God’s.  Definitely not something God wants in the line to Jesus.

b)  They doubt.  They sin when they know it’s wrong.  They have no desire to do God’s will here on earth. They are in the world instead of of the world.

c)  He’s a provider.  He brings home meat for the family.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hope going in the right way.  I’m trying every day to be more like Jesus.  I’m trying to be in the Word as much as possible.  I’m trying to follow God’s purpose for my life.  I’m trying to raise my kids to know Him.  I’m trying to be a good wife and spouse to my husband.  We are at a turning point in our lives where we’re trying to plan for the future and put God at the center (both with our money and our hearts).  My husband and I are finally on the same page about this.  I pray I do His will every day.

9)  Isaac’s prophecy is:  Esau will dwell away from the earth’s riches.  He will live by the sword and will serve his brother.  But he will eventually throw off his brother’s yoke. During the Exodus, Moses asked to pass through Edom’s lands which they refused and so Israel turned from them (Numbers).  David conquered the Edomites (2 Samuel 8:14).

Edom did rebel against Judah (Israel) in 2 Kings 8:20-22.  Another war is depicted in 2 Kings 14:7 between Judah and Edom.  Another time Edom attacked Judah in 2 Chronicles 28:17.

Obadiah is where God has had enough of the Edomites and their sins against the Israelites.  God tells Israel to not abhor Edom for Edom is their brother (Deuteronomy 23:7) but when the Edomites cheer the fall of Jerusalem during the Babylonian invasion and help plunder the city and prey on fleeing Israelites God says through Obadiah “There will be no survivors from the house of Esau” (verse 18).

God says “As you have done, it will be done to you” (verse 15).  Like I said BEFORE, the Edomites were obliterated from history when Rome conquered Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Conclusions:  Question 9 is almost the exact same as Question 4 on Lesson 21 except here they give us the passages and last week they did not.

I’m really struggling here.  I’m floundering to be precise.  So I’m praying through this. This repetition and re-wording of the questions with virtually the same concept is driving me mad to be honest with you.

I GET it!  I do.  Part of me feels like BSF doesn’t trust me to get it.  So I’m being bombarded with the same passages (which in my view is not really all that hard when compared to say Isaiah for instance).  So I’m spending 3 lessons on the same thing (and tomorrow is Hebrews!).

I’m no Biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination.  But I understand right and wrong and why Jacob was the chosen one (simple–cause God chose him and God can do whatever He wants) and why Esau wasn’t worthy, etc, etc, etc.

Instead of growing I feel stuck.  I’m at the point of skipping some classes to be honest with you.  The last two weeks have been difficult.  My group has fallen to half its normal size from September.  So has my kids’ classes.

I can’t remember ever feeling like this with BSF before.  So I’m praying.  That’s all I can do really.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 2: Genesis 27:1-25

Summary of passage:  Isaac, now old and blind, asks Esau to hunt him some wild game and prepare him a meal at which he will give him his blessing.  Rebekah overheard Isaac tell Esau this so she told Jacob to go and bring her some young goats to prepare for him so that Jacob can go and receive Isaac’s blessing.  Jacob wonders though if Isaac touches him what to do because Esau is hairy and he is not.  His mother said not to worry.

Rebekah prepared the food and then dressed up Jacob in Esau’s clothes.  She covered his hands and neck with goatskins and sent him in to Isaac.  Jacob says he is Esau and bids his father to eat.  Isaac wonders how he found the game so quickly.  Jacob says the Lord granted him success.

Isaac suspects a trick and asks to touch Jacob.  He knows Jacob’s voice but falls for the goatskin trick.  Isaac blessed Jacob but is still unsure if he is Esau or not.  Jacob lies again, saying he is.  Isaac ate of the game.

Questions:

3)  Isaac planned to bless Esau and give him the birthright, which defied God’s plan which He revealed to Rebekah before Esau was even born (Genesis 25:23).  God intended Joseph to have the “older serve the younger.”

4a)  In this passage only, Jacob and Rebekah conspire to gain the blessing by having Jacob pretend to be Esau.  Jacob dressed up in goatskin to simulate Esau’s hair.  He wore Esau’s clothes.  Rebekah cooked a meal for Isaac.  Jacob lied to Isaac about his identity.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Don’t lie or deceive or white lie.  Numerous times I have posted about not lying to your kids so they will trust you in the big things.  HERE and HERE if interested.  Have an open relationship.  Have God at the center.  For if God is the center, love and honesty reign.

5a)  She did everything in her power to have Jacob receive the blessing as God intended.  And it worked.

b)  They were deceptive and involved lies and tricks.  Rebekah would have been better served if she had confronted Isaac about his intentions and told him to pray to God to ask for the truth.

c)  Same as above.  White lies.  Or lies.  Cheating people.  Deceiving people.

Conclusions:  Not happy AT ALL about this filler lesson.  I thought we had milked this passage already and here it shows up again?  Seriously?  Enough with the review.  In my opinion, nothing is learned in this lesson we didn’t already know.  We knew God’s plan.  We knew the deceptions Jacob and Rebekah do.  And we know the deceptions Christians (as all people-not just Christians) do today.  Wasted lesson in my opinion.

My time is valuable.  There’s so much in this world I don’t have time for.  And redundant study of a passage is something I don’t have patience for.  A year-long bible study in this society is a huge commitment.  And if indeed this lesson is just to stretch it out I have qualms with that.  I’d rather end a week earlier.  I have no problems being done in April.

In my class, you can tell people are dropping out.  Not as many women are coming nor kids.  This happens every year at the end of the study from my observations.  And maybe lessons like this is part of the reason why.  Something BSF should consider as they are analyzing attendance and growth numbers.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 21, Day 5: Genesis 25:27-34

Summary of passage:  Genesis 25:27-34:  Esau became a hunter while Jacob stayed home.  Isaac loved Esau while Rebekah loved Jacob more.  Esau sold his birthright for a meal, implying he despised his birthright.

