07 VAYETZAY (and he went out) Gen 28:10-32:3 Mat 15&16

This part of Berea is organized around an annual Bible reading schedule of the first five books of the OT and the first five of the NT. Like manna from heaven, His Word is the Bread of Life, and as we 'eat it' on a daily basis it nourishes us and makes us grow. We borrowed the framework from a schedule that is common in many congregations or synagogues because it seems to work well. The schedule is divided into about 61 fixed topics in a set order (one for each week, plus God's feasts) using a Hebrew title, the English transliteration of the name, and the Bible section.

Comments or personal insights on anything in that section of Scripture are welcome, as are links to other commentaries or related articles. Jump in!

07 VAYETZAY (and he went out) Gen 28:10-32:3 Mat 15&16

Postby Bruce Bertram » Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:51 pm

Genesis 28:10-32:3; Hosea 12:12-14-10; Matthew 15 & 16

Here we have an account of Jacob's ladder that he sees in a dream on his way to eventually work for Laban. He works for seven years and is somehow deceived into marrying the older daughter Leah first. Another seven years and he finally ends up with Rachel (the one he wanted in the first place). Actually he marries Rachel then works seven years for her (to pay her off?). Another six years and Jacob ends up being extremely blessed monetarily and in livestock. Jacob has eleven sons through Leah (6 sons plus a daughter) Rachel (Joseph in this chapter, later she bore another in Benjamin) Rachel's handmaiden Bilah (2) and Leah's handmaiden Zilpah (2). Jacob finally leaves Laban (sneaks away actually) then Laban catches up to him and demands his stolen household gods back. Rachel is the one who stole them, and Jacob says the one who stole them should die. Rachel did die later in childbirth with Benjamin, but we don't know for sure that it was because of this incident or not.

Jesus in Matthew 15 responds to the accusation that He is not following the hand washing tradition of the elders with a parable, stating that unwashed hands do not make a person unclean. Jesus points out the difference between thinking that people are clean because of washed hands and being unclean because of what's in the heart.
7“You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 8‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 9‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ ” (Matthew 15:7-9 NASB95)

A Canaanite woman pleads with Jesus to heal her daughter. At first, Jesus doesn't seem to want to show her any attention, saying that He was sent to the 'lost sheep of Israel.' But then, because of the demonstration of faith by her answer ("even the dogs eat the crumbs") Jesus heals the woman's daughter. Jesus also feeds four thousand men and warns of the leaven of the Pharisees (hypocrisy, or saying one thing but doing another, and probably "teaching as doctrine the precepts of men"). Peter makes his famous confession 'thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,' while Jesus begins to speak of His approaching death.

Shalom
Last edited by Bruce Bertram on Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Bruce Scott Bertram - http://www.wholebible.com
War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.
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What's In The Heart?

Postby Bruce Bertram » Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:09 am

Part of the message I gave last Saturday on this portion was centered around the condition of the heart.
10After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11“It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” (Matthew 15:10-11 NASB95)

What was in the heart of Leah, and what was in the heart of Rachel? You can tell something of what was going on by how they named their children. Leah named her first four 'see, a son,' (Reuben - "surely now my husband will love me") 'heard,' (Simeon - "the Lord has heard me") 'joined to' (Levi - "maybe my husband will join to me") 'praise' (Judah - "I will praise the Lord").

Rachel names her first two (from her servant girl Bilhah) 'a judge' (Dan - "I have been vindicated") and 'wrestled' (Naphtali - "I have wrestled with my sister and won"). Leah does the same with her serving girl (Zilpah) but names her children from that union 'troop' (Gad - "how fortunate I am") and 'happy' (Asher - "how happy I am"). We can easily see the attitudes of the two hearts by what is coming out, in the same way that Jesus indicated.

Leah was unloved, and Rachel was loved by Jacob. Rachel has the prominent position in the household, yet Leah is the one giving sons to Jacob. Having children was a very great blessing, then and now. God opens Leah's womb and keeps Rachel's closed, to me because of the condition of the heart and Jacob's stubbornness in loving one and not the other, also a condition of the heart.

