Jacob and Esau (January 21, 2021)

When the young men grew up, Esau became an outdoorsman who knew how to hunt, and Jacob became a quiet man who stayed at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Once when Jacob was boiling stew, Esau came in from the field hungry and said to Jacob, “I’m starving! Let me devour some of this red stuff.” That’s why his name is Edom.

Jacob and Esau (January 21, 2021)

Genesis 25:19–26:35, CEB

These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham became the father of Isaac. Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean and the sister of Laban the Aramean, from Paddan-aram. Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, since she was unable to have children. The Lord was moved by his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. But the boys pushed against each other inside of her, and she said, “If this is what it’s like, why did it happen to me?”

So she went to ask the Lord. And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb;

two different peoples will emerge

from your body.

One people will be stronger

than the other;

the older will serve the younger.”

When she reached the end of her pregnancy, she discovered that she had twins. The first came out red all over, clothed with hair, and she named him Esau. Immediately afterward, his brother came out gripping Esau’s heel, and she named him Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when they were born.

When the young men grew up, Esau became an outdoorsman who knew how to hunt, and Jacob became a quiet man who stayed at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Once when Jacob was boiling stew, Esau came in from the field hungry and said to Jacob, “I’m starving! Let me devour some of this red stuff.” That’s why his name is Edom.

Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright today.”

Esau said, “Since I’m going to die anyway, what good is my birthright to me?”

Jacob said, “Give me your word today.” And he did. He sold his birthright to Jacob. So Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew. He ate, drank, got up, and left, showing just how little he thought of his birthright.

When a famine gripped the land, a different one from the first famine that occurred in Abraham’s time, Isaac set out toward Gerar and toward King Abimelech of the Philistines. The Lord appeared to him and said, “Don’t go down to Egypt but settle temporarily in the land that I will show you. Stay in this land as an immigrant, and I will be with you and bless you because I will give all of these lands to you and your descendants. I will keep my word, which I gave to your father Abraham. I will give you as many descendants as the stars in the sky, and I will give your descendants all of these lands. All of the nations of the earth will be blessed because of your descendants. I will do this because Abraham obeyed me and kept my orders, my commandments, my statutes, and my instructions.”

So Isaac lived in Gerar. When the men who lived there asked about his wife, he said, “She’s my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, The men who live there will kill me for Rebekah because she’s very beautiful. After Isaac had lived there for some time, the Philistine’s King Abimelech looked out his window and saw Isaac laughing together with his wife Rebekah.

So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, “She’s your wife, isn’t she? How could you say, ‘She’s my sister’?”

Isaac responded, “Because I thought that I might be killed because of her.”

Abimelech said, “What are you trying to do to us? Before long, one of the people would have slept with your wife; and you would have made us guilty.” Abimelech gave orders to all of the people, “Anyone who touches this man or his wife will be put to death!”

Isaac planted grain in that land and reaped one hundred shearim that year because the Lord had blessed him. Isaac grew richer and richer until he was extremely wealthy. He had livestock, both flocks and cattle, and many servants. As a result, the Philistines envied him. The Philistines closed up and filled with dirt all of the wells that his father’s servants had dug during his father Abraham’s lifetime. Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us because you have become too powerful among us.”

So Isaac moved away from there, camped in the valley of Gerar, and lived there. Isaac dug out again the wells that were dug during the lifetime of his father Abraham. The Philistines had closed them up after Abraham’s death. Isaac gave them the same names his father had given them. Isaac’s servants dug wells in the valley and found a well there with fresh water. Isaac’s shepherds argued with Gerar’s shepherds, each claiming, “This is our water.” So Isaac named the well Esek because they quarreled with him. They dug another well and argued about it too, so he named it Sitnah.He left there and dug another well, but they didn’t argue about it, so he named it Rehoboth and said, “Now the Lord has made an open space for us and has made us fertile in the land.”

Then he went up from Gerar to Beer-sheba. The Lord appeared to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Don’t be afraid because I am with you. I will bless you, and I will give you many children for my servant Abraham’s sake.” So Isaac built an altar there and worshipped in the Lord’s name. Isaac pitched his tent there, and his servants dug a well.

But Abimelech set out toward him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his ally and Phicol the commander of his forces. Isaac said to him, “Why have you come after me? You resented me and sent me away from you.”

They said, “We now see that the Lord was with you. We propose that there be a formal agreement between us and that we draw up a treaty with you: you must not treat us badly since we haven’t harmed you and since we have treated you well at all times. Then we will send you away peacefully, for you are now blessed by the Lord.” Isaac prepared a banquet for them, and they ate and drank. They got up early in the morning, and they gave each other their word. Isaac sent them off, and they left peacefully.

That day Isaac’s servants informed him about the well that they had been digging and said to him, “We found water.” He called it Shibah; therefore, the city’s name has been Beer-sheba until today.

When Esau was 40 years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They made life very difficult for Isaac and Rebekah.

Job 9:1–35, MEV

Then Job answered:

“Truly, I know it is so,

but how can a man be righteous with God?

If one would dispute with Him,

he cannot answer Him once in a thousand times.

He is wise in heart and mighty in strength.

Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?

He who removes mountains, and they know not,

who overturns them in His anger.

