Day 13 352 to go! :) Hang in there with me! We've only just begun!!!
Chapter 35 Jacob returns to Bethel today.....he went because God told him to. He was to go and build an altar there because that is where God appeared to him when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau. But before he could go he had to clean house....you know, pick up the toys, run the vacuum cleaner, put the dishes away, feed the dog, take out the dirty diapers, get the laundry started....oh wait! That's MY cleaning list! :)
Jacob was supposed to clean out all of the "foreign gods"....they are to purify themselves and even change their clothes (because you aren't supposed to travel in dirty underwear, right?! ) What they are really getting ready for is a pilgrimage of sorts. A pilgrimage to a place where 20 years ago God appeared to them. This purification process will ensure that every household member will be acceptable to God....both physically and spiritually. Preparing to meet God must always come from within your soul! A little housekeeping is good for all! Every time God appeared to Jacob, God blessed him. When God appeared this time, he told him AGAIN (first time in 32:28) that he would no longer be called Jacob...but was now to be called Israel. This is such a pivotal point that my mother pointed out to me in chapter 32 and here it is again. If its repeated, it must be important! So, Jacob is told by God that his name is Israel and that a great nation will come from him. There you have it, the nation of Israel from Jacob. WOW! Pretty cool!!!! God was renewing the promise he had to Abraham and to Isaac.
Then by the end of chapter 35 Rachel dies and so does Isaac. As Rachel takes her last breath, she has just given birth to her son, Ben-Oni....."son of my trouble." She never saw him. What sorrow she died in! What heartache for Isaac, but he named the son Benjamin....which I think I read somewhere that means "son of my right hand." Don't be confused when reading chapter 35....Jacob IS Israel! They use both names.....why its never switched there completely...dunnoo....who's he hiding from ? God? Nope..THAT doesn't work! Can't hide from God...especially when He is the one who changes your name! Isaac lived 180 years, died, was gathered to his people and was full of years! Then Esau and Jacob/Israel buried him.
Chapter 36 Well....YOU go read this chapter....OUTLOUD!! See how much you stumble over your tongue!!! Dusty and I take turns reading. I had to read this crazy chapter! It was as hard as having read 10 of them outloud. I was worn out! Its simply a list of Esau's descendants...so that means only one thing.......WEIRD BIBLICAL NAMES TO PRONOUNCE! But what we do need to know from this chapter is that Esau and Jacob had such a great vast of possessions, that they had to move away from each other in order to have room for all of their livestock to feed and thrive. They must have moved somewhere as open and desolate as out there in Northern New Mexico...somewhere between Clayton and Raton! Nothing there!!!!! Plenty of room for Esau and Jacob's herds to roam!!!
Chapter 37 Joseph had a dream.....this is a familiar story........Joseph being the favored son of Jacob and his brothers were jealous. God even favors him over the other brothers. Joseph dreamed that people and things would bow down before him...his brothers thought he was crazy to think they would do that. His father though, when told about the dream, would "keep it in mind" (v. 11). Joseph was sold by his brothers and he ended up in Egypt but they let their dad believe that he was dead. Such deception and such hatred. Even THAT isn't on TV! :) Jacob mourned and mourned and could not be comforted. The trials in Egypt that Joseph will face only teaches him to okey God. Isn't that true! God will preserve Jacob's family and nation......a must for this IS the nation that will eventually produce a Savior for the world! (Which should be sometime in October!!!) :)
Lessons learned today: always have a ready and willing heart to meet the Lord in your day. You just never know where and how He will bless you!