Chapter 25--Jacob and Esau were fighting from the day they were concieved. Talk about sybling rivalry. It would be interesting to know more about their childhood but the scripture jumps straight to adulthood and the exchange of the birthright.
Which brings me to my first question...What is the difference between a birthright and a blessing? Esau complains of losing both so they can't be one and the same.
Ch. 26: 19-22--Isaac finds water in several different places and each time it is disputed and he moves on. Isaac knew it wasn't worth fighting over the water because God was going to take care of him and bless him so he let those who claimed the water have it and he continued to search elsewhere. What a great example of conflict resolution! We should know that God is on our side and not worry about fighting a battle that is not ours to fight. God will take care of us as long as we are obedient to him.
Ch. 26: 34-35--Esau marries two Hittite women and verse 35 says "And they were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebecca." This is another place that I am curious about events and more interested in how they as the inlaws handled the grief. But I am certainly not saying something should be added to the scripture. It is what it is because God planned it that way.
Ch. 27-28--Jacob, the deciever, deceives his brother and in turn (Chapter 29) is then deceived by Laban. Also, certainly makes a person think about reaping his own actions.
Ch. 28: 10-22--Jacob's dream at Bethel--Jacob has a dream about a stairway reaching from earth to Heaven and angels going up and down. In the dream, God reaffirms the promise He made to Abraham and Isaac. "I will give you and your descendents the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south."
I think it is interesting that God doesn't just stop with his promise with one generation. He keeps coming back and reminding each person of His promises. He doesn't let them forget that He has great plans for the descendents of Israel.
Another question: What is the symbolic meaning of the stairway and the angels traveling back and forth on the stairway? Surely, this has more meaning than simply being an introductory to God's promise reminder.
Ch. 30--I did not realize that Leah and Rebekah were not the only two women giving birth to Jacob's children. He actually had 2 wives and 2 concubines who were the servants of the wives. Leah had 6 sons; Bilhah (Rachel's servant) had 2 sons; Zilpah (Leah's servant) had 2 sons; and Rebekah had 2 sons. Just one of the many things I didn't know before reading ALL of Genesis.
Ch. 30-31--God blesses Jacob despite Laban's efforts to keep him from being so blessed. I read this as God will bless us in spite of our enemies attempts to keep us down.
Ch. 32--Jacob Wrestles with God--I'm not sure why God wrestles with Jacob. Can anyone shed light on this fact? Again this is an area of symbolism that I know has great meaning but I just don't understand.
Ch. 33--Esau could have harboured a grudge against Jacob and killed him, his flocks, and his family. But instead, Esau welcomed his brother with open arms. He had forgiven his brother and was happy to see him. He had every reason not to forgive him, yet he did.
Ch 34--Dinah--I really don't have any insight into Dinah's story. Again this is where more depth is needed.
Ch. 37--Joseph's dreams--Without Joseph's dreams, his brothers would have never sold him into slavery. If he had never been sold into slavery, then he would not have saved his family from starving during the famine. God was at work early on.
Ch. 38--Judah and Tamar--I seem to recall a sermon long ago about this story but can't remember any of it. This is another story that I would love to have some serious insight. So much time is taken telling the story of Tamar that I am interested to know the purpose.
Ch. 41--Pharoh's dreams--Joseph interpret's not only Pharoh's dreams but also the dreams of the baker and the cup barer. I wonder if we have dreamers today and interpreters of those dreams. Jospeh obviously had a gift from God for interpreting the dreams. Does this gift exist today?
Ch, 42-45--Joseph's brothers go to Egypt--Again we see the example of forgiveness. Joseph tests his brothers to determine their true hearts and in the end, sees they have changed. But, whether they had changed or not, he had already forgiven them. Again when he had every right to hold a grudge, he didn't. He forgave them and welcomed them with open arms. This story reminds me a lot of the prodigal son.
Ch. 49--Jacob blesses his children before he dies-- I came to the conclusion that we too should bless our children before we die.
Ch. 50--Jacob reassures his brothers--Once again we see forgiveness as the theme. Forgiveness is not a one time act. It must be given over and over again.
Well, those are my thoughts. That took a lot longer than I thought to type it all up, so I may be bit more brief with Exodus. If you have thoughts or answers to my questions, feel free to email me!!