Transitive Blessing

The Bible records in the 30th chapter of Genesis a dialog that takes place between Jacob and his uncle Laban. Upon the birth of Jacob’s eleventh son, Joseph through Rachel, Jacob asks his uncle to send him away so he may return to his own place and his country. He asks for his wives and children for whom he had served Laban. Laban responds to Jacob requests to and requests him to tarry and gives his reason for his request. Laban’s reason was that he had experienced how the Lord had blessed him because of Jacob. In other words, Laban was blessed transitively because of Jacob.

Points to ponder:
Are people around us being blessed transitively because of you and me? Do people who are acquainted with us, say that they experience the Lord’s blessings because of God being with us. In God blessing us, let us be a blessing!

Genesis 30:25-27 (KJV)
25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.
26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.
27 And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.


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

Benjamin was twelfth born of the sons of Jacob. He was born as Jacob’s second son through Rachel. Upon his birth, Rachel breathed her last and as her soul was departing, she called him Benoni, meaning son of sorrows but his father called him Benjamin, meaning son of my right hand.

Points to ponder:
Jesus Christ, the Son of God willfully agreed (John 10:18) to become the man of sorrows, despised and rejected by men, and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). He was born into this world as Benoni the son of sorrows, but The Father God made him the Son of his right hand for Jesus was made ruler over all (Colossians 2:10), and is now seated at the  right hand of God (1 Peter 3:22), for having endured the Cross and despising its shame (Hebrews 12:2). He is God’s Benjamin.

Genesis 35:17-20 (KJV)
17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.

Isaiah 53:3 (KJV)
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Labor sans Love

Labor day is celebrated annually on the first Monday in September as a national tribute to all the workers who labored for the well-being of America, making it strong and prosperous.

Christian life is a life of labor, wherein we are co-laborers with Jesus Christ himself, in God’s mission of reconciling fallen man back to himself. We are commissioned to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that God has commanded us (Matthew 28:18-20). And his greatest two commandment is to love him first and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40).

To the Church in Ephesus, God gives this commendation that he knows of their work and their persistent and persevering labor and how they cannot bear those who are evil. Nevertheless God says that he has a complaint against this church and his complaint is that the Church of Ephesus had left their first love (of God and of others). They are asked to remember their first love, repent, return  to the one who first loved and to redo their first works (labor) (Revelation 2:2-4).

Points to ponder:
From this commendation juxtaposed with complaint of the Church of Ephesus by God, we learn that one can labor without love. Let our work for the Lord God not be as such, but instead let our labor be as a result of our love for him and his creation. Let us labor because we love God for he first loved us (1 John 4:19). Let us labor to share with his creation that God sent his son Jesus (John 3:16), who came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23); and whoever believes in Jesus and receives him, to them he gave them the power to become the children of God (John 1:12). Let us share the good news not because we have to but because we want to as an expression our love for God and his people so that God does not have to tell of us “I know your hard work, nevertheless you have left your first love”. Let our final commendation of labor not be one sans love.

Let us remember God’s love for us that demonstrated on the Cross by his Son (Romans 5:8) and repent and return to labor for our first love – Jesus Christ, who is always with us (Matthew 28:20).

Revelation 2:2-4 (KJV)
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


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

Joseph was eleventh born of the sons of Jacob. He was born as Jacob’s first son through Rachel. The Bible records that God remembered Rachel and hearkened unto her and opened her womb and she conceived and bore Jacob, her son Joseph saying that The Lord shall add to her another son. She also expressed that God had taken away her reproach (disgrace or shame of being barren).

From the birth of Joseph, we learn a few truths that may not be explicitly evident.
First, God remembered Rachel, teaching us that God does not forget.
Second God hearkened to Rachel, teaching us that God is a listening and prayer answering God. This also informs us that Rachel was praying to God. Earlier we see that Rachel has bartered her husband Jacob for some mandrakes which she superstitiously thought would have made her fertile. Now we see that she is seeking of the Lord and not resort to some lore, folklore. The superstitious Rachel becomes a supplicating Rachel.
Third, God opened Rachel’s womb, teaching us that it is only the Lord God who can produce life and remove all barrenness.
Fourth, God had taken away her reproach.
Fifth, The Lord shall add to Rachel another son, teaching us that God can add. It also speaks to us about Rachel’s faith and trust in the Lord.

Points to ponder:
Jesus remembered us while we were still sinners and unproductive and did not forget us. (Romans 5:8)
Jesus listens to our prayers and he is a prayer answering God (John 14:13). Let us believe and hope in the Lord than hope on some false lore.
Jesus is the only one who can make us productive for we can do nothing without him. (John 15:4)
Jesus’ grace takes away our disgrace as sinners and turns us into saints. As believers and followers of Jesus, we have nothing to be ashamed of, for he was shamed on the cross to take away our shame. (Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 50:6-8; Hebrews 12:2; Colossians 2:13-15)
Jesus, the Son of God, was made the Son of man so that God can bring many sons to glory i.e., add us all as sons (and daughters) into his family, for to all who believe in Jesus and who have received him, they are given the power to be called the sons of God (John 1:12)

Are you a son/daughter of God?

