Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter we say farewell to Abraham and are introduced to Jacob, whose sons become the tribal leaders of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. It is through the nation of Israel that God will fulfill His promise to Abraham to make his family a great nation and to bless the entire world through that nation (Genesis 12:1-3). Ultimately Jesus would be born into that family of Abraham and be the greatest blessing and final fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham (Matthew 1:1-17; Galatians 3:16-17).
But before the story of Jacob’s sons and the formation of the nation of Israel we must hear Jacob’s story whose name is changed to Israel. We must learn the life experience of Jacob and follow his journey from deceit and trickery (Genesis 25:29-34; 27:36) to Prince with God (Genesis 32:28). God transforms Jacob’s character and finally changes his name as evidence of the transformation. Jacob’s story is really the story of every child of God. It is the transformation story of every man and woman who will one day enter the New Jerusalem through one of the twelve gates which bear the names of the twelve sons of Israel (Revelation 21:12). It is the story of every person who by faith becomes a member of the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel (Galatians 3:29; Matthew 8:5-13). During these next few days try to read Jacob’s story as your own story.
Director of Outdoor Leadership and Education, Southern Adventist University