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God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 22 - Genesis 30-31: All (Jacob's) Children

Today’s Reading: Genesis 30-31

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

The stories in Genesis are not meant for us to emulate or glean lessons from. They are the chronicles of the ancient people of Israel. So remember as you are reading these stories are not meant for us to judge. They are meant for us to understand the people.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Barren, Rachel gave Jacob her maid Bilhah as a substitute. Bilhah bore two sons. In response, Leah gave Jacob her maid Zilpah and she bore two sons. Leah and Rachel continuously fought over Jacob. Leah bore two more sons. God allowed Rachel to have a son, Joseph.
Laban and Jacob agreed to give him certain-colored animals. Jacob saw to it that all the strong animals gave birth to that-colored young and he prospered. Their relationship was rocky. Jacob left for home in the night. Laban chased after them. They finally agreed to peace and Laban returned home sad but satisfied.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God's people are the same as people today.

The themes from today—women fighting over one man, businessmen fighting over who cheated who, grandparents sad and angry that their children and grandchildren move away suddenly—are the same battles people face today. The people from the Bible are not super-humans who bare no similarities with people today. They are normal, everyday folks. God uses them. God can use us as well.

Jacob's marriage to Leah and Rachel (and subsequently Bilhah and Zilpah) gives the best argument for one man, one woman marriages.

There is no prohibition of polygamy in the Bible. Everyone who attempts to give one has to rely on inferences from other passages (Genesis 2, for example, is descriptive not prescriptive). What the Bible does have, however, is real stories of polygamous marriages not working well. Leah and Rachel fight constantly as rivals (they are sisters!) over Jacob's love. They use him as a bargaining chip for power. Their children are leverage over the other wives. And Bilhah and Zilpah become lost in the battle. If that doesn't scream, "Don't marry more than one woman!" I don't know what else could. But I must be clear, examples of something going terribly wrong does not make it a sin.

What did you see reading this passage? Questions? Comments? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.

If you missed a reading or want to go to a specific date, type the link as follows: http://grahambates.blogspot.com/2013/mm/dd.html That will take you to the reading for that day. Enjoy!