We first saw God make everything out of nothing in the beginning of Genesis.. Then we see Him choose a people. They aren’t more beautiful, more talented, more godly or more deserving. He chooses them just because. Now we’ll look at how He gives 2nd, 5th, 100 chances to His beloved. He is a gracious God, long-suffering, patient, merciful and doesn’t choose to any to die but for all to come to Him.
If you don’t know Him, would you come to Him now? He is compassionate and loving and gracious and forgiving. He is willing to be your God.
Continuing on in Genesis.
In chapter 25: Abraham is shown to have had another wife and other children who he sends away from Isaac with gifts. He dies and is buried by his 2 sons. Isaac prays to God on behalf of Rebekah who is barren. She conceives twins and is given the promise , the elder will serve the younger. (Abraham, his son Isaac and his son Jacob later on all have wives who are barren, but only Isaac prays on behalf of his wife. Abraham sleeps with his wife’s slave, and Jacob sleeps with his wife’s servant). The older child Esau despises his birthright and sells it to his younger brother for a bowl of stew.
In chapter 26: Isaac repeats his father’s folly and tells Abimelech that Rebekah is his sister. Abimelech’s men quarrel with Isaac over wells dug (3 of them), each time Isaac moves away and digs another one that has water. At the 4th, he is left in peace, and calls the place Rehoboth (the Lord will flourish us). Isaac and Abimelech make a treaty.
In chapters 27-28: Isaac wants to bless Esau. Rebekah and Jacob deceive him, and Jacob gets the choice blessing. Esau nurses his hatred, and so Rebekah sends her favourite son Jacob away to her brother. She will never see him again. Jacob flees. At Luz( afterwards called Bethel- house of God) Jacob is given a dream from God, and so worships Him and builds him an altar. This is the first time Jacob is shown to worship God.
In chapters 29-30: The deceiver (Jacob) gets deceived. He works 7 years for his uncle’s younger daughter( Rachel), but is given the elder(Leah) at the end of the service. At he end of Leah’s bridal week, he marries Rachel as well , with the understanding that he work another 7 years for Laban. Leah is seen by God and has 4 sons. Each time, her closeness to and dependence on God increases. Rachel when she can’t conceive, gives her maidservant as a concubine to Jacob and then so does Leah. Between the 4 of them they have 11 sons ( Leah has 6 sons and a daughter, Bilhah has 2 sons, Zilpah has 2 sons and Rachel at the end of them all gives birth to one son). Laban tries to double cross Jacob out of his wages (flocks of sheep) but Jacob deceives him instead.
In chapter 31: Jacob is told by God to return to his father’s land, and God would be with him ( Immanuel). Rachel steals her father’s household goods. Jacob and his family and all he owned leave/run away in secret from Laban and his sons. Laban pursues Jacob but is warned in a dream not to harm him. Jacob and Laban make a covenant withe each other and separate in peace.
In chapters 32-33: Its been 20 years since Jacob has seen his family.He still remembers betraying his brother and so make gifts of all he owns to Esau. Jacob wrestles with the pre-incarnate form of God and he is given a new name. From deceiver and betrayer (Jacob) he is now known as Israel (who struggled with God and humans and has overcome). Here on out his descendants will be known as Israelites and will be the chosen people of God. Jacob meets Esau in peace who forgives him and has grown prospers on his own.
In chapter 34: Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob/Israel is raped by a Shechemite, who later wants to marry her. Her brothers Simeon and Levi, deceitfully insist on circumsicion of the males of the whole town as bridal price. When the men were recovering, Simeon and Levi slaughter them and plunder the town, taking flocks and herds and riches and the women and children. Jacob is terrified of reprisal from the surrounding towns and does not reprimand his sons.
In chapters 35-36: Israel returns to Bethel(formerly Luz) and builds another altar to God at the same place God had revealed Himself to him, some twenty years prior. Rachel dies giving birth to Ben-Oni (son of my pain), whose name is changed to Benjamin ( son of my right hand, a place of honour)by Israel. Isaac dies and is buried by his twins. Esau’s descendants are as numerous as Isarel’s .
