Posted by: Joan | September 22, 2007

90 Day Bible Reading Marathon (Day 2-4)

Interesting things to me:

Genesis 17-50

Ch17:  Covenant of Circumcision with Abraham and his people (Abram fell facedown as God spoke with him v3, v17)

Everlasting covenant for Abraham and his descendants; name changes for he and Sarai

God hears Abrams prayer and desire for Ishmael to be blessed, and He blesses him as well as a result, though the orignal plan was for Isaac. (v20 “as for Ishmael, I have heard you;  I will surely bless him;…great nation).

CH 18  The Three Visitors

The “visitors” gave presence to Sarah as well as to Abraham.  The assumed Jesus figure lets her know he hears her in private by calling her on “laughing” and lying to him about it.  Abraham asks them to stay for a meal…he proceeds to have Sarah cook bread (a 4-5 hour process), kill an animal, and cook it…not a quick thing either.  Their hospitality to strangers, and investment in them is amazing, both he and his nephew did this.

Then, Abraham goes walking with the men, he hears about Lot’s “lot”, and the plan for the evil cities, including S*dom and G*morrah.  He asks God to save it for Lot, basically.  Even though the angels are not with them during the conversation (for they had walking on ahead), they would not destroy the city until Lot had left.  Whether God had already decided this, or whether they “heard” the conversation between God and Abraham, it is not clear.

Note the extent of depravity of the city of S*dom.  The high level of s*xual l*st.  Where we get the word ‘S*domy” today.  (stars to through off search engines for key words).

Also, note that God came down to double check the outcry that had reached his ears against the city.  He wanted to see for himself if it was as bad as He had heard.  It was as if he said, “Let’s go down and check it out, and on our way, we’ll stop by and see my friend, Abraham. 

Lot protected his guests, offering up his daughters in exchange, which is odd to me.  Perhaps he already understood they were of God?

Lot cooked the food for them, using unleavened yeast to speed up the bread.  I wonder why his wives did not prepare the food?  Did he want to spend time with him, or busy himself inside him home, as he could not be outside it and be safe?  

Lot bargained with the angels to not make him go to the mountains, but to another small town nearby (again, choosing his own place).  Later, he realized he could not live there for the fear he took with him, so he went to the mountains anyway.  His daughters tricked him to conceive.

ch20  Abraham lies about Sarah being his sister for safety (she was his half sister).  

God protects Sarah, hears and watches over her (he likely wanted to be sure her child was through Abraham to uphold his promise).  God had struck the king, his wifes and slave girls that they could not be fruitful while Sarah was there, and when she left, he healed them.

ch21 birth of Isaac

v6  Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter”…when I tell all my friends, we will laugh, for I am old.”  She had been in misery from her barreness.

 v8 they threw a party the day the baby was weaned

v9 Hagar mocked at the party, and Sarah had her banished

v11 the matter distressed Abraham greatly, for it “concerned his son” (Ishmael).  It is precious that he had a heart not only for the called of God, but for his firstborn, by a slave girl.  God heard his heart and told him to listen to Sarah, that he would take care of his offspring.

v14, he sent them away with food and water, which ran out in the desert.

v16 Hagar sobbed, and left the boy, for she did not want to see him die

v17 “God heard THE BOY crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter, Hagar?  Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies tehre.  Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.'”

God spoke to not only the chosen.  He kept his word.  He strengthened the weak, and heard a child’s cries from heaven, even over her mother’s sobs.

v20 “And God was with the boy as he grew up”

ch22 God tests Abraham

After he passes the test, God restates, affirms his promise to him, “because you have obeyed me”.

ch 23 The death of Sarah

a tomb for many generations is bought for her in a strange land.  People honored Abraham by wanting to give it to them, but he insisted on buying the field for his family’s burial.

ch24  Isaac and Rebekah

a wife is sought from among Abraham’s people for Isaac and found with God’s help.  Abraham’s servant prayed to God, asking help, and God gave it specifically. 

v33.  Abraham’s servant would not eat their food until he told them why he had come.  This shows great political skill.  He did not want them to feel indebted to them when he had something to ask of them already.

v56.  He would not delay and allow time for complication, but asked to leave immediately to honor his master’s request.   This showed great faithfulness to his master and his task.

v66 So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

ch 25 Death of Abraham

v5 left everything he owned to Abraham…gave gifts to sons of his concubines before he died.

