Tag Archives: Genesis

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CLOTHING)

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Garments are used as biblical symbols in almost as many ways as there are styles of clothing. Clothes are used as expression of socioeconomics status, spiritual well-being, and emotional state. They can protect, conceal, or display an inner reality of the wearer. They can last for a long time or wear out quickly (Neh 9:21; Matt 6:19). They can consist of leaves (Gen 3:7), animal skin (Gen 3:21; Matt 3:4), rags (Isa 64:6), pure white linen (Dan 7:9; Rev 19:14), or anything in between. They can be literal or figurative. Yet despite al this variety, the use of clothing as a symbol falls into a few set patterns that yield a wealth of insight. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CLOTHING)

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CIRCUMSCISION)

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The physical act of circumcision was a sign of the covenant between of God and Israel in which he had chosen them and promised to be their God for all generations (Gen 17:10-11; Acts 7:8). In this act, the foreskin of a male child’s penis was removed (Lev 12:3). More rarely, circumcision was performed on adults. When God made his covenant promises to Abraham, he insisted that they be sealed with the physical reminder that the Israelites were a people set apart. Those who failed to comply with this condition were excluded from covenant community (Gen 17:14; Exod 12:48). Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CIRCUMSCISION)

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BODY)

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Throughout Scripture we find the wonder and mystery of the human body, designed by God (Psa 139:13-15). Jesus created a body for himself, and Adam was the prototype. Paul described Jesus as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15). Jesus chose the human body as the from or image he would live in while on his earth mission. Our bodies become symbolic reminders that we were designed with a purpose, shaped to bye the aware and obedient servants of God, the Maker of heaven and earth. Furthermore, the fact that Jesus took on human flesh shows that through the body is dust and is wasting away (Gen 3:19; 2 Cor 4:16), it is good and useful, part of what makes us human beings in the image of God. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BODY)

DEFINITION OF THE DAY (TREE OF LIFE)

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Plant in the garden of Eden symbolizing access to eternal life. Also, a metaphor used in Proverbs. For the biblical writer the tree of life was an important consideration only after Adam and Eve disobeyed. Sin interrupted the quality of life God intended for them. They were to obey God (Gen 2:17) in a family setting (Gen 2:18-25) and perform their Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (TREE OF LIFE)

DEFINITION OF THE DAY (FINANCIAL PLANNING)

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The Bible provides examples of both effective and ineffective financial planning in the face of economic adversity. Examples of good financial planning include Joseph’s preparation for famine in Egypt (Gen 41:34-36), the servants who wisely invested their master’s money (Luke 19:13-19), and the Corinthian believers who laid aside money to help others (1 Cor 16:1-2; cp 2 Cor 9:1-5). Proverbs 27:23-27 counsels a shepherd to know well the condition of his flocks so that they will provide for him in the future, Diversification of investments is advised in Eccles 11:2. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (FINANCIAL PLANNING)

WOMAN OF THE BIBLE (RACHEL: BLESSED AND CURSED)

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When Isaac became concerned about the neighborhood Canaanite girls stealing the heart of his youngest son, Jacob, he instructed Jacob to leave home: “Marry one of the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother” (Gen 28:2). So Jacob packed up and headed for Paddan-aram (his mom’s hometown).

It was an emotional trip-leaving his parents, striking out on his own. On the way, Jacob stopped at Luz to get some shut-eye. During the night Yahweh himself appeared to Jacob in a dream, reiterating the promises he’d given years grandfather Abraham. It was a good sign.

An Jacob neared his destination, he came to a well. Some local shepherds there were in the process of telling Jacob all about Laban when a gorgeous shepherdess-Laban’s daughter Rachel-showed up with her flock. When happened next was like a scene from a romantic comedy. Jacob jumped up, watered Rachel’s thirsty sheep, kissed his shocked cousin, and began to weep loudly. When he gathered himself, he told Rachel who he was. In a flash she was running home to tell her father the news (see Gen 29:1-12).

Jacob stuck around and started helping Laban out. When Laban became uncomfortable with all that free labor, he said to Jacob, “Tell me what your wages should be” (Gen 29:15). Jacob didn’t even have to think. “I’ll work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel” (29:18).

