Author: Michael Bogart

The Genesis Challenge: Chapter 36, Esau’s lack of faith

Contrast: Jacob’s faith and Esau’s lack of faith Genesis 36 provides a contrast between the descendants of Israel (Jacob) and the descendants of Esau. On the surface, Genesis seems to show Jacob’s faith and Esau’s lack of faith.  It would be easy to say that Jacob’s descendants were people of faith and Esau’s were ungodly, but this contrast is too simple. Jacob’s own sons were often far from being godly (remember chapter 34) and there may have been some God-fearers among Esau’s descendants, who were after all, of the line of Abraham and Isaac as well. For instance, among...

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The Genesis Challenge: chapters 39-41, Joseph’s maturing faith

Joseph’s maturing faith In chapters 39-41, we can catch a glimpse of Joseph’s maturing faith. Throughout the rest of Genesis, God’s blessing on the life of Joseph will become clear. God blesses Joseph even when he sold as a slave by his jealous brothers. The blessing continues even when he is framed for attempted rape and thrown in prison. He is blessed even when a fellow prisoner whom he helps and is released forgets his promise to plead Joseph’s case. Consider these issues as you read these pivotal chapters: How did Joseph respond to the temptation of Potiphar’s wife...

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The Genesis Challenge: Chapters 33-35, Jacob Faces his Past

Jacob faces his past At some point we must each face our past.  Just as many of us have had to do, Jacob faces his past in Genesis 33-35. We may experience redemption and begin a new kind of life through faith in Christ, but even so, the seeds we have sown in the past will often bear fruit for good or ill. In this section, Jacob had to face his track record of grasping, deception, and self-will. Why did Jacob divide his family into groups in 33:1ff? In what way was Esau’s response to Jacob better than anticipated?...

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The Genesis Challenge: Chapter 32, Jacob Learns to Trust

Jacob learns to trust God It is hard to tell at what point in his life Jacob learns to trust God deeply.  Some would point to Genesis 32 as that point of faith. As many people are aware, a surface faith in God is very different from a deep, personal, deliberate act of faith. It would seem that this deeper, more deliberate type of faith is what occurs in Jacob’s life at this point. What was Jacob trying to accomplish by sending messengers ahead to meet Esau in 32:2ff? Who was “the man” that Jacob wrestled with in 32:24?...

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The Genesis Challenge: Chapters 30-31, Jacob’s Family Troubles

Jacob’s Family Troubles Jacob’s family troubles often remind people of some kinds of complicated family life in the twenty-first century.   This section actually begins with 29:31, where Jacob ends up married to two women (sisters) and involved with two others. There is tension between the women, and between in-laws. Laban, the father-in-law, attempts to financially take advantage of Jacob, the son-in-law, but is out-maneuvered.   As you read, keep these thoughts in mind: Why was Rachel so frantic to have children? How is her attitude toward child bearing different from many women today? What significance did the names of each...

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