Questions:

11a)  That Jacob had obeyed his parents by traveling to and taking a wife from Paddan Aram instead of a Canaanite woman.

b)  After God spoke to Jacob in a dream, he vowed for the Lord to be his God and he set up the pillar upon which he slept as God’s house, promising to bring God a tenth of what God has given him.

c)  Jacob worked for 7 years in order to win the hand of Rachel.

d)  God is with Jacob and has allowed no harm to come to him.  God has blessed Jacob with Laban’s livestock.  While Jacob cared for Laban’s flock, the flock never miscarried nor were attacked by wild beasts.  Jacob worked for 14 years for 2 daughters and 6 years for the flocks.  God rebuked Laban for his deception and ill-will towards Jacob.

e)  Jacob prays to God to protect him as he finally returns home to the promised land from his brother Esau whom he is still afraid.  But God has told him it is time to return home so Jacob has obeyed.

12a)  Faith

b)  Jacob is one of the patriarchs of His chosen people–the people who will obey God and shine His light into the world.  God chose Jacob to receive His inheritance and to love him and to be His treasured possession.  To serve God (Isaiah 41:8-9).  To redeem him and summon him by name.  To protect and lead.  (Isaiah 43:1-2).  Continuing in Isaiah 43, we are precious and honored in God’s sight, loved, and He is with us (4-5).  To be God’s witnesses here on earth (10, 12).  To save (11).

13)  He sold his birthright for a meal.  He married Hittite women.  He married more women in an attempt to be like Jacob and win the birthright back but it was all an act in my opinion.

Conclusions:  In ancient times as soon as the  words God of Abraham, Isaac, and/or Jacob was mentioned, everyone knew which God you were talking about.  And that is how they identified God since there were so many pagan gods in ancient times.  Most knew who Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were and no more need be said.

Today, that is not the case.  Even in Christian circles I believe the names are recognized but the details are not known as they were in ancient times.  Important details were memorized since not many could read.  We don’t memorize Scripture like the ancients since we take it for granted that we can look it up in the Bible.

For me it has been fun throughout the study of Genesis to cement in my mind who’s who. I was talking to my husband about Isaac and Rebekah and my husband had forgotten a few details about it all.  So now when the Bible refers to the “God of Isaac” I know exactly what Isaac did and why God is referred to as the God of Isaac and its significance.

I was reading to my kids about how people today don’t take the time to notice nature and observe it like they did long ago.  With the wealth of information out there about God and what we know I think sometimes it was easier to get closer to God in ancient times because they did more praying, more contemplating, more thinking, more studying of God than we do. We are so distracted by technology that we may miss God in a simple book.  Something to ponder at least…

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 21, Day 4: Genesis 25:27-34

Summary of passage:  Genesis 25:27-34:  Esau became a hunter while Jacob stayed home.  Isaac loved Esau while Rebekah loved Jacob more.  Esau sold his birthright for a meal, implying he despised his birthright.

Questions:

8a)  Who wouldn’t?  From Question 6 from yesterday, we learn the birthright entails in this case the promise of Abraham which is having nations bow down to you, be lord over your brothers and all your relatives and others, and may those who despise you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.  Deuteronomy says the firstborn should receive a double share and is the sign of his father’s strength.  Jacob would be the chosen one of God to perpetuate His nation.  Sign me up, too!

b)  As we explored in 7d yesterday as well, we learn Esau does not have a heart for God. He marries Canaanite women (Genesis 26:34–notice not one woman but two which is not what God desires for man).  He despises his birthright (Genesis 25:36) while Jacob embraces it.  And we see that Jacob will do anything (nothing morally right) but anything to receive the blessing.  So he desires it.  And we must assume both Esau and Jacob knew the heavy expectations with this birthright.

It’s like in our day.  Those who persevere and desire something the most usually achieves it.  Although the methods Jacob employed did not sit well with God, God chose Jacob anyways.  Because of his heart.  God chooses.  Not us.

c)  Abraham lacked faith in God’s promise of a son, believing Sarah was incapable of having a child, so he had a child with Hagar.  I’m not quite sure if Jacob ever had unbelief. He believed he had the birthright already and he did what he had to do in order to receive it.  I’m assuming BSF is looking for some answer like this, “Well, if Jacob would have waited God would have given him the birthright anyways.”  True.  But he wouldn’t have received it from Isaac on earth.  And I’m not sure if unbelief was the motivation behind Jacob’s actions.  It’s a stretch in my opinion.

9a)  Our inheritance is to be like Jesus, to live a Godly-life, following God’s laws, and to do His work set before us. Some Christians don’t like having to live up to these higher standards so they follow the world instead of God’s word and God’s will for their life. They think it unfair despite what Jesus did for us on the cross.  So they chose to ignore God and listen to the devil instead.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I do my bible study every day.  I pray.  I try to do God’s will in my life.  I try to be more like Jesus every day.  I take my God-given purpose seriously.  I try to show Him the best I can.

10)  They are adopted as sons of God.  They have divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises.  We have Christ indwelt through Jacob’s family and are reckoned with God.

Conclusions:  Seems like this was an expounding of yesterday.  It seems intuitive but a lot of Christians/unbelievers don’t grasp the concept:  Christians are blessed; they are different; they do have a spiritual inheritance and spiritual advantages because of Jesus; and they do have a responsibility once Christ lives inside of them to make this world a better place.

Christians are set apart by God.  They have a God-given purpose for their brief time on earth.  It is our responsibility to act on everything Christ has done for us.  It is our job to save as many people as possible.  And rewards await us when our body gives out.

So what are you doing for Him today?