In Matthew 15:22 a Canaanite woman comes to Jesus because her daughter is possessed by demons. Canaanites were somewhere around the level of dogs to Jews because of the character of the Canaanite heart (raising wickedness, witchcraft, sexual perversion and idolatry to art forms), so Jesus does not want to deal with her at first. Realize too that it might be because of the sins of the Canaanites that the woman's daughter was possessed in the first place. But what is the condition of her heart? She has to recognize, at least a little, who Jesus is and that He is the only one who can help her. She had to have walked a long way to see Him, leaving kids at home possibly. She knew who she was, and that help was not likely to be forthcoming from a Jew. Yet she came and threw herself on the mercy of Jesus, answering His statement about not giving the children's bread to dogs with a humble statement about even dogs eating crumbs. Jesus marveled at her faith, which includes the recognition of God in Jesus (I think) and trust in His mercy that He would help her. And so her daughter was healed.

In contrast, we have the heart condition of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who are seeking to trap Jesus into something they can kill Him for, and 'leaven' which is hypocrisy (saying one thing and doing another - see Luke 12:1). They put aside the Word of God for the traditions of their elders (15:2-3), can read weather signs well but can't read the Sign in front of them (16:1-4) because of the hardness of their hearts. For these types of people, there is no healing possible.

Peter's heart confesses that Jesus is the Christ because he is told by God (meaning apparently he can hear a little at least) and upon this acknowledgment are the keys to the kingdom given.
45“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (Luke 6:45 NASB95)

And again:
8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:8-10 NASB95)

Shalom
Bruce Scott Bertram - http://www.wholebible.com
War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.
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Peek-a-boo

Postby Bruce Bertram » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:28 am

Genesis 28:10 - 32:3; Hosea 12:12 - 14:10; Matthew 15 and 16; John 1:43-51

16Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:16-17 NASB95)

On the heels of a dream, where God confirms the promise to Jacob that He made to Abraham (remember, following the trail of the promise all the way from Genesis 3:15) Jacob wakes up and realizes that God was in the place where he slept and he didn’t know it. That is, until God revealed Himself in the form of a ladder. This ladder is often called ‘Jacob’s ladder,’ but it is more proper to call it ‘Jesus’ after reading the gospel of John.
51And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:51 NASB95)

At the end of our Genesis section Jacob is again unaware of God’s presence in the form of a camp of angels probably there to guard him from anything his cousin Laban might want to do to him.

In the dream Jacob was either unaware of God or unaware of the Messiah or both, I’m not sure which. The Pharisees and Sadducees of Matthew 15 and 16, on the other hand, surely must’ve known that Jacob’s ladder was standing in front of them. Yet either they could not, or would not, acknowledge Him. Most likely the latter, since in asking for a sign (16:1) they are at least acknowledging that Jesus is a candidate for the office of ‘prophet like Moses.’ The reason they wanted a ‘sign from heaven’ was to validate the credentials of Jesus in a specific way, as if Jesus was a trick pony or something. Not that a sign would’ve helped, because Jesus tells them that only an evil and adulterous group (Mat. 16:4) would want a particular sign, which would be in addition to the huge signs already being given (deaf hearing, blind seeing, lame walking, demons leaving, bread from nowhere, and that’s just in these two chapters!). Jacob didn’t know God was there, but honored Him when He said ‘Hi.’ Then there are the religious leaders of Jesus’ time who had it revealed to them but rejected Him anyway.

I have to ask myself, which one do I resemble? Do I look like Jacob, who didn’t know God was there but honored Him when He found out, or do I look like the Pharisees, who saw God but denied Him? God’s presence is plain, and all around us.
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23 NASB95)

Notice that people ‘knew God’ but they ‘did not honor Him as God.’ Rejecting God has nothing to do with not knowing but rather not accepting. God reveals Himself all the time in many ways, both in His Word and in daily living. We don’t need ‘signs,’ we need ‘sense.’

Do you think God plays peek-a-boo with you? You know, sometimes He’s here and sometimes He’s not? It is easy to feel that way, but our feelings can be wrong. The Scriptures say He is always here, and Jesus specifically tells us He will be with His followers forever.
19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NASB95)


If you go by feelings, it may be very hard to tell if God is around or not. How does one ‘feel’ God, anyway? Apparently Jacob couldn’t ‘feel’ God, so God revealed Himself in a dream. If God doesn’t reveal Himself then we certainly can’t ‘feel’ Him. He has revealed Himself in creation, but also in His Word and works. Feelings come from knowing and accepting, not the other way around. Isn’t it more likely that we know He is here by His Word, or because of His actions on our behalf (such as the resurrection or the preservation of Israel)? How often do we recognize Jesus in our daily living? Do we recognize Him because we are filled with or immersed in His Word, or does it take a dream (unasked for), or a sign (asked for)?

We know He is there because of creation, what’s inside of us (Romans 1:19) and because He said so. The only reason that I can see it might feel like God plays peek-a-boo with me is because I hide from Him. If I’m hiding, then I can’t see Him. And if I can’t see Him, does that mean He’s really not there?

Shalom
Bruce Scott Bertram - http://www.wholebible.com
War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.
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Godly Offspring

Postby Bruce Bertram » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:38 pm

Genesis 28:10 - 32:3; Hosea 12:12 - 14:10 (14:09); Matthew 15 and 16; John 1:43-51
And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” (Malachi 2:13–16, ESV)

One of the Father’s greatest blessings is children. In ancient times, obviously from our passage this week and many others in the Bible, children were much desired. Women or couples were considered blessed if they had children, and cursed if they didn’t. Not being able to have children was considered a “reproach” (Genesis 30:23) or shame (an accusation of guilt), and that something spiritual was wrong somewhere. Modern attitudes are somewhat different. Some have bought into the lie that humans are using up finite resources and polluting the earth, and want to limit having children. This is straight from the serpent and has no basis in God’s Word.

In the beginning it was set up by God that one man and one woman would become “one flesh” and bear children to fill and subdue the earth. It was a way of sharing in God’s work of creation, and furthering His kingdom. Adam and Eve also got a promise (a promise to all of us) that the estrangement begun in the Garden would not last. The “seed of the woman” (the Messiah) would come and destroy the power of the serpent. Until Jesus showed up in the flesh part of having children was looking forward to this event, at least for godly people. One of the reasons for attempts at population control was to kill the Messiah, and later to kill off people who might decide to follow Him.

God breathed the breath of “lives” into Adam, and we keep that going by having children. Having children is a sign that God’s kingdom will increase, and that God is not going to completely remove Himself from us. In spite of the fact that we rejected His rule, and in spite of the resulting curses we have to work through. Remember that a curse is the absence of God, and blessing at the root is the presence of God. (See the free booklet by me titled 'Christian Faith and Practice Through Blessing and Prayer' for more information.)

In our passage this week, Leah and Rachel are in competition for Jacob’s favor. They want to bear him children, both because of the blessings and to please him. Sometimes God “opens” a womb (as with Leah), and other times He closed a womb that could normally bear children, as He did with Rachel. God showed favor to Leah because Jacob loved Rachel more, which was inherently unfair. When Rachel could finally have a child, she rejoiced that God had taken away her reproach.

The Scriptures show a record of terrible things done by parents to their children. One of them was offering them to Molech, god of the Ammonites. Sometimes this was called “causing your children to pass through the fire” (Deuteronomy 18:10 AV and NASB95) or “giving your child (offspring) to Molech.” Apparently, this involved killing children by tossing them on a hot iron plate, or something similar. Some think it was merely a dedication, like fire walking, but either way it was a terrible practice that “profaned the name of God.”

We comfort ourselves thinking that sacrificing children is no longer done, but that ignores abortion. We might not have a statue of the god in an office, but he’s just changed form. Now his altar is a sheet-wrapped sterile gurney and the priest is swathed in medical linens. He is assisted by priestesses who, instead of bringing life into the world as they should, bring forth death as offerings to a modern Molech. Their instruments are cold steel instead of flaming iron, but they are just as efficient at killing using their sacrificial dark arts as their ancient brethren.

Good parents want good things for their kids. We invest our lives in them so they have a chance to be successful in turn in their lives. We bring them into the world with a lot of pain, we nurse them through sickness staying up and worrying over whether they will live through it, make sure they eat right, and teach them how to behave. One of the best things we can do for them is to teach them the Word of God. Not just some of the words that make us feel good, but all of them. And not just the words, but the actions too.

