The Sons of Jacob :: Napthali (and Jesus Christ)

Napthali was sixthborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Bilhah, Rachel’s servant and Jacob. Napthali  means “my wrestle”. He was so named by Rachel as she expressed that God had seen her wrestling with her sister who had borne Jacob four sons while she was barren and now she had prevailed.

Points to ponder:
Napthali means to struggle or wrestle. In Jesus Christ, we have a high priest who was tempted in every way (Hebrews 4:14), who struggled with the decision to have his own will, yet he submitted to God fully (Luke 22:42) and who prevailed against all his struggles without sin (Hebrews 4:14-15).

Most importantly Jesus struggled on the Cross, both physically (thirsting) and spiritually (forsaken by his Father), and he prevailed over death and sin.

Jesus wrestled death and sin for you and me and prevailed. What is your struggle? Why do many wrestle to accept and believe in him? Are you wrestling against God? Believe in Jesus and accept him today.

Genesis 30:7-8 (KJV)
And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.
And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.

No more segregation (from God)

In the article, “The Meaning of The King Holiday”, late Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., succinctly writes “On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.” Undoubtedly, Martin Luther King Jr.  rightfully deserves such recognition for his fight against segregation based on color, for we are all made in the image of God and no one man is more superior than the other.

On this day as I pondered over the life of Martin Luther King Jr., I realized that Martin Luther King Jr. emulated in fact the values and virtues of an even greater King, in fact, the greatest of all kings – Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ love is universal and for all for his will is that no one should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Jesus’ love is unconditional for he died for us even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
Jesus’ forgiveness is for all – from the saintliest to the vilest of sinners. Jesus even requested God to forgive those who crucified him (Luke 23:34).
Jesus embodied non-violence for like a lamb led to slaughter, he kept quiet without retaliating against his oppressors (Isaiah 53:7).

Points to ponder:
Do you know Jesus and his love for you? He does not want you to perish i.e., be segregated from God. He unconditionally loves you and me and he will forgive anyone who asks him to with a broken heart and contrite spirit. Does the gentle non-violent Spirit of Jesus draw you to him?
Not only today, but each day of our lives, let us commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered Jesus’ redeeming Spirit.
Because of Jesus, man can be reconciled with God and that means because of Jesus, there is no more segregation (from God) to all those who believe in Jesus. Believe in Jesus and accept and receive him.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Luke 23:34
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Isaiah 53:7 
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Reference: The Meaning of The King Holiday

The Sons of Jacob :: Dan (and Jesus Christ)

Dan was fifthborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Bilhah, Rachel’s servant and Jacob. Dan  means “judged”. He was so named by Rachel who expressed that with his birth, God had heard her plea and given her a son and she now felt that we was vindicated (proved right or justified) by God.

Points to ponder:
Rachel felt that God had judged her and found her justified (proved right) for he gave to her through her servant Bilhah, a son. God gave the world his Son to justify and prove right the world that had fallen due to the sin of man. The sinless became sinful so that the sinless can become sinless for God made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be vindicated i.e., made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Additionally, God has entrusted his Son, Jesus Christ, the absolute authority to judge (John 5:22) all men. It is only by faith in Christ Jesus – believing that he is the Son of God, sent by God, to save and reconciling all mankind back to God, who paid the penalty (wages) of our sins by his death, and was raised by God – that anyone can be made just/righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21; Habakkuk 2:4).

Rachel felt that she was proved right? Do you? In other words, if Christ Jesus was to judge you and me today, would he find us vindicated / justified / proved right / righteous? In other words, do you believe in Jesus?

Genesis 30:3-4 (KJV)
Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.”
So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, and she became pregnant and bore him a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV)
21 For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The Source of Life

When Rachel was barren, she said unto her husband Jacob “Give me children, or else I die.” This angered Jacob who in his anger questioned Rachel and said “Am I in God’s stead to withhold the fruit of the womb?” What this establishes is that, it is only God who can bring forth life for children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward (Psalm 127:3). The source of life is God.

Points to ponder:
A child who is born into a family is a reward i.e., life is the result of the favor of God. In like manner and more importantly, a child who is born again into the family of God by believing in Jesus is solely because of the grace of God. God is the only source of not only life but eternal life. Physical and ephemeral life is solely by the favor of God. Spiritual and eternal life is solely by the grace of God. God alone is the source of life – physical and spiritual; ephemeral and eternal.

Are you assured of eternal life after your physical life has passed? In other words, are you assured of living eternally? If not, tarry no longer but believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, acknowledging his Lordship and confessing our sins for everyone who believes in Christ Jesus will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Jesus Christ alone is the source of Life – life that matters – eternal life.

