Alumni Bible Study

A Bible study initially set up for alumni of the Senior Sunday School Class at the First United Methodist Church of Lufkin, Texas. It is our hope and our prayer that this study touches the hearts of those who participate and helps spread the love and grace of Our Lord and God. All who want to learn more about God are welcome

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Location: lufkin, Texas, United States

I am a Christian family man, Lay Pastor and writer from Deep East Texas. I love life, and I enjoy working with young people. I have published two books; "A Small Mind Among Tall Trees" and "God If You Are Not Too Busy, Can You Give Me a Hand". If you want to obtain a copy drop me an e-mail or go to or barnesand . I have been a salesman, cowman and athlete in my past. I still have a strong sense of humor and am not afraid to use it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Genesis 38:12-30

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
12 After a long time Judah's wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.
13 When Tamar was told, "Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep," 14 she took off her widow's clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.
15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, "Come now, let me sleep with you." "And what will you give me to sleep with you?" she asked.
17 "I'll send you a young goat from my flock," he said. "Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?" she asked.
18 He said, "What pledge should I give you?" "Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand," she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19 After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow's clothes again.
20 Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. 21 He asked the men who lived there, "Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?" "There hasn't been any shrine prostitute here," they said.
22 So he went back to Judah and said, "I didn't find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, 'There hasn't been any shrine prostitute here.' "
23 Then Judah said, "Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn't find her."
24 About three months later Judah was told, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant." Judah said, "Bring her out and have her burned to death!"
25 As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. "I am pregnant by the man who owns these," she said. And she added, "See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are."
26 Judah recognized them and said, "She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn't give her to my son Shelah." And he did not sleep with her again.
27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, "This one came out first." 29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, "So this is how you have broken out!" And he was named Perez. [
a] 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out and he was given the name Zerah. [b]

Genesis 38:29 Perez means breaking out .
Genesis 38:30 Zerah can mean scarlet or brightness .
OK, here is the skinny. Judah is out on the road, and being a man, he has needs. Tamar acts like a hooker to trap him and has him give her social security. Right?
Not exactly. Judah was on the road, and his wife had just passed, but he was tempted by what he thought was a shrine prostitute, a pagan tart. He also gave her his seal and chord to hold till he found a goat. That would be like giveing her his check book and credit cards, how stupid is that.
The real irony is that when Tamar began to show her pregnancy, Judah condemed her-until he realized the baby(s) were his. Judah was easily tempted, willing to ditch God, and then overly righteous when he thought some one else was wrong. Final Irony, Christ is descended from Tamar.
Prayer- Lord, help us be followers of your word all of the time. When we become weak, help us get strength from You. Go Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Genesis 38:1-12

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Judah and Tamar
1 At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. 2 There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and lay with her; 3 she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. 4 She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. 5 She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.
6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the LORD's sight; so the LORD put him to death.
8 Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so he put him to death also.
11 Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Live as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up." For he thought, "He may die too, just like his brothers." So Tamar went to live in her father's house.
12 After a long time Judah's wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.
This all takes place in an expanded period of time. Judah, Joseph’s half-brother, did not live a moral life, and his sons did not either. When the oldest son died before having children, by law his little brother took his wife. This was to insure that there would be children to receive inheritance and could take care of the widow. Kind of ancient Social Security. Little brother did not want to have children with Tamar, because they would be considered children of his dead older brother. What did he do? Before he "lay with her, he spilled his semen on the ground, he masturbated. God did not like this, so he killed him as well.
Judah became suspicious of Tamar, thinking that since she was the common factor in the death of his two oldest sons, she was out of favor with God. Therefore, he was not in a big hurry to give her to his third son.
This little episode may seem more gross than wicked, but Judah and his sons were not in favor with God, and would not follow the laws of their fathers. Do we dis-obey our ancestors, and do things the way we think will work best for us? Do we follow Gods laws, or do we always want to do our own thing?
Prayer- Lord, help me learn from my fathers and follow your laws. Assist me in living a life that models your teaching. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do- Read Genesis 38:13-30

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Genesis 37:12-36

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, "As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them." "Very well," he replied.
14 So he said to him, "Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me." Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron. When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, "What are you looking for?"
16 He replied, "I'm looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?"
17 "They have moved on from here," the man answered. "I heard them say, 'Let's go to Dothan.' " So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 "Here comes that dreamer!" they said to each other. 20 "Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams."
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. "Let's not take his life," he said. 22 "Don't shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don't lay a hand on him." Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the richly ornamented robe he was wearing- 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed.
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels [
a] of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, "The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?"
31 Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, "We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe."
33 He recognized it and said, "It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces."
34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "in mourning will I go down to the grave [
b] to my son." So his father wept for him.
36 Meanwhile, the Midianites [
c] sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard.