“After Abraham died, God blessed his son, Isaac.”

Ishmaels sons, lineage, and success is recorded.  Twelve tribal rules resulted.  But, according to God’s word to Hagar when she was pregnant, “they lived in hsotility toward all their brothers.” (v18)

v21  “Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren”…twins, struggled within her, she prayed of the Lord, he told her that the older would serve the younger.  (God did not mince words).  It’s okay (good news), but here are also the facts (not so good news).

v34.  “so Esau despised his birthright”.

Ch26 Abimelech est. a treaty with Isaac, because he saw God’s hand was on him (wealth), and he had sent him away

Ch27 Jacob gets’s Isaac’s blessing, with the help of his mother, Rebekah, for she favored him, and perhaps knew that Esau had given the birthright…inheritance to him already.  

v36 Esau says, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”  Esau sticks to his word, for his word was his word, even if he was tricked.  Jacob was lord over him, all relatives were his servants, sustainance with grain and new wine…what is left, son?

v38, “Do you have only one blessing, my father?  Belss me too, my father!”  Then Esau wept aloud.  (Now, he valued it).

He father told him he would live by the sword away from land and richness, and he would serve his brother, but he would through the yoke of his brother off his neck.

Jacob flees to Laban, afraid of Esau (the cost of deceit)

Jacob works for Laban for his second daughter, Rachel.  He is deceived, and has to work four more years for her.

He wants to return home and has trouble leaving Laban.  Eventually, he starts building his own herds and leaves, for Laban is getting jealous of his wealth.  Jacob was skilled at mating the animals, and did so to his own advantage, it would seem.

Rachel steals her father’s idols, but doesn’t tell Jacob.  Laban comes looking for the gods, but doesn’t find them, for Rachel lies, Jacob had spoken a curse of death onto the thief. (God spoke to Laban in a dream, telling him not to speak anything good or bad to Jacob).  Interesting command.  Rachel had become a deceiver, like her husband.

Laban and Jacob make peace and a boundary line they may not cross to protect one another.  Laban bits farewell to his daughtes and grandchildren.

Esau and Jacob meet, and bless one another after so many years, as Rebekah (their mother) had hoped would happen.

They could not live together because they were “too great”.  God had prospered both of them, in their own ways.

Ch32b
  Jacob wrestles with God

Jacob sent his family ahead of him, basically, in case he killed them all.   Very good of him.  So, God, I guess…tackles his wimpiness and decides that if he can’t be a man and go first, then he can just fight with the Alimighty and learn to toughen up a bit.  I’m just guessing here.  (And this has gone on for a while, so I’m getting tired).  No, seriously, he just met with God.

Anyway, God changes Joacobs name to Israel.  So, he was “deceiver” and is now “overcomer”.  God saw that he had wrestled with both man and God and had overcome.  So…the thing is, he is still passing on this deceptive trait to family members, even though he himself is overcoming, and this is quite disconcerting for all of us to realize.

Now, it says, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”  So, I thought no one could see God’s face and win.  So.  What’s with that?

He tells Esau (Ch 33) that seeing him was like seeing the face of God.  He tried to appease Esau with gifts, and Esau replied that God had already blessed him…he didn’t need it.  He had all he needed.

Ch34…so here was have an interesting story.  We’ve got one sister in the clan, Dinah, and once again, she is beautiful (all these women were totally irresistable to the kings in the lands this visited…wow.)  So, anyway, she was “violated” by him, and then he falls in love with her and wants to marry her, brothers trick the whole land into getting themselves circumsized only to weaken them so that they can kill them all.  Heaven forbid their sister become “a prostitute”, because they thought only their sister was a way for the men to get to their goods.  So…now we have murdering brothers.  But, at least sis is not bought for their money.

