September 11th

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Genesis 29:1-20:24

My heart goes out to Leah. I have to admit that I just don't get the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel. So as I read our passage (Genesis 29:1-30:24) I decided to not let myself get caught up (like I have in the past) in trying to figure out why God did what He did. Instead, I focused on Leah and tried to imagine being in her shoes.

Leah is married (which was important in this society and culture) but only because her father tricked Jacob. She has to share her husband with her sister, and her husband loves her sister--wait, her beautiful sister--more than her. Definitely a less than optimal situation. Yet all through this story I see faithfulness, in a couple of ways. Leah never gave up on God and God never left her side. Now there's something to hang on to.

Every single one of us has our own unique difficulties. And when circumstances get particularly tough, it's not too hard to start wondering if God is really there and in control. So what can we do now, today, so that we don't go down that road of wondering about God? How about some faith building tips? Do you have any, and if so, let's hear them. Tami W.

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How is it that Jacob could have 2 wives and on top of that have children with 2 other women and be acceptable by God? That is my daughter's question along with how many ways of God in the bible have now been forgotton. My daugthers reminds me of a couple of them. (women wearing veils while entering the synogogues etc., woman not being allowed to speak or question during a church meeting) My children remind me of these changes in the Bible and tell me that they feel some of the ways of today that are not acceptable WILL be down the road. So, how do I respond to their comments, to keep them from thinking that it's not a big deal to keep all ways of the bible because in time these ways will be forgotten?

One way that our faith gets built is through the difficult experiences of life. The more we have to depend on God, the stronger our faith muscles get. It can be difficult sometimes just like physical exercise is also hard work.

A comment for John - When you read the Bible you have to take into account the culture of the time. My understanding is that if a woman was not married, she could die. Women were not allowed to have jobs etc. It seems it was God's way of providing for the women. Ruth (who married Boaz) might be a good example of this.

Dear John,

It is not always easy to answer the questions of our children, especially when we want them to know God's Word and to follow Jesus daily. I commend you for wanting them to know the truths of Scripture and being willing to get answers to help them. While the information is important, what you have taught them, even if they have not yet made it their own, is that the Bible is our only guide for faith and practice.

Now to the questions. There are probably a number of ways to deal with the situation about Jacob and his family. Let me try to provide one approach to discuss this with your children.

First is this Biblical truth: no one of us is acceptable to God. Paul put it like this:

As the Scriptures say, [my note: this means both Old Testament and New Testament teachings]

"No one is good—not even one. No one has real understanding; no one is seeking God. All have turned away from God; all have gone wrong.
No one does good, not even one." Romans 3:10-12 (NLT)

For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Romans 3:23 (NLT)

So how does any sinner become acceptable to God? Again, Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9.

Salvation has always been about God--faith in Him and what He will do, never about what you and I do, or don't do. If only people who never sinned went to Heaven, then Jesus would be the only one.

Because God loved Jacob and accepted him, did not mean that God condoned everything that Jacob did. No one can live a sinless life (except for Jesus) either before he is saved or after he is saved.

Examples:
Moses--talked with God personally: murdered a man, and also disobeyed and dishonored God.

David--a man after God's own heart: committed adultery, murder and tried to cover it up.

Abraham--the friend of God: lied about being married to Sarah and nearly caused her to commit adultery.

James & John--2 of the 12 apostles: wanted Jesus to call down fire and brimstone and wipe out a couple of cities that had been rude to Jesus.

Peter--leader of the apostles: denied Jesus three times and cursed until folks left him alone.

Thomas--one of the apostles: would not believe Jesus has risen from the dead.

Remember when your children were babies? You loved them very much. But did you ever come to love dirty diapers? Probably not. God loves us and accepts us in Christ, but never condones sin or immoral or ungodly words or actions.

You'll want to teach your children these wonderful truths about salvation and a relationship with God through Christ.

As for Jacob and his wives, although it was a different culture and marriage had a different perspective back then, we know how God thinks about His truth of one man for one woman in marriage. Jesus told us.

"Haven't you read the Scriptures?" Jesus replied. "They record that from the beginning 'God made them male and female.' And he said, 'This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together."

"Then why did Moses say a man could merely write an official letter of divorce and send her away?" they asked.

Jesus replied, "Moses permitted divorce as a concession to your hard-hearted wickedness, but it was not what God had originally intended. Matthew 19:4-8 (NLT)

Remind your children that God's basic truths never change [see the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount and John 15 for many of these]. But, all of us need/require God's grace in our lives. We ought always to be grateful for the great grace we have been given, and never judge or begrudge the grace God gives to others. And His grace is never to be taken for granted or presumptuously. Or, someone's grace become our license to sin or not be serious about God's truths for our lives.

Teach your children that they will never be responsible for God for how someone else [Christian or not] lives and acts. But He will hold us accountable for our actions, words, and attitudes. And while there may be things in the Bible that we don't understand, or fully grasp, there are so many we do understand that call us to making wise decisions as Christ-followers.

Here are some possible Scriptures for your children that they can right now begin to live out.

Luke 9:23-25

Matthew 7:24,26

Romans 12:1-2

Romans 14:1-13

John, I trust this has been of some help. God bless you and guide you as you seek to grow your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Franklin, Back to the Bible Correspondent

Just yesterday we heard that the second son of our friends died in a car chrash in Florida. Three years ago his older brother died in a similar car crash, This time the second brother died on his brother's birthday. These parents only have two sons. They are divorced.

Questions are being asked, and some people are wondering if God exists. One thing I have learned is not to question God. Personally, I know He exists because He has always been there for not just me but my family. Do we deserve it? No, but He is there because we ask Him to be there for us. I ask Him everyay to cover me, my family and my friends. It is His gift to us. He would never leave us or forsake us. Believe it. I have seen family and friends get into terrible accidents and they came out unharmed. I know and believe that it was because I and others have prayed for them. God answers prayers.

I mentioned to a friend tonight, that we do not know the reason by both these young men were killed accidently and we should not be like Job's friends and say things we do not know. Leave it to God. The only advice I can give is not to judge anyone and instead pray for the family they have left behind. It is really sad and God is in charge.

I do not know if Tami, Allen or anyone else can share their thoughts on this subject. God bless you all.

Franklin ...Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post.
Your wise words are beneficial to my daughters as well as our entire family ....much appreciated.

Joan,

My heart really goes out to this family. To lose not one but two sons to tragic accidents is every parent's nightmare. But you are correct; we must not judge. As Jesus said in Luke 13:4, "Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?" The answer is "no" (v. 5).

It also works in reverse. Are those people who are spared such tragedies somehow better in God's eyes? The answer is again "no."

We live in a fallen world--and God does not put protective bubbles around His children. But He does promise to walk with them through the dark times (Psalm 23) and to take those tragedies and bring good out of them (Romans 8:28-29).

God's existence can never be judged on either good or bad experiences. The Bible says that God reveals Himself in three ways: the testimony of our inner selves (Romans 2:19), the testimony of nature (Romans 2:20) and Christ Himself (Hebrews 1:2). There are no truly godless societies--something is worshipped wither it be themselves or a rock. Nature is filled with proofs that it was created which then requires a God. And, finally, Jesus Christ is God's fullest revelation. Through Him, we know that not only does God exist, but that He loves us (John 3:16).

We will certainly be glad to pray for this family.

Allen, Biblical Correspondent at Back to the Bible

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About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

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This page contains a single entry by Tami W published on September 11, 2009 5:04 AM.

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