This week, we will read Genesis 30-37, Mark 1-7, Esther 6-10, Job 1-3, and Romans 1-7. Here are some thoughts I had that might be interesting for you to look for as you read through these chapters!
Abraham’s descendants continue to follow in the line of deception. After Laban cheated Jacob (Genesis 31:7), Jacob deceived Laban by fleeing (Genesis 31:20), and Rachel followed suit and deceived Laban and stole (Genesis 31:32-35).
God is referred to by this title: “The Fear of Isaac” (Genesis 31:42).
God takes care of His people. He provided for Jacob (Genesis 32:10) and gave him favor before Esau (Genesis 33:4).
Jacob’s sons continue in the line of deception stretching back to Abraham, as they deceive and murder Schechem (Genesis 34:13, Genesis 34:25) for raping their sister (Genesis 34:2). They were rightly outraged, but responded sinfully (and in a manner consistent with the sin we have observed in their family).
God reaffirmed Jacob’s new name, Israel, and confirmed that the Abrahamic covenant was passed on to him (Genesis 35:9-12).
Amalek, whose descendants would curse Israel and give rise to Agag (a likely ancestor of Haman; see notes on Esther 9-10 below), is born to Eliphaz the son of Esau.
Jacob’s sons are evil. Reuben was an adulterer (Genesis 35:22), Simeon and Levi were deceivers and murderers (Genesis 34:13), and here all 10 of them plot to murder their own brother, Joseph (Genesis 37:18) and deceive their father (Genesis 37:20). The deception they inherited from Jacob turns back against Jacob himself.
God providentially rescued Mordecai by putting it in the king’s heart to honor him. The king apparently did not know that he was putting the Jews to death; Mordecai’s heritage was known to the king (Esther 6:10).
God gave Esther favor with the king, who immediately sided with her. Esther demonstrated bravery, knowledge, and eloquence of speech. As for Haman, he “[suffered] wrong as the wages of doing wrong” (2 Peter 2:13).
Though the original law against the Jews could not be revoked, the king put a new law into place; another instance of God’s providential protection of His people.
Through the new edict, God brought about a physical salvation for the Jews. Underlying these events, God was fulfilling a promise and a prophecy. 1,500 years before, God promised Abraham, “the one who curses you I will curse” (Genesis 12:3). Several hundred years later, Amalek cursed Israel by going to war with them (Exodus 17:8) resulting in this prophecy: “I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek” (Exodus 17:14). Yet another several centuries passed before Saul failed to accomplish this prophecy, when he disobeyed God’s command: “strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has” (1 Samuel 15:3). Saul disobediently spared the king of Amalek, Agag (1 Samuel 15:9). Haman was possibly a descendant of this Agag (Esther 3:1) and he, like his ancestors, cursed the Jews. After all this time, God continued to make good on His promise from Genesis 12:3 and may have also used this to fulfill the prophecy from Exodus 17:14, blotting out the last of Amalek in Esther 9 when Haman, his sons, and all who sought to do the Jews harm were put to death.
Sin is both a crime and a punishment: “God gave them over” (Romans 1:24, Romans 1:26, Romans 1:28).
As the church, we stand where Israel stood before as God’s people, His representatives. Let us not have this be said of us: “The name of God is blasphemed among [unbelievers] because of you” (Romans 2:24).
As you read, if you come across an interesting connection or observation, please share as a comment!