Who are some of your favorite people in the Bible? Do you have individuals who are curious or repulsive to you? Are there people in the Bible with whom you’d like to have some discussions, ask questions, spend time or invite to your home for dinner?
For me, there are heaps of Bible folk with whom I’d like to chat. I think it would be fascinating to ask Abraham about his interactions with God, being told to leave his homeland and go where God would tell him to go. I’d love to chat with David to hear about his flight years from Saul, his intimacy with God and why he made various decisions about his kids. I’d be interested to do a Q&A with Paul to unpack his ideas about women being silent in church and keeping their heads covered – were those his thoughts based on the culture and era in which he lived?
Another person I’d like to have some conversations with in the Bible is Jacob, whom we read about in Genesis. Truth be told, he’s one of my favorite people. I like him because we get to see the whole span of his life – from womb to tomb. He’s the younger twin of Esau, son of Isaac and Rebekah. In his childhood and youth, he’s more preferred by his mom and hangs around the tents, this is in contrast to Esau who is preferred by his dad and is the hunter type.
Jacob is conniving and manipulative in his own way – bartering with Esau to get the birthright. Furthermore, Jacob’s mom helps him to scheme and deceive to get the blessing from his dad, all of which enrages Esau so that Jacob has to run away to save his life. In Jacob’s flight, this is the first occasion where we see God communicating with him, during a dream in the night where God says that He will protect and look after Jacob until he returns to his homeland.
All of this is helpful to know for getting familiar with Jacob and then looking at various conversations in his life. We’ll consider these conversations in upcoming blogs so that we can make some helpful applications in our lives. In this blog, we’re looking at the conversations Jacob had with his immediate family to include his mom, dad and brother.
Over the course of Genesis 25-28, we see this his family conversations are less than forthright and they are neither honest nor selfless. He’s tricky with his family and his choices make for some ugly and harmful results. Something that I find interesting from his various family conversations, is that Jacob never expresses responsibility nor remorse for his decisions. He never apologizes to his dad or brother for his actions. We never see him acknowledge his offense.
Maybe that’s why he has to run for his life, since his brother Esau was so angry that he was planning to kill Jacob. It’s clear that Jacob really messed up in his family and we don’t see this get resolved until more than twenty years later when Jacob returns to his homeland and is reconciled somewhat with his brother.
When I think about Jacob’s family conversations with his mom, dad and brother, I think we can make some helpful observations that might apply in our lives:
- Sometimes our youth can be a problem that we need to recognize so that as we mature, we can have potentially different familial conversations.
- We would be wise to take responsibility for our choices and words, letting respective family members know that we are aware of things that we said or did that could be hurtful.
- Forgiveness is always an essential ingredient that we get to employ, maybe most often with our family members.
- The conclusion of Jacob’s family conversations from his youth happened when he ran away from his family and had a supernatural experience with God. In this experience, God made a very real impact on Jacob and that helped him settle into a new living arrangement with his uncle, Laban, who wasn’t a very whippy chap.
Jacob gives us some helpful insights about seasons and experiences in his life, that we can also apply in our lives. Next week, we’ll look at another pocket of conversations in Jacob’s life!