Genesis 37:28 That is, about 8 ounces (about 0.2 kilogram)
Genesis 37:35 Hebrew Sheol
Genesis 37:36 Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac (see also verse 28 Masoretic Text Medanites
Where do we start? There is so much wrong here it is hard to keep it simple. First, It was a thirty mile trip for Joseph to go check on his brothers, not a stroll out to the back-forty. They had moved, but his Dad had told him to find them, so he did. They saw him coming, and boy! Were they mad. They wanted to kill him, but Reuben,(the oldest,) talked them out of that, sparing his little brothers life.
Joseph was not out of the woods, his brothers sold him into slavery to a bunch of their arch-enemies, the Ishmaelites. Then, to take the blood off their hands, they deceived their Father into thinking that a wild animal had killed his favorite child. (The ancestors of Abraham are big on deception, but aren’t we all.) Meanwhile, Joseph finds himself in a different country with a different language and different ways of living, but God was with him.
Prayer- Lord, Help us live among our siblings in a better way than the sons of Jacob. However, when fate deals us a crappy hand, let us remember that YOU are always there. Go Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Genesis 37:1-11

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer, Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Genesis 37
Joseph's Dreams
1 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2 This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented [
a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it."
8 His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."
10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?" 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Genesis 37:3 The meaning of the Hebrew for richly ornamented is uncertain; also in verses 23 and 32.
Joseph is one of the younger brothers, but his mother was Rachel-the favorite wife. Joseph obviously had a lot of talent, and was not afraid to show it. He became his fathers favorite boy, and his brothers grew to resent him.
One of his many talents was the ability to interpret dreams, and he had one. Brashly, he told his brothers the dream-and it’s meaning. When your little brother tells you that one day you will bow to him, bad things happen. Jacob does not make things any better. He gives his favorite child an ornate robe, while his brothers were given work clothes.
We do not get along with our siblings, I know my brothers and I fought like cats and dogs,(literally- there was biting and scratching.) When one-especially a younger one cops an attitude of superiority, bad things will happen.
Prayer- Lord- Help me get along with all people, and help me show my family dignity and respect. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do- Read Genesis 37:12-36

Friday, July 14, 2006

Genesis Chapter 36

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Esau's Descendants
1 This is the account of Esau (that is, Edom).
2 Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite- 3 also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.
4 Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, Basemath bore Reuel, 5 and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the sons of Esau, who were born to him in Canaan.
6 Esau took his wives and sons and daughters and all the members of his household, as well as his livestock and all his other animals and all the goods he had acquired in Canaan, and moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob. 7 Their possessions were too great for them to remain together; the land where they were staying could not support them both because of their livestock. 8 So Esau (that is, Edom) settled in the hill country of Seir.
9 This is the account of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.
10 These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz, the son of Esau's wife Adah, and Reuel, the son of Esau's wife Basemath.
11 The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz.
12 Esau's son Eliphaz also had a concubine named Timna, who bore him Amalek. These were grandsons of Esau's wife Adah.
13 The sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were grandsons of Esau's wife Basemath.
14 The sons of Esau's wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon, whom she bore to Esau: Jeush, Jalam and Korah.
15 These were the chiefs among Esau's descendants: The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: Chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16 Korah, [
a] Gatam and Amalek. These were the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in Edom; they were grandsons of Adah.
17 The sons of Esau's son Reuel: Chiefs Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the chiefs descended from Reuel in Edom; they were grandsons of Esau's wife Basemath.
18 The sons of Esau's wife Oholibamah: Chiefs Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the chiefs descended from Esau's wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah.
19 These were the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these were their chiefs.
20 These were the sons of Seir the Horite, who were living in the region: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21 Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These sons of Seir in Edom were Horite chiefs.
22 The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. [
b] Timna was Lotan's sister.
23 The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam.
24 The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who discovered the hot springs [
c] in the desert while he was grazing the donkeys of his father Zibeon.
25 The children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah.
26 The sons of Dishon [
d] : Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran.
27 The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan.
28 The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.
29 These were the Horite chiefs: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30 Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These were the Horite chiefs, according to their divisions, in the land of Seir.
The Rulers of Edom
31 These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned [
e] :
32 Bela son of Beor became king of Edom. His city was named Dinhabah.
33 When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king.
34 When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king.
35 When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith.
36 When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king.
37 When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river [
f] succeeded him as king.
38 When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Acbor succeeded him as king.
39 When Baal-Hanan son of Acbor died, Hadad [
g] succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife's name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.
40 These were the chiefs descended from Esau, by name, according to their clans and regions: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43 Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom, according to their settlements in the land they occupied. This was Esau the father of the Edomites.
Genesis 36:16 Masoretic Text; Samaritan Pentateuch (see also Gen. 36:11 and 1 Chron. 1:36) does not have Korah .
Genesis 36:22 Hebrew Hemam , a variant of Homam (see 1 Chron. 1:39)
Genesis 36:24 Vulgate; Syriac discovered water ; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
Genesis 36:26 Hebrew Dishan , a variant of Dishon
Genesis 36:31 Or before an Israelite king reigned over them
Genesis 36:37 Possibly the Euphrates
Genesis 36:39 Many manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch and Syriac (see also 1 Chron. 1:50 most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text Hadar
Long reading today, this is the linage of the Edomites, who were the descendants of Esau. Even though they had the same ancestors as the Hebrews, (Abraham and Isaac,) they became enemies of David. Still, their line was important to the Hebrew scholars.
Prayer- Lord, Keep us safe as we try to live the life You would have us live. Let us learn and use what we learn for You. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Genesis 35:16-29