In chapter 37: We move to the 3rd generation from Abraham. Joseph the son of Rachel and Israel has dreams from God. That he will be exalted among his brothers and his parents. He happens to be the favorite of his father , making all his older brothers jealous. It’s compounded by Israel giving Joseph alone an ornate robe. His brothers sell Joseph as a slave to passing Ishmaelites/ Midianites ( descendants of Abraham’s son with Hagar, Ishmael). Israel mourns thinking Joseph is dead and refuses to be comforted.
In chapter 38: Judah (praised be the Lord) son of Leah and Israel marries a Canaanite woman and has 3 sons. His older son is married to Tamar. When he is found ungodly by God, he is struck down. As Leviarite law (yet to be established) expounds, his brother is married to the widow. When he refuses to do his duty, he is struck down by God as well. Judah in fear of losing all his children sends Tamar back to her father’s house till the 3rd son is grown. Tamar when forced to live a widow seduces Judah and bears him twins, from whom will come the ancestors of the Messiah.
In chapters 39-40: We see Joseph’s faithfulness and integrity. In spite of being a slave in Egypt, he is raised to prominence and grows into manhood. He refuses the lustful advances of his master’s wife and is wrongly accused and put in prison. In the prison he raises to prominence as well and interprets correctly the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s officials. Joseph is quick to give the honour to God to whom it belongs.
In chapter 41: 13 years have passed since Joseph was sold as a slave. He is now 30. Pharaoh is troubled by unusual dreams, at which time Joseph is remembered in prison, and brought before the King to interpret them and give Pharaoh peace. Joseph does. Again he gives God glory. Joseph is then raised to be the 2nd highest person in Egypt and put in charge of handling the years of plenty and of famine that are to come.
In chapter 42: Joseph’s brothers travel from famine- stricken Canaan to Egypt to buy grain for their families. In this long interval, it seems they have forgotten their jealousy of their brother and repent of the part they played in his misfortune and they believe death. They do not recognize Joseph. As a sign of the brothers’ goodwill and honesty, Joseph imprisons Simeon so that they will bring back their youngest brother.
In chapter 43: Judah personally guarantees Israel of the safe and sure return of Benjamin. The brothers make another journey to Egypt , this time with Benjamin. Simeon is returned to the brothers. The brothers feast and drink with Joseph, who has placed them according to their birth order and gives Benjamin five times the portion of the others.
In chapters 44,45,46,47: Benjamin is set up to look like a thief. Joseph wants to make him his slave. Judah pleads for Benjamin’s life and begs to take his place as slave to Joseph so that Israel might be spared. Joseph deeply moved makes himself known to his brothers. When they are dumbstruck by fear, he graciously forgives them and lets them know ” what they intended for harm, God had intended for good all along”. Joseph sends gifts and riches for his father and invites the whole family, Israel, his wives, his brothers and their wives and children to live in Egypt where there is grain. Israel rejoices to hear his son is alive. The Israelite clan settle in the land of Goshen in Egypt and are shepherds. Eventually they will become so numerous that the Pharaoh then living will deem them a threat and try to destroy them. But that is 400 years down the line :-). Joseph , living now, is second only to Pharaoh and makes shrewd and judious choices that increase the wealth of Egypt.
In chapter 48: Israel blesses the younger son of Joseph Ephraim (God had made him fruitful in a land of affliction) over Manasseh(God had made him forget his troubles). This is now the 5th generation where the younger has been favored over the elder. (Abraham over Nahor, Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph over Rueben, Ephraim over Manasseh). To Joseph , Israel gives the double portion of the first born son.
In chapters 49-50: Jacob blesses his sons. ( I may do a blog on this later on! :-)). Under divine inspiration, Judah is blessed with being the ancestor of the line of kings and eventually the Messiah. Some sons are cursed. Some of them turn their curses around into blessings around the time of Moses ( especially Levi , from whom come the line of priests). Joseph is given the double portion of a first son even though he is 11th son according to age but the first son of Rachel the favorite wife. Israel dies and is buried by all his sons. The brothers think that Joseph will exact his vengeance but he reassures them of his goodwill and forgivesness. When Joseph dies, he gives specific and careful instructions that his body must leave with the Israelites when they leave Egypt ( they do so nearly 400 years later. Joseph speaks prophetically under the divine inspiration of God).
God loves His chosen and gives them multiple choices. Nothing you or I have done is too much, too bad, too horrendous, too evil for Him. If we repent and confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive.