Today Mary brings our lesson:
God of the House
Day One: The Embrace of Brothers
On this week Beth Moore notes, “We surmised that the best way to “face” something we deeply want to avoid is to have an honest face-to-face with God.” How many times I’ve had to do that in my own life. Sometimes I’ve been like Jonah (Jonah 1:3) and tried to avoid God so I wouldn’t have to “face” what I wanted to avoid, only to have God put me in a situation (Jonah 2:1) that all I could do is come to God face-to-face. Beth Moore says, “After Jacob wrestled with God, he had the courage to step ahead and take the lead, meeting his brother first. Though he was still terrified, he knew his place. An intense encounter with God can give us the courage to do the necessary things we wish we didn’t have to do We may still be afraid, but we’re more afraid of disobeying God than facing a mess we helped make.” After his encounter with God, Jacob was able to come out from behind the wall he and made with his herds, servants, wives, and children, and face Esau.
After his encounter with God he was given a limp. Beth Moore points out, “We are to walk as people who have encountered God, and some of the most transforming encounters are wrestling matches.…the lost do not wrestle with God nearly as much as we who belong to Him….Though our humanity may be wounded (Jacob’s limp), our souls are made whole by the One with whom we wrestle.”
Encountered God? Walk like it.
Day Two: Nightmare in Shechem
Having never gone through something like Dinah (Jacob’s daughter) went through, nor knowing any one that has, I’m not sure that I can adequately comment on this subject.
I will say though that it is important as parents that we make sure of who our daughters (or sons) are spending time with and that we know the personality of the families we let them spend the night with. There were three different times in my life that a schoolmate invited me to spend the night and I was made to feel uncomfortable by the school mate’s older sibling. Sometimes our children are invited into homes of people we don’t know much about. We need to be careful of the situation we are unwittingly placing our children in. I was able to come home unscathed, but not all children are so fortunate.
Beth more points out that nothing was said about what Dinah felt, but when Tamar (King David’s daughter) was attacked we get a clear picture of how she felt. Tamar’s words and reaction can give us an idea of how Dinah may have reacted. II Samuel 13:12-20.
Beth Moore: “the innermost part of my being, where the Spirit of Christ dwells (I Cor. 6:17 ---cannot be violated. Therefore, what defines me most has never been touched. …In my own healing process, God taught me that the more I allowed the Spirit of truth dwelling in me to take authority over my body and soul, the more the wholeness of Christ would overtake every part of me. In other words, God taught me to live from the inside out. I seek to allow the stronger, most invincible part of me—the spirit—to have dominion over all else, thereby sanctifying them just as I Thessalonians 5:23 suggests. …The Spirit of God dwelling with me has so overtaken my whole being that even my body no longer feels violated.” Again this is from Beth Moore.
“God can rebuild shattered lives.”
Day: Three El Bethel
Jacob returns to Bethel where he had his first encounter with God through the dream of the ladder that reached to Heaven. Before he goes though it was time for some house cleaning, he tells his family in Genesis 35:2 “…Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments…” Beth Moore: “Like Jacob, we might start by looking for the cracks of compromise within the rock. As much as we’re able, we need to insist on a thorough housecleaning and re-consecration. If we’ve done something drastically uncharacteristic for a follower of Christ, we need to trace the cracks of compromise.”
It is also important to check for cracks and the need for spiritual house cleaning in our spiritual lives. We need focused time with the Lord to stay spiritually healthy and to avoid a spiritual crisis in our lives. We say that we need to make time for God with out realizing that by making time for God we are also making time for ourselves to be cleaned from the sin of this world. Ephesians 5:26 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” (This verse it is in reference to the church, but since the church is made up of individuals, it can apply to us.)
Jacob goes from naming the place he first encountered God Bethel (God’s house) Genesis 28:19 to calling it El Bethel (God of the house of God) Genesis 35:6. Beth Moore states, “…the abiding presence of God…gradually shifted Jacob’s focus from the things of God—blessings, protection, land—to God Himself. This shift is the single most profound turning point toward spiritual maturity, for Jacob or for us.” She also says, “One of the most obscure traps the Devil sets for the deeply spiritual is to tempt us to love loving God more than we actually love God.”
“Without the El, Bethel is just an empty house.”
Day Four: But His Father
This day Beth Moore begins with the first born Reuben lying with Jacob’s concubine Bilhah. In light of the fact that Absalom did the same thing with his father King David’s concubines when he took over Jerusalem (II Samuel 16:21-23) I agree when Beth Moore quotes “Whatever his actual motives, Reuben’s deed represents a powerful challenge to Jacob’s authority.”
Included in our studies is a time of death. Jacob’s beloved Rachel dies.
What should be a joyful time becomes a time of sorrow Genesis 35:16-20. Myself I’ve always thought this was one of the saddest stories. After having such a hard time having children and there being many years between the two sons, Rachel dies without having known her second/last son. She died doing the one thing she wanted so much, bearing children. In her grief, she names her baby Benoni “son of my trouble.” However, Jacob in his wisdom renamed him Benjamin “son of my right hand.” The “right hand” being the place of honor means that Jacob gave Benjamin a name of honor. Beth Moore says “Rachel did not know the breadth of repercussions her dying wish to name her baby Ben-oni could have. Jacob did. He would not have his son haunted by them.” As I study my Bible, I see where names are very important to God as well as Man. Several times God changes a persons name during spiritual transformations in that person’s life. Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul. I’ve seen how a name can label the child it has been given to and believe we need to give careful thought when naming our children. Beth Moore mentions Jabez who had to get past his name’s meaning “I bare him with sorrow”. He was able to get past it becoming “more honorable than his brethren.”
“A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches” Prov.22:1
Day Five: Public Dreams
Something I told my boys while they were growing up, all truths don’t need to be spoken. Or sometimes we just need to know when to keep our mouths shut. Joseph had a hard time with those two ideas. Of course so did his dad.
In Genesis 37:1-11 we find a recipe on how to alienate one son from all the rest. Beth more begins Joseph’s introduction as the main character by saying, “When partiality is an issue, everyone in a family pays. The chapters to come will show no one pays more than the one to whom partiality is steered.” In Genesis29:17 and Genesis 39:6 Rachel and Joseph are both called “well favored”. I wouldn’t at all be surprised as Beth Moore points out that Jacob was reminded of Rachel every time he looked at Joseph. Rachel was his favorite and beloved wife. Joseph was her son. Jacob in his great love and partiality for Joseph honors him with “a coat of many colors”. Beth Moore says, “Jacob anoints Joseph as his heir apparent….Jacob made a powerful statement when he robed Joseph differently, and the brothers did not misinterpret it.” The giving of the robe probably was a shock to the eldest (Rueben) who as was custom would have been the next in succession, so much for his “show” of power.
All of this partiality wasn’t lost on Joseph either, and his tattle telling on his brothers (Genesis 37:2) plus the telling of the dreams (Genesis 37: 5-11) was a symptom of that knowledge. With the bestowing of the coat, he probably felt he had the right to lord it over his brothers. It’s no wonder his brothers began to hate him. In Genesis 37:4, 8, 11 we can see their hatred getting stronger and stronger.
“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles. Prov.21:23