As it turns out, later in the book, they lose their blessing upon his death because they were so hot headed and war-prone. 

Ch35 “Then God said to Jacob” (who was afraid he was about to be massacred by the Canaanites)…Get rid of your foreign gods, purify yourselves, and change your clothes, then go up to Bethel, build and altar to God…”so, the terror of God fell upon the towns all around them so that on one pursued them.”

v. 10 Again, God reminds him that he is no longer to be called Jacob, but Israel.

“Bethel”…house of God.

“El Shaddai”…God Almighty (v. 11)

v16, Rachel dies in childbirth, so she names the boy “Ben-Oni”, but his father named him Benjamin.

v21.  Reuben sleeps with his Dad’s concubine.  Overall, not a good move.  He loses his blessing over this.

v27 Isaac goes back home to Pop (Jacob)…then, he dies, and Esau and Jacob bury him.

Ch37–I love how this starts…

“This is the account of Jacob.  (and that’s pretty much all that is said about Jacob for say, 12 chapters or so)

Then, “Joseph, a young man of seventeen…”favor, coat, dream, jealousy, well, servant, jail, dreams, king, dream, famine, second in command of all of Egypt. (20 yrs. later).

Okay, so this is where it gets really amazing to me.  First, Joseph gets SO overwhelmed at the famine when he realized he is in the middle of God’s prophecy all this time, is saving the world from famine, and now…his own family.  Now, I’d never paid attention to this story before, but Joseph has a great bit of fun with his brothers before revealing himself.  First, he throws the brother in jail that he’s had a bone to pick with.  Then, he makes them bring Benjamin back with him and nearly gives ‘ole Dad a nervous breakdown…they are already about starving to death.  Joseph can’t decide whether to go on with them or cry.  He does a lot of both (silver cup in the sack! Ch 44), just until the time is “right” and he can’t do it any more (Ch 45).

So, then he secures a safe place for the fam in Egypt…the king is ready to give him anything he wants he has, after all, saved the whole world, and delivered it into the king’s lap…the people had to give their money, land, and themselves to buy their own food back.   Go figure.  Government for you.  It started right here.  After that time, Joseph helped make a rule where from then on 1/5 of the food went to the king.

Ch 48 an interesting thing happens.  Israel (Jacob) is dying and sends for Joseph.  Joseph brings his two sons with him, and because God had consoled Jacob saying he would be fruitful and his nations would increase, and Rachel, his love, dies, he decides to adopt Josephs sons to fulfill this prophecy.  So, on his deathbed, he meets this sons, and gives his entire inheritance, to both Joseph, his two sons, and the blessing passes down to Josephs other sons.  And this is the weird thing.  Joseph tries to correct this, BUT Jacob insists on giving Manessah the blessing of the firstborn.  He is still hung up on this “second place” thing.  It’s like, “I don’t want them to fight over it like we did, so I’ll just give it to the second to begin with”.  Surprise!  He just had a soft spot for the second born.  Crazy.  What a rebel.

The blessings of Jacob for his sons are incredible.  Basically, if they were good boys, they got a good blessing, if not, well…you reap what you sow. 

The ones who were hard on Joseph didn’t get a thing.  Those who stayed out of the way and minded their own business were blesses.  Big life lesson there.  (Good stuff in there, check it out).

Ch50, We see Joseph’s great love for his father again, lots of mourning, crying, kissing, and care at his death.  The whole entire court of the King goes with Joseph to grieve.  It’s quite a sight.  Joseph grieves for a solid week in ceremonial grieving, and they all join him.  The whole land takes notice of this enormous bandwagon going to buy Jacob in his own burial plot back home.

Joseph’s brothers get nervous after Dad dies that Joseph might lay into them.  So, it seems they make something up to say to him to try to soften him up, but once again, Joseph gives God credit for where he landed.  “And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them”. 

Death of Joseph:  Same general blessing to sons.  Asks to be taken “home”, that his bones be moved at some point.  (Moses does so later…why he couldn’t be buried there then is beyond me).

The end.

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