Genesis 30:1-2 (KJV)
And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

Emptiness can breed Envy

The account in the 30th chapter of the book of Genesis begins with a sad state of affairs within a family – the family of Jacob. Rachel the second wife of Jacob who was relatively loved more by Jacob was barren, while Leah, Rachel’s sister and first wife of Jacob, had borne him four sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah) for the Lord had opened her womb. And when Rachel saw that she was empty, instead of seeking God for his blessings and praising God for her sister’s fruitfulness, she envied her own sister (Genesis 30:1).

Points to ponder:
Sometimes when life situations make us feel barren and empty, we can easily react as Rachel did.  Instead of seeking God for his blessings we can end up becoming envious of those whom the Lord God blesses bountifully, including our loved ones. What this demonstrates is not God’s character for he is just, but our own selfish character. It shows that we do not trust God of his sovereignty and that we do not rely on God for his provisions. It demonstrates that we do not love, for love does not envy (1 Corinthians 13:4).
Emptiness can breed envy. In other words, it can breed hate. The question that remains then is – will you let it to?
Love is patient, Love is kind, Love does envy.

Genesis 30:01 (KJV)
01 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

The Sons of Jacob :: Judah (and Jesus Christ)

Judah was fourthborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Leah and Jacob. Judah  means “Praise”. He was so named by his mother who expressed that with his birth, she would now praise the Lord.

Points to ponder:
Leah yearned to be loved by her husband as is evident in the naming of her previous sons. Now with the birth of her fourth son, she recognized that it was not here husband but the Lord God whom she should be grateful for.

Who are you trying to please? Who are you seeking the praises from? Who are you praising? Praise the Lord God and no one else. Seek not the praises of men, but seek the Lord God and praise him for he is praiseworthy.

Genesis 29:35 (KJV)
35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

The Sons of Jacob :: Levi (and Jesus Christ)

Levi was the thirdborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Leah and Jacob. Levi means “The Lord has joined or attached”. He was so named by his mother who felt that her husband Jacob shall now be joined to her as she had borne him three sons. From Levi comes one of the tribes of the Israelites – the Levites, who served as God’s priests.

Points to ponder:
Leah yearned to be joined/attached with her husband just as the Church (the people of God who believe in Jesus) should yearn to be joined/attached with her bridegroom, Jesus. God sent his Son Jesus so that man could be joined (reconciled back) with God. God reached out to have man join back with him. Are you joined with / attached to the Lord? If you are, are you his priest, working to reconcile (join) others with God?

Genesis 29:34 (KJV)
34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.

The Sons of Jacob :: Simeon (and Jesus Christ)

Simeon was the secondborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Leah and Jacob. Simeon means “The Lord hears”. He was so named by his mother who felt that the Lord had heard that she was not loved (hated) by her husband.

Points to ponder:
God hears the cries of man, and his ears are attentive to the cries of the righteous (Psalm 34:15). God heard the groaning of all of his creation (Romans 8:22) brought about by the sin of man and sent his Son Jesus. When God identified Jesus to be his son, he not only expressed his pleasure in his son by stating that God was well-pleased in Christ Jesus but God also commanded that we all listen to Him. (Matthew 17:5). God heard us and expects us to hear him. Do you hear God?

Genesis 29:33 (KJV)
33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.

The Sons of Jacob :: Reuben (and Jesus Christ)

Reuben was the firstborn of the sons of Jacob. He was born to Leah and Jacob. Reuben means “See a son”. He was so named by his mother who felt that surely the Lord had looked upon her affliction of being unloved (hated) by her husband.

Points to ponder:
God looked upon the affliction on all of mankind brought about by man’s disobedience (sin) and sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord sees i.e., his eyes are in every place beholding the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 16:17), but the question is, do you see the Son of God in Jesus? (Matthew 17:5). O taste and see that the Lord God is a good God (Psalm 34:8), who sees the affliction of man.

Genesis 29:32 (KJV)
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.

Impartial Just Love

Jacob marries Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban but the Bible records that his love for his wives was partial. He loved Rachel more than Leah, (Genesis 29:30) but what is interesting is that his lessened love for Leah was not regarded as lesser love but as hatred for Leah (Genesis 29:31). God intervenes and justly makes Leah fruitful.

Points to ponder:
Man’s love toward another person may be partial, but God’s love toward all is not only impartial but also just. Furthermore, loving one lesser than another is akin to hating the one loved less.

Let our love toward others be impartial and just. More importantly let us not love God less than anyone or anything else for doing so would be akin to hating him. The greatest commandments are to Love God with all our heart, soul, mind (Matthew 22:37) and might (Deuteronomy 6:5) and then to love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), with love like that of God – impartial just love. How is our love of others and our love for God?

Genesis 29:30-31 (KJV)
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.