Editor’s Note: We continue our series of blogs for those who are reading the Bible with us cover-to-cover this year. Interspersed with our thoughts on our daily reading, we want to provide some tips about reading the Bible in general. Today we want to focus on how …

Jacob Expands The Family Tree Of Israel

(Genesis 25-49)

In this section, God will change Jacob’s name to Israel. Israel (Jacob) is then the blood father and namesake of the nation that will forever after carry his name. Watch for these items as we pass quickly through on this portion of our trip through the first five books:

·       Jacob swindles Esau’s birthright. (25) The birthright was the legal status of the firstborn son to obtain a double portion of the family inheritance.

·       Jacob’s stealing of Isaac’s blessing. (27) The blessing Isaac gave was his solemn word to his son, albeit to Jacob instead of Esau. This blessing invoked God’s presence and power to work upon those whom they were uttered to.

·       Jacob’s promise to God at Bethel. (28) Jacob promises to follow God fully and give him 10% of all his increase, should God prosper him.

·       Jacob’s progeny from his wives (Leah and Rachel) and his wives’ maids (Bilhah and Zilpah) in the East. (29-30) Although this is a bizarre story by any accounting, Jacob fathers 11 sons while in the East, working for his uncle Laban.

·       Jacob’s wrestling with God at Peniel, and God changing his name forever to Israel. (32) This is a pivot point in the life of Jacob, as he realizes his long-term significance and purpose in God’s plan.

Joseph Provides For The Family In Egypt

(Genesis 30-50)

Joseph is the eleventh child of Jacob’s and the second and last-born to Rachel. Yet, in many ways, he is the most critical. It is this child whom God uses greatly to enlarge and protect the children of Israel (Jacob) during a seven-year famine in the Middle East. Watch for these key points along the way:

·       Joseph has dreams about his future greatness, which are not appreciated by anyone in his family. (37)

·       Joseph is sold into slavery by his own brothers and is transported to Egypt where he becomes a house slave to a high military official. (37, 39)

·       Joseph is sent to prison because he has been falsely accused. While there, he is able to accurately interpret dreams for two of the king of Egypt’s key officials. (40)

·       Joseph is summoned to the King of Egypt (Pharaoh), because of his ability to interpret dreams. (41)

·       Joseph is appointed as the second ruler of Egypt to initiate the plans he has described to Pharaoh in preparation for the seven famine years approaching the Middle East. (41)

·       Joseph’s family settles in the land of Egypt and escapes the famine that has fallen upon the Middle East. (42-47)

·       Joseph’s first two sons are counted as Jacob’s, filling the number of family lines in Jacob (Israel) to twelve, later called the twelve tribes of Israel. (48-49)

It is our hope that this background information helps a bit as you read on in the Bible. We will continue this series with our next installment: “The Differences of Cultures” on Wednesday.

You can obtain more help from the FREE Bible reading schedule on our resource page. In His Image is a daily devotional that also follows our reading schedule and expresses the Biblical truth: “God Created You to Love You.” You can find this resource on the side bar of our website.