Seven years seems like a long time to us, but the “shapely and beautiful” Rachel was a catch, and Jacob was utterly smitten. Consequently the years “seemed like only a few days to him” (Gen 29:17-20).

However, on their weeding night Uncle Laban pulled a fast one. He gave Jacob his older, less attractive daughter, Leah. It sounds hard to believe, but whether due to darkness, an excess of veils, or perhaps too much wine at the reception, Jacob was none the wiser. In the bright light of morning, Jacob was justifiably ticked. He confronted Laban, calming down only when Laban agreed to give him Rachel in one week’s time if Jacob would work for him seven more years. Jacob agreed.

Marriage is complicated; throw in an extra spouse, and things start getting really messy. Rachel was beloved, but childless. Leah, despite being unloved (see Gen 29:31), had several children. After watching her big sister produce four sons, Rachel became angry and desperate. She arranged for Jacob to have children by her servant girl, Bilhah, which resulted in the birth of two sons (see Gen 30:1-7). This started unhealthy competition between the sisters. Leah responded in kind, giving her handmaid, Zilpah, to Jacob. Soon, there were two more sons in this atypical family.

It wasn’t until after Leah gave birth to two additional sons and a daughter that “God remembered Rachel. He listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son, and said, ‘God has taken away my shame'” (Gen 30:22-23). She named the boy Joseph, which means “may the LORD add another son to me” (30:24). The name was probably both a note of praise and a prayer.

Soon after the birth of Joseph, Jacob decided to take his family back to Canaan (see Gen 31:17-20). During the long journey, Jacob had a strange midnight wrestling match with God at the Jabbok River (see Gen 32:22-32). He also had a nerve-rattling reunion with his brother, Esau (see Gen 33:1-16). Rachel became pregnant again either during the family’s sojourn in Succoth or their short stay at Shechem (see 33:17-18). It was after stopping to worship at Bethel, and then heading for Ephrath (Bethlehem), that Rachel went into severe labor (see 35:16).

Life was always so complicated for her. Her rare beauty. Her conniving father. Having to share her husband with an envious big sister. Infertility. And now this: giving birth in the middle of a trip in the middle of nowhere.

It was another boy. God had answered her prayer (see Gen 30:24). Realizing she wasn’t going to see her newborn grow up, she named him Ben-oni, “son of my sorrow.” Probably because didn’t want to think of Rachel’s death every time he called his son, Jacob changed the boy’s name to Benjamin. Then he buried the great love of his life.

BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (BREAD OF BETRAYAL)

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People of Bible times did not use utensils such as forks and spoons to eat their meals (read Gen 18:7-8), They picked up the food with their hands. But some dishes such as stew or gravy had to be scooped up with a piece of bread. This is the method of eating to which Jesus referred in this verse. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (BREAD OF BETRAYAL)

DEFINITION OF THE DAY (HEBREW)

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HEBREW – A descendant of Eber. It differentiates early Israelites from foreigners. After David founded the monarchy the term. “Hebrew” seems to disappear from the Hebrew language. The designation apparently begins with Abraham (Gen, 14:13), showing that he belonged to an ethnic group distinct from the Amorites. It distinguished Joseph from the Egyptians and slaves of other ethnic identity (Gen, 39:14,17; 41:12; 43:32). Abraham’s land had become the land of the Hebrews (Gen 40:15), and his God, the God of the Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (HEBREW)

DEFINITION OF THE DAY (DIVERSITY)

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Characteristic of human and animal populations (Gen 10; Acts 17:26-27). Out of His richness God created an unfathomable number of creatures to fill the earth (Gen 1:11-12, 20-22,24-25) and respond to Him in praise (Ps 148). Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (DIVERSITY)

ARE DROUGHTS AND FAMINES THE RESULT OF SIN?

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Surely they are, in the sense of ultimate cause. But not necessarily, in the sense of proximate cause. It appears that God used these events as judgments at times. Continue reading ARE DROUGHTS AND FAMINES THE RESULT OF SIN?