1. I missed the lecture.
2. I realize my answer will not specifically address “what I found “new and helpful” in the notes.” What stood out to me were several suppositions that aren’t apparent to me in the biblical text.
I don’t know how “clearly” Rebekah saw the patriarchal blessing. Perhaps she did in the beginning, but time has a way of eroding the memory of those times of intimacy with God. Doubt can creep in amid the day-to-day events of life. Rebekah’s favoritism toward Jacob seems more predominate in the unfolding events of Isaac’s blessing.
I also do not agree that Rebekah was “blind to her own responsibility to warn her husband.” More likely, social conventions of the time dictated such behavior to be highly inappropriate. If she felt at liberty to do so, and thought it would be fruitful, why wouldn’t she have tried that before going to such lengths to deceive Isaac? Their favoritism seems to have driven a wedge.
I am also unsure of the statement about Esau: “He should have recognized that his attitude disqualified him from inheriting God’s promises to bless the world through Abraham’s line.” God had already made His choice long before Esau was able to have attitudes. Also, if that discredited Esau, why wouldn’t Jacob’s behavior disqualify him?
I suppose I’m sounding contentious, but the notes are commentary. And we are supposed to be studying the actual Bible text.
3. Jacob first encountered the people of Paddan Aram at the well where they came to water their flocks. Rachel just happened to be arriving when he inquired about his mother’s family. Like Rebekah, she was also the shepherd of the family. Laban was, once again, the one who welcomed the visitor and made provision for him.
4. In my opinion, given Laban’s behavior later in the story, the girls did not have a choice in the matter. Laban remembered the wealth sent by Jacob’s father, and likely dreamed this day would come. Of the two daughters, Leah had more reason to be willing than did Rachel. However, in Genesis 31:15, Rachel and Leah said their father, Laban, sold them as if they were strangers. They believed Laban was after a double dowry. With Leah’s looks, he likely thought Jacob was his only opportunity to have a rich man marry her.
5. a. Jacob was in the dark and could not see Leah, so he assumed she was Rachel. He had been drinking, so his faculties were also compromised just as Isaac’s were due to age and blindness.
b. Jacob had sown deceit, and he was now reaping deceit. Jacob learned what it was like to be on the receiving end of this type of behavior. God tested him and gave him the opportunity to prove whether or not he would again resort to deceit rather than turn to Him.
c. Practicing manipulation through deceit, teaches it to the others around you. You and your loved ones reap what you have sown. This selfish behavior – putting yourself in the place of God – is the opposite of humbly seeking and trusting God.
d. Luke 6:31 And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them. (AMP)
There are a number of verses that say one should use honest business practices and avoid taking unfair advantage of others. (Leviticus 19:11c Do not deceive one another. NIV)
The word promises unbroken fellowship with our Father and that we will never be shaken.
Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.
6. a. Jacob’s 12 sons:
b. God does not approve of the favoritism. He blesses the unloved wife. Even though it looks as if Rachel is cursed, Sarah and Rebekah also suffered from infertility until God healed them.
c. Leah is thankful and recognizes that God saw her misery. Unfortunately, she still focused on the expectation that the sons she bore Jacob would earn his love until Judah was born. Then she praised the Lord. We should also take comfort in knowing that God sees the difficult circumstances of our lives. We should be thankful and praise Him.
7. a. Leah wanted Jacob to love her. The scripture does not mention that Jacob loved Leah. Nor does it say he mourned her death. He did honor her by burying her alongside the patriarchs of the family.
b. Jesus came from the lineage of Leah’s son, Judah.
c. Our lives are short compared with eternity, and by comparison, our times of trouble are momentary.
8. a. Jacob was…
- Did not complain
b. Jacob submitted to an unjust master, knowing that God would bless him despite his unfair treatment.
c. Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” “As unto the Lord” has been my motto for the past four or five years when the Lord asked me to serve in ways that were challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally. Jesus said that when we serve “the least of these,” we are serving Him. Matthew 25:40
9. a. Greedy, self-centered, deceptive, dishonest
b. Laban took all of the speckled and spotted animals from the flocks tended by Jacob.
10. a. Work for my husband, work for my daughter-in-law, give up my dream house more than once, live in a construction zone without the finances to do things in a timely manner…
b. Complain a lot less than I am inclined and focus on things for which I can be thankful.
11. a. God spoke to him in a dream
b. 20 years – Genesis 31:41
12. a. Genesis 31:42 “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.”
b. Abimelech recognized that God was blessing Jacob and perhaps that they were blessed because of him. Although Isaac was not sent away peacefully as Abimelech claimed, Isaac did not challenge him.
When they came to capture Jesus with swords, He pointed out that He never tried to cause a rebellion nor hide from them. He was always peacefully among them.
c. Genesis 31 verses that show God blessed Jacob when he was mistreated by Laban:
c. Genesis 31 verses that show God blessed Jacob when he was mistreated by Laban:
vs 5 – God has been with me.
vs 6 – God has not allowed him to harm me.
vs 9 – God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me.
13. a. Genesis 31:30-31 “Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.”
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
In Jacob’s case, the hardship is considered discipline by the study notes. Not every challenge in life is discipline, I believe. I do not believe persecution is discipline. A loving parent does not make his children sick nor does he inflict wounds. Still, we have a responsibility to avoid allowing a bitter root to grow. We should seek the Lord in the time of hardship for wisdom and guidance to understand the situation.
b. “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
After many years of spousal abuse, one day I prayed, “Lord, I’m willing to be willing to forgive.” Whenever anger arose after that, I tried to remember to say, “I forgive him for his actions.” I said it in faith, even though I didn’t and don’t always feel it. I saw a “picture” once of forgiveness wrapped up in a package. I was offering the gift. Whether or not he received it, was not up to me. By offering it, that root was no longer inside of me. I was at peace.
14. I was reminded to consider hardships as discipline – or to at least ask the Lord about the source of the hardship. I am reminded that my reactions are often the result of selfishness. By reacting selfishly, I fall short of the grace of God. Pray that I will live as unto the Lord – living in peace with everyone as far as it depends on me.