Genesis 28:1-29:35 ~ Matthew 9:18-38 ~ Psalm 11:1-7 ~ Proverbs 3:11-12
Today is the 13th of January. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian and it is a pleasure to be here with you for the 13th day in a row this year. If you can believe it. We’re almost two weeks in and it has been an epic adventure so far as we take steps each day through the scriptures. Today will be no different. Abraham sent his servant to find Isaac a wife among his people and now Isaac is going to invite his son Jacob to do the same. Genesis chapter 28, verse 1 through 29, verse 35 today and we’re reading from the Common English Bible this week.
Let’s do just a quick recap so we can stay with the story. You remember Abram and you remember how he became Abraham and you remember that he had a son of promise named Isaac. And you remember Abraham was getting old and he sent his most trusted and close servant to find a wife for his son. He makes him swear an oath. “Put your hand under my thigh and swear to me.” This is a little weird. We don’t do that anymore, but that is one of the signs that you are promising to do something in this culture at this time. So Rebekah is found, brought back to Isaac and they love each other and they have twin boys, Jacob and Esau. We’ve just gone through all that, so we won’t recap that, but Jacob and Esau are estranged from each other because there has been some trickery that has gone on.
If you look back at Abram’s life, you’ll see he was a little bit of a finagler too. He was always saying my wife is my sister and this kind of stuff and they were moving around and this was part of their characteristics. Isaac is the same way and does the same thing so you can see they are a little bit of a suspicious people. They are always on the lookout for ways that they can get hurt or put themselves in danger, which was part of the culture and just part of their characteristics. So we begin to understand some of the trickery that got turned inward on the family between Jacob and Esau.
Jacob has secured the birthright and the blessing of his father, Isaac, through some trickery and when Jacob gets back to the same family where his mother had come from, some trickery is played on him. He falls in love with Rachel and gets Leah as a wife instead. And then to get Rachel, he has to work another seven years. He didn’t work for Laban for seven years and then get Leah and then work seven more years for Rachel. Rachel was given him, but he had to promise another seven years.
So Rachel doesn’t have any kids yet, but Leah has four sons. If you look at their names, they will start sounding familiar. I’ll give a little spoil alert here because it will snap everything into place as we move forward. Jacob, this guy, the grandson of Abraham, is going to have a name change just like Abram was turned to Abraham. Jacob is going to have the same thing happen and his name will be turned to Israel. So Jacob has begun having children and when his name changes, then the obvious will come to the forefront. These are the children of Israel. The first four ever children of Israel are born in today’s reading: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. And Israel, or Jacob, is going to have 12 sons and their descendants will be the 12 tribes of Israel. It will be a fascinating story that brings us to that place.
Then when we move into the book of Matthew and we pick up Jesus’ story. We see a number of miraculous things take place today. Let’s look at them just really quickly.
Jesus is on his way to a man’s house because his daughter has died. A woman has been bleeding (and we’ll get to her story in a different gospel because it is expanded upon) and she touches Jesus and she is healed. What is Jesus’ response to her? “Your faith has healed you.” That is what he said to her.
And then he arrives at his destination where this girl has died and he tells everybody who is mourning there to go away, she is not dead. And they all laugh at him, but the important thing or the interesting thing is he sent everybody away so she is raised up to health without an audience. Jesus pushes them all away. We see that Jesus just does not grandstand. He is not trying to make a big deal out of these things. That is further illuminated by what he does next.
The next thing in the gospel reading today is that Jesus is leaving there and there are blind people, blind men following him, asking for mercy. When Jesus speaks to the blind men, he asks a question. “Do you believe I can do this?” And they said “yes.” And Jesus’ response is “It will happen for you just as you have believed.” And they were healed. And then Jesus says “Don’t tell anybody about this.” Of course, they can’t. They go tell everybody.
But it is interesting the way Jesus is conducting himself. Number one, we see that he is collaborative in the miraculous, that it is not Jesus, the super guy, the God-man walking around doing supernatural magic tricks. It is a collaboration that is taking place. These are certainly beautiful echoes of Eden, the way things were supposed to be, the collaboration between God and those who were made in God’s image. This is what sets things right because this is how we were created to be. It’s also interesting that Jesus doesn’t need a crowd. He’s not trying to be the magic man. He is trying to say this is how it is supposed to be.
So one of these transformational moments in the Bible has come where we begin to realize this is a journey that we are not alone on and this life journey will not work without collaborating with God. But when we do, when we give our hearts fully, when we put away all Plan B’s and stop trying to explain away everything with reason, the knowledge of good and evil, and just fall face first into this faith that is the activator, then we begin to see how this collaboration works.
It is breathtaking. It will look different for each of us. We each have our own stories to tell. If you are here at the beginning of the year thinking ‘I need to go inside and figure out my spirituality and I’m going to read the whole Bible this year and find out about God,’ awesome! You will. But it is far, infinitely more important that you get to know God and not just about God. If it has been awhile since you’ve even thought about that and your whole idea of prayer is kind of skewed in some sort of way that you have to find the right words and the right time and you don’t know what to say after a few minutes of asking him to do things that you need done and to do nice things for people that are around you, then set that aside and understand that it is a collaboration, that it is a conversation. Don’t go to God today with all the things you need him to do for you, to bail you out of all the things you got yourself into. Just go to him today and say “Hi, it’s me and I just want to talk to you.” You’ll find the warmth of his embrace because he’s been waiting for you to just finally come and be yourself. All of a sudden you’ll realize you can be yourself.
We have to be a lot of things to a lot of people in our lives because this is how our culture is shaped, but we can be who we really are with God and God can change us into who we were created to be but only if we’re willing to be who we are right now.
Jesus, hi. It’s me. It’s us in an unguarded moment and here we are. What we need is you. So there will not be any more pretending in any of our conversations. It will be raw and it will be true. We invite your Holy Spirit into all of it, everything that is going on. As we realize that this is what you’ve been looking for, this true, honest place in us. We have to confess that we have many assumptions about who and what you are, but if we’re going to be in a relationship that is conversational and collaborative, then we’re setting that aside as well and inviting you to come as you are. We want to get to know you for who you are and not who we’ve been told you are. So just about a couple of weeks into this journey of finding what the Bible has to say to us, but we’re finding this journey is leading us to these kinds of places that are deep and ancient and true. We invite you into all of that, inviting your Holy Spirit to reinterpret our stories and wh has brought us to this place on this day. There isn’t another day in our future that we don’t want a conversation with you. We’ve been lost in our knowledge. We’ve been lost in trying to figure you out and now we want to be lost in you. Come Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
SONG played on today’s DAB “Lost” by Brian’s wife Jill Parr https://itunes.apple.com/…/a…/i-still-want-more/id1107237770