This is one of the reasons God puts man and woman together in a marriage. We are supposed to produce godly offspring. We are supposed to teach our kids and grand kids to love God and follow His ways. Some people don’t marry and don’t have kids, but this is the rare exception and only happens for specific reasons (Matthew 19:12). Failure to live and teach the Law is one of the reasons for the downfall of Israel. The kids didn’t just grow up and depart from God. The adults departed, and taught their kids to do the same. Kids are pretty good about learning what parents teach, even when we don’t think we are teaching. They are like little tape recorders, mimicking every word and action parents do. They see the inconsistencies between what we say and what we do. So they grow up pretty much like they are raised. If they depart from God, it’s usually because that’s how they were taught. Yes, there are exceptions, and people in general can willfully depart too. But, if we stick with God's Word the chances for raising godly children increase immensely.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42, ESV)

I’ve had people tell me that parents can’t control how a child will turn out. They are trying to make excuses for how the child was raised. If you look at their life choices, however, you can see that they try to “be good” rather than follow God’s Law. “Being good” is open to interpretation. When we teach proper fear of God, love of God, and the Word of God, the result is much different. The problem with removing blame is we also remove credit. If a child turns out like they should, under the "no blame" system, we can’t take the credit. If raising children is all an accident, we don’t get blamed but we don’t get credit either. The Bible says, however, that teaching children to be godly can be done. That’s what His Law is for. It just has to be taught by people who are living godly themselves.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15, ESV)

One of the reasons for raising ungodly children is the refusal to discipline, including what we call corporal punishment or spanking. I’m not talking about, and God isn’t either, beating that goes way past discipline and into abuse. I’m talking about a parent who is willing to impose some artificial consequences so that the child will avoid natural consequences. I’m talking about a parent who is willing to do what is distasteful so their children will learn one way or the other to be godly. And spanking is hard to do. I used to hear that “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” and I didn’t really believe it. That is, until I had to do it myself. It’s really true. It hurts a lot for a parent to spank.
Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. (Proverbs 23:12–14, ESV)

If we do not use measured physical discipline we are not doing the child any favors. It is more self-serving than merciful to refuse to spank. It is also self-serving to go over the top in beating them.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4, ESV)

The lack of spanking (or presence of beatings) shows how much a parent does not love a child. The parent who will not discipline properly is more concerned with their own feelings than disciplining in self-restraint so the kids learn how to be godly with one another and God.
Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24, ESV)

Proper discipline requires us to be disciplined by the Father, and we are disciplined by Him as we strive to follow His Word. The Law is a framework for teaching love and righteousness and the fear of God. We deny ourselves (our flesh) when we refuse to do what we want and instead do what our Father wants.
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5–11, ESV)

As we learned (and learn) what God wants, we teach it to our kids and grand kids. Older men teach younger men. Older women teach younger women.
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. (Titus 2:1–8, ESV)

Denial of self is one of the main ingredients in following God. Jesus denied Himself by putting aside His glory He had with the Father and dying a torturous death as a man on a cross. Parents deny themselves when they stay up all night with a sick child or otherwise lay down their lives for their kids (sometimes even literally). The self-esteem stuff out there damages everyone, because it is just another term for selfishness and self-indulgence. It is the exact opposite of God’s Law. People want to “find themselves” which is really code for shucking all responsibility, especially responsibility for producing godly offspring, and pursuing the pleasures of the flesh.

Raising godly offspring is hard, no question about it. It has to be done with reliance on God’s Word, living it and teaching it. We get ahead of the game by consuming His body and blood (the bread of life, the Word) daily, hungering and thirsting after His righteousness. We use His rod (of correction – which is the Word) and staff (also the Word) as comfort for us. We are disciplined by God, and we in turn discipline our children so they fear God and follow Him through any circumstance.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4, ESV)

When we do something wrong, we confess and repent. When our children do something wrong, as defined by God, we correct them, with the application of pain if we have to. What is that old saying parents have? “Apply the board of correction to the seat of learning.” Our children see our humility and the fact that we are willing to admit we are wrong and they learn to be humble too. They learn that self-denial is good for them, and good for others. Candy bars for dinner all the time is not healthy. Hurting others because you were given some small slight is not how we repay God for His forgiveness of our own sins. The reason some parents don’t want the blame for bad kids is because they haven’t lived and taught God’s Word the way they need to either.
The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:7, ESV)

It is normal, and right, and built into humans, to want to marry and have children. God wants us to be godly offspring, and have godly offspring. Two of the reasons we were created was to marry and have godly children. Children fill our hearts and His kingdom. They are good, and a blessing directly from God. The more children the merrier. May God bless you with lots of children.
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:13–16, ESV)

Shalom
Bruce
Bruce Scott Bertram - http://www.wholebible.com
War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.
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