Bible in 365 Days – Day 17

Focus Chapters:

  • Genesis 45:16-28
  • Genesis 46
  • Genesis 47:1-27

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

Genesis 46:1-4 NLT

So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac.

During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.

“Here I am,” Jacob replied.

“I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.”

 

THE REACTION

Genesis 46:5-7 NLT

So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt— sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants.

 

Observation (s):

  1. Jacob had a lot to fear in Egypt because he had a lot to lose. The Israelites were shepherds. In two instances in Genesis, the scripture mentions that the Egyptians disliked shepherds. We were also shown that the brothers were not allowed to sit with the Egyptians when they lunched with Joseph due to their profession. Leaving Canaan and going to Egypt required Jacob to risk his livelihood and ability to provide for his family. Additionally, Jacob also stood a risk of losing his sons to the son who he had not seen since he was a boy who was gravely wronged by his brothers. He had no idea of the type of man Joseph had turned out to be.
  2. During the big move, God, understanding Jacob’s fear, seeks him out and takes the time to reassure him. God is quite real with Jacob, ensuring He sets his expectations. God also promised to be there with Jacob in Egypt and ensure his family thrives.

    During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.

    “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again.

  3. Jacob placed his present and future in God’s hands when he made the move to Egypt. He took everything he owned along with his sons and his descendants.

    They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants.

     

Application:

I love the fact that God cared enough about Jacob to seek him out and reassure him that things will be okay. It is heartening to know that while I may be 1 among billions and insignificant to many, the God of all creation still sees me and knows my thoughts, fears and desires. He is there with me every step of the way to ensure that I receive a fruitful and blessed end and seeks to assure me, if I would just listen.

With such guidance and care from our Heavenly Father, we should have faith and be more inclined to place our present and futures into His hands. The move to Egypt is scary and full of risks but rest assured that God has you and your family covered. He promises that He will be there with you and that the move will be a blessing, not just to you but also to your family. Take that leap of faith! Make the move despite your fears! After all, God has everything under control!

 

XOXO,
Chañel

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Bible in 365 Days – Day 12

Focus Chapters:

  • Genesis 32-34
  • Genesis 35:1-27

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

Genesis 35:1 NLT

Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.”

 

THE REACTION

Genesis 35:2-7 NLT

So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”

So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them under the great tree near Shechem. As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s family.

Eventually, Jacob and his household arrived at Luz (also called Bethel) in Canaan. Jacob built an altar there and named the place El-bethel (which means “God of Bethel”), because God had appeared to him there when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau.

 

Observation (s):

  1. When God told Jacob (now Israel) to pack up his belongings and family and move to a new place, Jacob did not hesitate. God directed and Jacob followed His instructions precisely. Without objections He led his family to an unknown place and journey because God instructed him to.

    Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there.

    AND

    We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress.”

  2. Jacob and his family prepared before heading to Bethel, House of God to build an altar to God. They got rid of any pagan gods they worshipped, purified themselves (I would like to imagine physically and spiritually) and put on clean clothes. They made themselves the offering.

    So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress.

  3. As Jacob’s family set out on their God-given mission, the Lord protected them from harm. He ensured that they arrived at their destination safely.

    As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s familyEventually, Jacob and his household arrived at Luz (also called Bethel) in Canaan.

     

Application:

I envy Jacob. He makes it look so easy! He heard God’s voice so clearly and followed God’s directions to the letter. I am still learning to not only hear God’s voice clearly but also follow the directions that He has given without hesitation. It is hard to follow directions without questions when the directions lead you into the unknown that we fear and cannot predict. Jacob’s unwavering faith in God is a lesson to us all. After all, like Jacob, haven’t we already proven God?  Hasn’t He “been with [us] wherever [we] have gone?” Doesn’t He always protect us and ensure we arrive at our destinations safely?

Today was also a reminder of how we should prepare ourselves when going to the House of God. It is not just about the type of sacrifice that we offer but also how we present it and ourselves. We cannot appear before God in any wayward manner or form. We have to purify ourselves both physically and spiritually. Only them will we be able to build an altar and make a sacrifice that God deems acceptable.

