Lord Jesus, reveal Your nearness to me today. Surround me with the love You have for all Your children.
Read Genesis 35:16-29
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Who stands out as a significant Christian in the public eye? What impresses you about them? How can you support them?
Jacob has been the main focus of this narrative, but now it begins to move to his son Joseph; however, it is not without incident. Benjamin’s birth is also the occasion of Rachel’s death, and the pillar Jacob erects to mark her tomb is a witness to both the joy of his arrival and the sorrow of her passing. It might have been expected that the name she gave him as she was dying would be kept by Jacob, but perhaps the change to “son of my right hand” (18) was to indicate a feeling of hope or good fortune to come in the future. Still, his sorrow at her death lingers to the end of his life (48:7). Another interesting aside is the blessing of Joseph’s two sons, where the younger is favored over the elder, in an echo of Jacob’s own life and that of his sister wives (48:12-20).
Rather less notable is Reuben’s dishonorable behavior. It is suggested that he was attempting to prevent Bilhah’s potential replacement of Rachel in Jacob’s favor, and various writers attribute the loss of his privileged position as first-born to this event. Finally, the death of Isaac reunites Jacob and Esau as they buried their father with his forebears. Interestingly, this is also where, at the end of his own long life, Jacob requested to be buried, rather than with Rachel (49:29,30; 50:12,13).
Jacob’s life contains flight and return, duplicity and honesty, struggle and triumph, self-reliance and dependence on God. He develops from someone to whom God is only known as a name, a deity worshiped by his fathers, into the patriarch who worships God himself and who names him as the God of his people. He is part of the story of our salvation.
Recall and give thanks for all those who have played a part in the journey of your faith in Christ.
Amazing God, when I reflect on Jacob’s life, I see–sometimes in spite of, rather than because of, who I am–how You graciously accomplish Your purposes.