Genesis 30:22-24 (KJV)
22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.

The Daughter of Jacob :: Dinah (and Jesus Christ)

Dinah was the only daughter of Jacob and her name is mentioned only once in the Bible (Genesis 30:21). She was born to Leah as Leah’s seventh child and Jacob’s eleventh child. She was the last born of Leah and Jacob and her name Dinah means “avenged” or “judged”. Dinah is the feminine form of Dan and both have their roots in the Hebrew word “din” which means to “judge” or “plead”.

It is plausible that Leah may have so named her daughter, Dinah, for she may have felt avenged by the Lord as her husband Jacob did not love her as much as he did love Leah’s sister, Rachel. Later we shall see how Dinah was avenged for the crime of Shechem the Hivite against her, wherein her brothers, Simeon and Levi took matters into their own hands.

Points to ponder:
God is judge. It is he who avenges. When life seems to unjust to us, let us rely on him to avenge and not take matters into our own hands. Jesus is the Judge over all for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son (John 5:22) and we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; so that every one will be “judged” according to what we have done; good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). Those who have walked according to the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh, to them who are in Christ Jesus, to them there is no condemnation when Christ the Judge judges (Romain 8:1).

Genesis 30:21 (KJV)
21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.

John 5:22 (KJV)
22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV)
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Romans 8:1 (KJV)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

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

Zebulun was tenth born of the sons of Jacob. He was born as Jacob’s sixth son through Leah. Zebulun means “dwelling” or “habitation” or “home” and he was so named by Leah because she said, now that I have borne Jacob six sons, he (my husband Jacob) will dwell with me.

Points to ponder:
Unlike Leah, who hoped that her husband Jacob, would dwell with her, we the Church, the bride of Christ Jesus can be assured that he would dwell with him. He has already done so once for the Bible records that the Word (Jesus Christ) was in the beginning with God and was God and the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14) and has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Jesus willingly came to dwell amongst men so that man could dwell with God. The important question then is have you and I made the Most High God our habitation, our dwelling place, for the one who does so, is protected from all evil and plagues, for he shall give his angels to charge over them to keep them in all their ways (Psalm 91:9-11).  Is Jesus Christ, God Most High, your/my Zebulun?

Genesis 30:19-20 (KJV)
19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.
20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.

John 1:14 (KJV)
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Psalm 91:9-11 (KJV)
Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

Two Wives Tales

Genesis 30:14-18 records an interesting account of a transaction that takes place between two sisters, Leah and Rachel, who were the two wives of Jacob, the son of Isaac.

Leah’s firstborn son, Reuben, finds mandrakes in the field, during the days of a wheat harvest and brings it to his mother Leah. Rachel, her sister, who was barren, pleads with her sister for the mandrakes, which was believed to be a aphrodisiac with the power to make a barren womb fertile (Song of Solomon 7:13). Mandrakes are Mediterranean plants that have a forked fleshy root which supposedly resembles the human form and was formerly used in folklore medicine and magic as it has stimulating elements and a narcotic smell. Leah responds with some degree of animosity, wherein she questions her sister, asking “Is it a small small that you have taken my husband, Jacob and now want my son’s mandrakes too?” Driven by the desire to bear a child, Rachel does not answer Leah questions, but instead respond by bartering her husband to sleep with Leah that night in exchange for Reuben’s mandrakes. When Jacob returns from the field in the evening, Leah goes out to meet with Jacob and tells him that he must lie with her that night for she had hired him. Jacob obliges.
The Bible then records that God hearkened to Leah and she conceived and bore Jacob her fifth son, whom she named Issachar, meaning “hire”.

While this whole account, out of context may seem preposterous to us in this monogamous day an age, but instead of focusing on its absurdity, let us focus on some hidden truths that surface, with deeper inspection.
First – it is not the mandrakes or for that matter any object that can make anyone fertile, except God himself. Therefore, we must not succumb to superstitions but instead submit to the Sovereign God for being productive.
Second – Jacob, who should have loved both his wives impartially failed in his duty as a Godly husband, for he loved Rachel more than he loved Leah, which was akin to hating Leah (Genesis 29:30-31); but God is impartial and just and he hearkens to Leah’s prayer.
Third – God hearkened to Leah means that Leah was a prayerful women seeking God to be her problem solver, unlike Rachel who resorted to old wives tales, instead of God to help her.
Fourth – The one who gave is the one who receives. Leah gave away her son’s mandrakes to Rachel and it she who is blessed by the Lord with another son.

Points to ponder:
Let us not succumb to old wives tales but instead submit to the Sovereign, Just and Righteous God by praying to him and seeking him to be our problem solver. He is the only One who can remove the barrenness in our lives and make us productive. Let us be willing to give and give up (even that which may seem is beneficial to us), for it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Genesis 30:14-18 (KJV)
14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.
15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.
16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.