XOXO,
Chañel

Bible in 365 Days – Day 11

Focus Chapters:

  • Genesis 30:25-43
  • Genesis 31

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

Genesis 30:25-26 NLT

Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Please release me so I can go home to my own country. Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.”

 

THE REACTION

Genesis 30:27-30 NLT

“Please listen to me,” Laban replied. “I have become wealthy, for the Lord has blessed me because of you. Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.”

Jacob replied, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The Lord has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?”

 

Observation (s):

  1. Jacob was committed to the task he had undertaken. His efforts were blessed by God. Through his efforts and God’s blessings on Jacob’s life, Laban became a wealthy man.

    Jacob replied, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The Lord has blessed you through everything I’ve done.

  2. Laban acknowledges that his wealth has increased because of Jacob and God’s blessing on Jacob’s life. He knows that God blessed him because of Jacob’s commitment to God.

    “Please listen to me,” Laban replied. “I have become wealthy, for the Lord has blessed me because of you.

     

Application:

It is quite lovely the way God works. Imagine through His guidance and blessing on Jacob’s life, favour filtered down to Laban who became wealthy. While the Bible speaks of physical wealthiness, I cannot help feeling that it also meant spiritual and intangible wealth. It is heartening to know that when I follow God, the fruits of my labour not only multiplies but also become blessings not just for me but the persons around me. Just imagine it! You are blessed because of someone else’s connection to God! Similarly, others are blessed because of your connection to God!

But wait! This is the interesting bit! Through this, God receives the glory because the people who are blessed acknowledges that their blessing is not through anything special they have done. Rather, it is God blessing them through you. They acknowledge you and your relationship/connection to God! They acknowledge God! I don’t know about you but that’s definitely a deal I can live with. I will definitely work with God to be in more positions for God to use as a blessing to others. I want to make others rich.

 

XOXO,
Chañel

Bible in 365 Days – Day 10

Focus Chapters:

  • Genesis 28:6-22
  • Genesis 29
  • Genesis 30:1-24

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

Genesis 29:16-18, 22-23, 25-28, 30 NLT

Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.
So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her.
But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?”
“It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. “But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.” So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too.
So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.

THE REACTION

Genesis 29:31-35 NLT

When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”

She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”
Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”
Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the Lord!” And then she stopped having children.

Observation (s):

  1. Rachel was the love of Jacob’s life. Leah was considered the consolation prize. Leah was the daughter her father had to marry off first through deception. She was the means-to-an-end, the bride and wife her husband did not want and cast aside after a week of marriage to marry his first choice.

    But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied.
    A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah.

  2. At the birth of her first three sons, Leah’s focus was on gaining the love of her husband and nuetralizing the results of how her husband’s rejection made her feel. She went through the difficulty of birth, hoping the fruit she bore would change her husband’s feelings towards her.

    So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.” She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.” Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”

  3. Leah did not praise God for her blessings until her fourth child, Judah. This is when she shifted her focus from how she is feeling and pleasing her husband to thanking God. Her husband did not love her but she had children and God who did.

    Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the Lord!” And then she stopped having children.

Application:

I can relate to Leah. Not because I have a husband who doesn’t love me but because I have family and friends who don’t. It’s hurtful when you are rejected. It’s all-consuming when your focus is on gaining acceptance. Like Leah, I’ve gone through a lot of pain and sorrow to bear victories that I thought would please and make loved ones love and accept me. It is painful when your loved ones only perceive you in a way that doesn’t change no matter what you do. Leah’s first four sons were Jacob’s first four children but Jacob still could not love her or appreciate the tribulation that she went through to bear him these blessings.

In the midst of all that trying, I oftentimes forget to see and acknowledge the blessings that my victories represent. Consequently, I forgot God! I forgot to give Him praise. If only we would be wiser like Leah. Don’t wait until the fourth blessing to praise God. It is time that we stop focusing on achieving victories to gain worldly love and acceptance. Instead, let us gain victories and praise God!

XOXO,
Chañel

When you encounter God…

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A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend about the way youngsters who are Christians behave. She was lamenting the fact that they don’t really behave like Christians. The only thing that came to mind to tell her is that it’s because they haven’t encountered God for themselves yet. A few nights later as I knelt at my bedside praying, that same thought came to me: things will not change until you make it your duty to encounter God.

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