Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jacob's Travails

The story of Jacob takes up the second half of the book of Genesis, sandwiched between the story of Abraham, his grandfather (Gen 12-24) and his son, Joseph (Gen 37-50). Because it overlaps with the Joseph's narrative towards the end of Genesis, we can say that the life and adventures of Jacob are given the most space in the first book of the Bible. Perhaps God knows not everyone will have the faith of Abraham and can identify with the rise to political power of Joseph but with Jacob, almost everyone can identify with him in one way or another. If you are a grieved employee, look at Jacob, twice he said his employer, Laban cheated him ten times though Jacob worked hard and Laban even acknowledged that God had blessed him on account of Jacob's presence and work. If you have family conflicts, sibling rivalry, Jacob's spat with Esau his older twin deserves much study and how at the end they are reconciled though Jacob feared for his life when he met his brother after 20 years away. If there was any heartbreak, a father not seeing his son for 20 years, Isaac would have won the father's award though his preference for Esau could have helped alleviate some of the pain. Yet, Jacob triumphed despite his many travails. Today, the people of God, Israel is named after Jacob who after battling with an angel gained the honour of being renamed, "Israel". What interests me at present is how Jacob led his family from one place to another after he was told to leave Laban and return home. From Bethel back to Bethel, Jacob's life came full circle but God was with him and blessed him and he became the father of us all, those who entrust their lives to the living God, the El Shaddai.

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