Genesis 36, Psalm 16, Matthew 6:25-34, Acts 9:20-43 Genesis 36: Not the most inspiring list of names, or natural place to go, for a piece of devotional literature! It gives us an opportunity, though, to remind ourselves of some hermeneutical (=right approach to interpreting the Bible) tools. When we come across a passage in Scripture, we ask ourselves…

Read More

Genesis 34-35, Psalm 15, Matthew 6:16-24, Acts 9:1-19 Genesis 34-35: At this point in the unfolding story of Genesis, it is well to take stock and remember what the arc of the narrative is and how it connects to some of the rather disturbing elements of these and surrounding chapters. In the beginning, we remember, God created everything…

Read More

Genesis 32-33, Psalm 14, Matthew 6:1-15, Acts 8:26-40 Genesis 32-33: In the middle of this story of the apparent reconciliation between Jacob and Esau, there is the well-known mysterious account of Jacob’s wrestling with God (32:22-32). He is wounded by that wrestling (32:25, 31) and is told that because he has wrestled both with God and with men…

Read More

Genesis 31, Psalm 13, Matthew 5:33-46, Acts 8:1-25 Genesis 31:  If things could not get any stranger in Jacob’s wandering dealings with his family and relatives, they are nonetheless getting to the point where Jacob is finding his way back to Canaan (31:3). Jacob notices (“quelle surprise,” what a surprise!) that Laban no longer regards him in the…

Read More

Genesis 29-30, Psalm 12, Matthew 5:21-32, Acts 7:39-60 Genesis 29-30: So Jacob runs away from the wrath of his brother Esau to his mother’s brother, Laban (29:1-14). The deceiver (Jacob), however, is about to get some of his own medicine as he is deceived by Laban (29:15-30). In familiar form, to those who have read the story of…

Read More

Genesis 27-28, Psalm 11, Matthew 5:13-20, Acts 7:1-38 Genesis 27-28: Jacob, the deceiver, well-named, now deceives Isaac at the prompting and urging of his mother (27:1-29). Is this a mother playing favorites? Or is it a mother trying to ensure that what God had promised regarding Jacob as the seed-bearer for the promise of God would actually come…

Read More

Genesis 25-26, Psalm 10, Matthew 5:1-12, Acts 6  Genesis 25-26: The chapter in Abraham’s earthly sojourn has come to an end (25:7-11). Beforehand, he married again, and was careful to ensure that Isaac, the seed of the promise of God, was protected against rivalries from other children by his later marriage (25:1-6).  Next we come to the story…

Read More

Genesis 24, Psalm 9, Matthew 4:18-25, Acts 5:17-42 Genesis 24: A beautiful story, but what are we to learn from it? Abraham makes his servant promise to find a wife for his son from a member of his own tribe and clan (24:1-9). Immediately, we sense the significance with which Abraham attaches to keeping the promises of God…

Read More

Genesis 21-23, Psalm 8, Matthew 4:12-17, Acts 5:1-16 Genesis 21-23:  Finally, Isaac comes, and his name meaning laughter is apparent in the laughter that was given to Sarah at his birth, having borne Abraham a son in their old age (21:1-7). The son of Hagar (Abraham’s concubine) also later laughs, mocking Isaac (21:9). This is salt to Sarah’s…

Read More

Genesis 18-20; Psalm 7; Matthew 4:1-11; Acts 4:23-37 Genesis 18-20:  Mystery and tragedy—so much about these chapters is wreathed with profundity that is hard to penetrate, and at the same time is filled with tragic elements of divine judgment. Who are these “three men” who come to see Abraham (18:1-8)? We later learn that only two of them…

Read More