• The Edge of Death Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2007

    All of us who are adults have had the temptation to pat a child on the head and say something appropriate. When Jacob had spent seventeen years in Egypt with his family and the time of his death drew near (Gen. 47:29), he made his son, Joseph, swear to him that he would ensure that he would not be buried in Egypt, but in his own burial plot back home in Canaan — a piece of land bought by Abraham (50:13). Then, as news of his death came to Joseph, he took his two sons, Ephraim and … View Resource

  • Everything Is Against Me! Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2007

    It is Jacob’s lowest point. As far as he knows, Joseph is dead. That’s the story his sons have led him to believe, showing him the blood-stained “coat of many colors” (Gen. 37:31–33). He mourned his son’s death and “refused to be comforted” despite the hypocritical attempts of his sons who knew full well that Joseph was alive somewhere.  Many years have now passed. Joseph has spent two years in prison, been installed as second-in-command to the pharaoh, and enjoyed seven years of abundant harvest. Now the predicted seven years of famine have begun (something that Joseph had … View Resource

  • A Mother in Israel Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2007

    Jacob, the wily one, after ten or fifteen years, finally returns to Bethel. God has been at work in his life, drawing the wayward patriarch to himself. It has been a difficult journey. It invariably is so when our wills are set at variance against the Lord’s. From the perspective of hindsight, Jacob could now speak to his family of a God “who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone” (Gen. 35:3). Jacob had been sheltered within the orbit of God’s covenant faithfulness. Despite half-hearted commitment and questionable decisions … View Resource

  • A Face-to-Face Encounter Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2007 | Genesis 35

    At its core, sin stems from failing to worship (or love) God exclusively and failing to love our neighbors as ourselves. Clearly Jacob and his family are guilty of both. After God calls on Jacob to fulfill his vow at Bethel (Gen. 35:1), Jacob wisely commands his entire entourage to “put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments” (v. 2). Removing any and all hindrances from the exclusive worship and allegiance to the one, true God of Israel is absolutely essential to keeping the covenant, even though it wasn’t until much … View Resource

  • Growing Up and Growing Down Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2007 | Genesis 33

    Grow up!” Some of us can recall with a measure of embarrassment being told these words following an incident in which we displayed less than mature behavior. Jacob is growing up, and it has been a long and painful process. In order for him to grow upwards, he must in fact grow downwards in his estimation of himself. Humility has never been a characteristic of Jacob! Genesis 33 recounts the much-anticipated reunion of Jacob and Esau after twenty years. Moses has carefully told the story in such a way as to create a sense of anticipation: Jacob is … View Resource

  • The Prodigal Brother Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2007

    It had been twenty years since Jacob had deceived his father and received the blessing Isaac had intended to give Esau. It had been twenty years since Jacob fled for his life from a furious brother intent on killing him (Gen. 27:41). Now, as he is about to return to the land of his fathers, Jacob is fearful of the reprisals his brother might have in store for him. Esau has had twenty years to let bitterness fester and hatred grow in his heart. Jacob knows this. He has not forgotten, so he sends messengers ahead to gain information … View Resource

  • The Real Danger Article by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2007

    The Gospel makes us see…our real danger. These are the problems — not the Esaus we put up. These are the problems — my relationship to God, my relationship to myself, yes, and my real danger. Now to Jacob of course the danger was this, that Esau might rob him of a certain amount of his goods, or that Esau might kill his wives and children, or indeed that Esau might go so far as to take the life of Jacob — that to Jacob was the danger. As we look and watch him as he paces backwards … View Resource

  • God Remembers Article by Greg Barolet

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2007 | Genesis 30

    God is sovereign, man is not, and sin distorts our understanding of this truth. God always keeps His promises to His people despite our shortcomings, as we see in Genesis 30. God blessed Jacob even though he was a cad. Laban was even blessed by God because He associated with Jacob in the business dealings (more like wheeling and dealing, actually). This is a very busy chapter, filled with lots of negotiations, re-negotiations; promises and breaking of promises, colored sheep, spotted sheep, goats and lambs — not to mention Jacob rushing ahead of God’s timing by having children with many … View Resource

  • Snakes and Ladders Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2007 | Genesis 28

    Poor Jacob! You have to feel sorry for him even though he’s a most disagreeable character! A “self-willed mother’s boy,” with opportunistic instincts that enabled him to outsmart friends and foes alike in a ruthless bid at getting his own way, Jacob emerges in Genesis as the less likeable of Isaac’s twin boys. And yet, he is the one God chooses to bless! Jacob has fled for his life because his twin brother Esau is as mad as a hornet with him for his duplicity in stealing Esau’s birthright through trickery. Esau has vowed, once their father is dead … View Resource

  • Wily Jacob Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2007

    Sell me your birthright now,” Jacob demanded of his twin brother, Esau (Gen. 25:31). Thus begins the sorry tale of Abraham’s grandson. From the start, Jacob challenges us to dislike him: a self-willed, pampered child with ruthless skills in getting his own way.  Though the youngest of the twins, the birthright (rights to inherit) should have been Esau’s - a far more attractive personality all round. But God has other ideas, promising to his mother, Rebekah, that the birthright would be given to Jacob (Gen. 25:23). This was a recipe for trouble, designed to show that … View Resource