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac
16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid, for you have another son." 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. [
a] But his father named him Benjamin. [b]
19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel's tomb.
21 Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. 22 While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father's concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it. Jacob had twelve sons:
23 The sons of Leah: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.
24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
25 The sons of Rachel's maidservant Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.
26 The sons of Leah's maidservant Zilpah: Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.
27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
Genesis 35:18 Ben-Oni means son of my trouble .
Genesis 35:18 Benjamin means son of my right hand .
Rachel continued to have children, (two sons,) and died during the last childbirth. Jacob, or Israel, went to stay at the land of his father and grandfather. He buried his favorite wife near Bethlehem. Soon, his oldest son, Reuben, slept with one of Jacob’s concubines. This was a no-no. Jacob found out about it, but did not punish Reuben immediately.
Jacob gets home in time to bury his father, Isaac. This he did with his brother-Esau. This is one of the parts of the story that confuse me. Isaac was on his death bed when he blessed Jacob, yet thirty years later, he is still around. Esau says he will not kill Jacob until after the death of this father, out of respect. Does this mean he is free to kill Jacob now?
Sometimes when we sin, the punishment is not immediate. We may even think we got away with the sin, but the sin is always around our necks.
The twelve sons of Jacob,( Israel,) become the twelve nations of the Hebrew people. How many, besides the sons of Rachel, can you name?
Prayer-Lord, help us to remember than even though we do not get caught, sin is still sin, and gets between ourselves and our Lord. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do Read Genesis Chapter 36

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Genesis 35:1-14

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Jacob Returns to Bethel
1 Then God said to Jacob, "Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau."
2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3 Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone." 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. 5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.
6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, [
a] because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.
8 Now Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died and was buried under the oak below Bethel. So it was named Allon Bacuth. [
9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, [
c] God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, "Your name is Jacob, [d] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel. [e] " So he named him Israel.
11 And God said to him, "I am God Almighty [
f] ; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you." 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.
14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it.
Genesis 35:7 El Bethel means God of Bethel .
Genesis 35:8 Allon Bacuth means oak of weeping .
Genesis 35:9 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia; also in verse 26
Genesis 35:10 Jacob means he grasps the heel (figuratively, he deceives ).
Genesis 35:10 Israel means he struggles with God .
Genesis 35:11 Hebrew El-Shaddai
Jacob moves his family back to Bethel, to get away from his neighbors. Before he left, he told his family to surrender all their gods and idols. They did and Jacob buried them before he left. No one from the surrounding towns followed him to fight him. When he got to Bethel he built an altar and God came to visit and blessed him.
The gods and idols Jacobs family had were getting between themselves and God. Do we have gods and idols in our lives? Are they getting in between us and God? Idols do not have to be physical objects, they can be thoughts and desires. Jacob got rid of these things, had his people get rid of them, and then he buried them. He did not even want them hanging around. Shouldn’t we do the same?
Prayer- Lord, We love YOU! Give us the strength and courage to get rid of the things that keep us from You. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do. Read Genesis 35:16-29

