Showcase: Blessings

  • Be Blessed As A Child In Your Father's Heart by Sylvia Gunter +

    Listen to Galatians 4:6-7. "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit Read More
  • Overcomers Blessing by Sylvia Gunter +

    "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know ... Read More
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Don  CarsonGenesis 30;

Mark 1; Esther 6; Romans 1

WHEN I WAS A CHILD IN SUNDAY SCHOOL, I learned the names of the twelve tribes of Israel by singing a simple chorus: "These are the names of Jacob's sons: Gad and Asher and Simeon, Reuben, Issachar, Levi, Judah, Dan, and Naphtali – Twelve in all, but never a twin – Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin."

But many more years passed before I grasped how important are the twelve tribes in the Bible's storyline. Many of the dynamics of the rest of Genesis turn on their relationships. The organization of the nation of Israel depends on setting aside one tribe, the Levites, as priests. From another son, Judah, springs the Davidic dynasty that leads to the Messiah. Over the centuries, the tribe of Joseph would be divided into Ephraim and Manasseh; in substantial measure, Benjamin would merge with Judah. By the last book in the Bible, Revelation, the twelve tribes of the old covenant constitute the counterpoint to the twelve apostles of the new covenant: this twelve by twelve matrix (i.e., 144, in the symbolism of this apocalyptic literature) embracing in principle the whole people of God.

But what tawdry beginnings they have in Genesis 30. The deceit of Laban in Genesis 29, which resulted in Jacob's marrying both Leah and Rachel, now issues in one of the most unhealthy instances of sibling rivalry in holy Scripture. Each of these women from this family is so eager to outshine the other that she gives her handmaid to her husband rather than allow the other to get ahead in the race to bear children. So self-centered and impetuous are the relationships that another time Rachel is prepared to sell her husband's sex time to her sister Leah for a few mandrakes. Polygamy has taken hold, and with it a mess of distorted relationships.

From these painful and frankly dysfunctional family relationships spring eleven sons and one daughter (the birth of the last son, Benjamin, is reported in chap. 35). Here are the origins of the twelve tribes of Israel, the foundation of the Israelite nation. Their origins are not worse than those of others; they are merely typical. But already it is becoming clear that God does not deal with this family because they are consistently a cut above other families. No, he uses them to keep his covenantal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He graciously perseveres with them to bring about his grand, redemptive purposes. The tawdry family dynamics, the sort of thing that might generate a B-grade movie, cannot possibly prevent the universe's Sovereign from keeping his covenantal vows.
Genesis 30; Mark 1; Esther 6; Romans 1

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Mysterious and Unknown: Our Great God Fernando Ortega +

    Eternal God, unchanging Mysterious and unknown Your boundless love unfailing In grace and mercy shown Bright seraphim in ceaseless flight Read More
  • Our Great God by Fernando Ortega +

    Eternal God, unchangingMysterious, and unknownYour boundless love, unfailingIn grace and mercy shownBright seraphim in endless flightAround Your glorious throneThey raise Read More
  • This is my Father's world by Fernando Ortega +

    This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of Read More
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty by Fernando Ortega +

    Praise to the Lord, the AlmightyThe King of creationO my soul, praise HimFor He is thy health and salvationAll ye Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Holy as God is Holy +

    As Eugene Peterson says, the book of Leviticus shows how God brings everything into his holy presence and transforms it Read More
  • Jeremiah: The Importance of Repentance +

    As Eugene Peterson has noted, Jeremiah is used by God to call the people of Israel to repentance. Read More
  • Balaam: What Happens When You Try To Strong-Arm God +

    In Numbers, the surrounding nations watch as God pours out blessing and good fortune over and over on the Israelites. Read More
  • Born of Water: A sign of our new creation in Christ +

    Baptism is like a wedding vow. Read More
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