S3E4: Family Dynamics (Feb. 20)
People of Promise /:4:/ The Patriarchs (Part 2): Jacob's Story.
Remember, all the preview material below is optional. Just show up!
Scripture Covered: Genesis 31-38
Themes: The life of Jacob (son of Isaac and brother of Esau) who's name is changed to Israel and who's twelve sons ultimately become the Twelve Tribes of Israel... and the focal point of a lot of drama and terrible behavior!
Key Question(s): Why are the Patriarchs so revered when they seem to be a bunch of scheisters? Are they really supposed to be an example to us?
As we get to know Abraham we observe a pattern of his life that models our own (if we're honest with ourselves)— that is, sometimes it seems easy to believe in God's promise, walk in God's love, and follow God's will. But other times we take issue with God's commands or grow impatient with (or doubtful of) God's promises, and want to take matters into our own hands. And when the consequences of our own decisions come, it's tempting to blame someone else, or even to blame God for our circumstances, rather than to take responsibility for our own actions.
Like us (and at the same time, totally the opposite of us), God demonstrates a consistent pattern for His work in the world, which begins in Genesis and continues throughout human history: God consistently works through and for people of low status who are weak or marginalized.
God does not make the firstborn sons the instruments of His promise, but rather the unexpected children: God chooses Abel over Cain, Isaac over Ishmael, and in our study this week, Jacob over Esau. And when God's choices run afoul with our sense of entitlement, fairness or justice, we often act out, which is when God's behavior really shines: God doesn't take sides, but instead moves towards those who are rejected or oppressed. For example, having selected Isaac over Ishmael, God still blesses Hagar (Ishmael's mother) and Ishmael— all in keeping with God's unconditional promise to the world upon which all truth rests: Genesis 12:3.
This week's gathering will focus on Jacob, son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham. Hold on for some serious drama, including bigamy, deception, cheating, and more! All the while, God remains faithful to His promise (2 Timothy 2:13).
As a recap of where we've come so far, and where we're going in the remainder of our study of Genesis, check out this video from our ministry partners at The Bible Project:
Check back after our gathering for a short review and downloadable materials.