Monday, July 10, 2006

Genesis 34:18-31

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father's household, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob's daughter. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to their fellow townsmen. 21 "These men are friendly toward us," they said. "Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22 But the men will consent to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23 Won't their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us give our consent to them, and they will settle among us."
24 All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.
25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem's house and left. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where [
a] their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have brought trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed."
31 But they replied, "Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?"
Jacob’s clan played hard-ball. They deceived their new neighbors until a false sense of security, had them circumcised, and then killed them. But they had justification, their sister had been done wrong. Welcome to the new land, these are people I want for neighbors.
The Bible does not judge this act one way or the other. The writer of Genesis just brings the facts, the who, what, when, where. It does state that Jacob was mad-not because his sons had killed lots of people, but because that put him sideways with his new neighbors.
What they did was wrong! They deceived Shechem and his father into thinking all is well if they make a sacrifice, if they become circumcised. While they are in post op, they get attacked and killed. They boys justified their action because Shechem treated their sister wrong. He did, but did his action warrant the reaction?
We do this today. Someone wrongs us, says something bad about us, and maybe it is even untrue. We let them think all is well, and then pounce. We justify our action because of the original wrong to us. Two wrongs do not make a right, they are just two wrongs!
Prayer- Lord, Help us forgive our neighbors. Help us remember that if we are your children, we should be able to treat each other fairly, no matter what others may have done to us. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do- Read Genesis 35:1-15

Friday, July 07, 2006

Genesis 34:1-17

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Dinah and the Shechemites
1 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and violated her. 3 His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. 4 And Shechem said to his father Hamor, "Get me this girl as my wife."
5 When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he kept quiet about it until they came home.
6 Then Shechem's father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. 7 Now Jacob's sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were filled with grief and fury, because Shechem had done a disgraceful thing in [
a] Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter—a thing that should not be done.
8 But Hamor said to them, "My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. 9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade [
b] in it, and acquire property in it."
11 Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, "Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I'll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the girl as my wife."
13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob's sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14 They said to them, "We can't do such a thing; we can't give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15 We will give our consent to you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We'll settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we'll take our sister [
c] and go."
Genesis 34:7 Or against
Genesis 34:10 Or move about freely ; also in verse 21
Genesis 34:17 Hebrew daughter
"As the Holy Land Turns." Even in the "good ol’ days" people had problems, maybe even more than now. Jacob’s Daughter Dinah caught the eye of the local ruler’s son, so he raped her. He really liked her however, so he had his dad go and try to make things right.
They were willing to give whatever Jacob and his sons wanted to make things right, and the sons acted in a deceitful way. They said that Schechem would have to be circumcised, and his people circumcised, or they would take their sister and go home, disgraced. They were setting Schechem and his people up.
Do not let your lust make you do things you shouldn’t. This did not do Schechem or Dinah any good, and things are about to get worse. When we let lust govern our actions, bad things generally follow.
Prayer- Lord, Help me resist lust and temptation. Help keep me pure and focused on you. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do -Read Genesis 34:18-31

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Genesis 33:13-20

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
12 Then Esau said, "Let us be on our way; I'll accompany you."
13 But Jacob said to him, "My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. 14 So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the droves before me and that of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir."
15 Esau said, "Then let me leave some of my men with you." "But why do that?" Jacob asked. "Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord."
16 So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. 17 Jacob, however, went to Succoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Succoth. [
18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram, [
b] he arrived safely at the [c] city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver, [d] he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent. 20 There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel. [e]

Genesis 33:17 Succoth means shelters .
Genesis 33:18 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia
Genesis 33:18 Or arrived at Shalem ,
Genesis 33:19 Hebrew hundred kesitahs ; a kesitah was a unit of money of unknown weight and value.
Genesis 33:20 El Elohe Israel can mean God, the God of Israel or mighty is the God of Israel .
Esau comes, He and his brother Jacob have a reunion, Esau invites Jacob to come and live with him, and Jacob declines. Jacob says he has lots of kids, (both human and livestock,) that can’t be driven hard, and that is why he can’t go with his brother. I would have suspected that after the big return of a lost brother that they would want to "hang out" together, at least for a while. That did not happen.
Again, this shows the humanity of the players. Sometimes, when we reunite with a family member after a long separation there is an attempt to spend lost time together. Other times we just shake hands and continue with our lives. This is one of those times.
The most important thing about this chapter is that Jacob is once again is the land of Abraham, he has come home, and all is right. Things will not stay calm for long, but God told him to go home, and he did. We all need to listen to God and do what He asks us to do.
Prayer- Lord, Help us listen for you as we live our lives. Help us understand that You do not always talk through burning bushes, sometimes you talk in soft breezes. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do- Read Genesis 34:1-17

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Genesis 33:1-11

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Jacob Meets Esau
1 Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two maidservants. 2 He put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.
4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. 5 Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. "Who are these with you?" he asked. Jacob answered, "They are the children God has graciously given your servant."
6 Then the maidservants and their children approached and bowed down. 7 Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down.
8 Esau asked, "What do you mean by all these droves I met?" "To find favor in your eyes, my lord," he said.
9 But Esau said, "I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself."
10 "No, please!" said Jacob. "If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need." And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it.
When last we saw Esau he was plotting to kill Jacob. Jacob feared the meeting, and did all damage control he could, and then braced for the worst. Something strange then happened, Esau did not kill him! In fact, he hugged him and welcomed Jacob home.
We will dread many things in our life. I HATE confrontation, and will do almost anything to get out of a situation. God is with me, as He was with Jacob, so why should I be afraid? Sometimes doubt can make us scared, scared of outcomes and scared of God’s strength. Go ahead. Live life and don’t be afraid. Many times we will be surprised by the results.
Prayer- Lord, Give me strength to confront my fears and anxieties. Help me remember that you are with us as we go through life. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do- Read Genesis 33:12-20

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Genesis 32:22-32

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go- Fight- Win. Amen.
Jacob Wrestles With God
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.
28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, [
a] because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."
29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, [
b] saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, [
c] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon.

Genesis 32:28 Israel means he struggles with God .
Genesis 32:30 Peniel means face of God .
Genesis 32:31 Hebrew Penuel , a variant of Peniel
I like the title of these passages. "Jacob Wrestles With God." How human are these words? Jacob moves all of his stuff across the river, but stays behind. He wrestles with some stranger there all night. I do not know if this is God himself, or an Angel or what, the scriptures do not say.
You have to admire Jacob’s persistence, he never quit. The struggle ended with the stranger touching Jacobs hip and dis-locating it. Still, Jacob had him in a hold. The stranger had to "tap out," and then blessed Jacob. He then changed his name to Israel-meaning "he struggles with God."
I wrestle with God almost everyday! I try to get God to see things my way, and convince him that things would be easier if he wouldn’t ask so much from me. I wonder why I am not successful in all the things I want to do, and ask why God lets the world run as it does. It is a constant struggle.
We are not alone, we all struggle with God, our faith and how God works in our lives. Jacob fought hard, all night, and still God prevailed. He was lucky, he realized God spared him in 32:30. Remember, things worth having are worth fighting for. If you struggle with God over faith, you are saying your faith is worth fighting for, and you are right. It is through these struggles that we become stronger and more dedicated. Sometimes, like Jacob, we get scarred in the fight. These are the scars of our faith, and these are our reminders of our relationship with God.
Prayer- Lord, Never give up on me. Even if I struggle with the Truth and you wishes, I love You and desire to be with you-always. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do-Relax, have a good holiday. Try not to fight God.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Genesis 32:1-21

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau
1 Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, "This is the camp of God!" So he named that place Mahanaim. [
3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He instructed them: "This is what you are to say to my master Esau: 'Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. 5 I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, menservants and maidservants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.' "
6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, "We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him."
7 In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, [
b] and the flocks and herds and camels as well. 8 He thought, "If Esau comes and attacks one group, [c] the group [d] that is left may escape."
9 Then Jacob prayed, "O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, 'Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,' 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, 'I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.' "
13 He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, "Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds."
17 He instructed the one in the lead: "When my brother Esau meets you and asks, 'To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?' 18 then you are to say, 'They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.' "
19 He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: "You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20 And be sure to say, 'Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.' " For he thought, "I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me." 21 So Jacob's gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.
Jacob prepares for home-coming. Remember, he stole his brothers birth-right and his blessing. Jacob fled his home for he feared death at the hands of his very dangerous and macho brother, Esau. So, this was not something Jacob was looking forward to, but God had told him to go home.
He meets Angels on the way home, and this proved to Jacob that God was with him. Wouldn’t it be great if we could see Angels in our travels to remind us that God is with us? Even though Jacob knew God was with him, he did made some defensive maneuvers. He sent Messengers ahead to Esau telling of Jacobs return. These messengers were basically begging. They came back saying that Esau was on his way to meet them, and he wasn’t alone!
Jacob divided his group into two camps, hoping that Esau would not kill both. He prayed to God, reminding God that this was all his idea, and then he gathered gifts for his big brother. Then he waited.
Do we also try to remind God that we are doing things for him. Even though God had told him to go home, and He sent Angels to meet them, Jacob still had to pray to make sure this is really what God wanted. He though this may be the end, but he did what God had told him to do. We can all learn from this story, because Jacob is very much a real human.
Prayer- Lord, help me stay the course. Even though things look dangerous and difficult, give me strength to do your work. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do- Read Genesis 32:22-32