He who shakes the earth out of its place,

and its pillars tremble.

He who commands the sun, and it does not rise;

he seals off the stars.

He who alone spreads out the heavens,

and treads on the waves of the sea.

He who makes the Bear, Orion, and Pleiades,

and the constellations of the south.

He who does great things, beyond discovery,

yes, and wonders beyond number.

Yes, He would cross before me, and I would not see Him;

He would pass on by, but I would not perceive Him.

Yes, He takes away; who can hinder Him?

Who will say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’

God will not withdraw His anger.

The proud helpers bow down beneath Him.

“How, then, can I myself answer Him,

and choose my words to reason with Him?

Even if I were righteous I could not answer;

I would plead to my Judge for favor.

If I called, and He answered me,

I would not believe that He had listened to my voice.

For He crushes me with a storm

and multiplies my wounds without cause.

He will not allow me to get my breath,

but fills me with bitterness.

If it is a matter of strength, indeed, He is strong;

and if of justice, who will set me a time to plead?

Though I were righteous, my own mouth would condemn me;

though I were perfect, it would prove me perverse.

“Though I were perfect,

I would not know myself;

I would despise my life.

It is all one thing; therefore I said,

‘He destroys both the perfect and the wicked.’

If the whip kills suddenly,

He will laugh at the trial of the innocent.

The earth is given into the hand of the wicked.

He covers the faces of its judges.

If it is not He, then who is it?

“Now my days are swifter than a runner;

they flee away; they see no good.

They pass by like reed skiffs,

like an eagle rushing upon its prey.

If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint;

I will leave off my sad face and brighten up,’

I am afraid of all my sorrows;

I know that You will not hold me innocent.

If I am guilty,

why then do I labor in vain?

If I wash myself with snow water

and cleanse my hands with soap,

yet You will plunge me into the pit,

and my own clothes will abhor me.

“For He is not a man as I am, that I should answer Him,

and we should come together in judgment.

Nor is there a mediator between us,

who may lay his hand upon us both.

Let Him take His rod away from me,

and let not dread of Him terrify me.

Then I would speak and not fear Him,

but it is not so with me.

Isaiah 12–13, NLT

In that day you will sing:

“I will praise you, O Lord!

You were angry with me, but not any more.

Now you comfort me.

See, God has come to save me.

I will trust in him and not be afraid.

The Lord God is my strength and my song;

he has given me victory.”

With joy you will drink deeply

from the fountain of salvation!

In that wonderful day you will sing:

“Thank the Lord! Praise his name!

Tell the nations what he has done.

Let them know how mighty he is!

Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things.

Make known his praise around the world.

Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy!

For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.”

Isaiah son of Amoz received this message concerning the destruction of Babylon:

“Raise a signal flag on a bare hilltop.

Call up an army against Babylon.

Wave your hand to encourage them

as they march into the palaces of the high and mighty.

I, the Lord, have dedicated these soldiers for this task.

Yes, I have called mighty warriors to express my anger,

and they will rejoice when I am exalted.”

Hear the noise on the mountains!

Listen, as the vast armies march!

It is the noise and shouting of many nations.

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has called this army together.

They come from distant countries,

from beyond the farthest horizons.

They are the Lord’s weapons to carry out his anger.

With them he will destroy the whole land.

Scream in terror, for the day of the Lord has arrived—

the time for the Almighty to destroy.

Every arm is paralyzed with fear.

Every heart melts,

and people are terrified.

Pangs of anguish grip them,

like those of a woman in labor.

They look helplessly at one another,

their faces aflame with fear.

For see, the day of the Lord is coming—

the terrible day of his fury and fierce anger.

The land will be made desolate,

and all the sinners destroyed with it.

The heavens will be black above them;

the stars will give no light.

The sun will be dark when it rises,

and the moon will provide no light.

“I, the Lord, will punish the world for its evil

and the wicked for their sin.

I will crush the arrogance of the proud

and humble the pride of the mighty.

I will make people scarcer than gold—

more rare than the fine gold of Ophir.

For I will shake the heavens.

The earth will move from its place

when the Lord of Heaven’s Armies displays his wrath

in the day of his fierce anger.”

Everyone in Babylon will run about like a hunted gazelle,

like sheep without a shepherd.

They will try to find their own people

and flee to their own land.

Anyone who is captured will be cut down—

run through with a sword.

Their little children will be dashed to death before their eyes.

Their homes will be sacked, and their wives will be raped.

“Look, I will stir up the Medes against Babylon.

They cannot be tempted by silver

or bribed with gold.

The attacking armies will shoot down the young men with arrows.

They will have no mercy on helpless babies

and will show no compassion for children.”

Babylon, the most glorious of kingdoms,

the flower of Chaldean pride,

will be devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah

when God destroyed them.

Babylon will never be inhabited again.

It will remain empty for generation after generation.

Nomads will refuse to camp there,

and shepherds will not bed down their sheep.

Desert animals will move into the ruined city,

and the houses will be haunted by howling creatures.

Owls will live among the ruins,

and wild goats will go there to dance.

Hyenas will howl in its fortresses,

and jackals will make dens in its luxurious palaces.

Babylon’s days are numbered;

its time of destruction will soon arrive.

Matthew 8:5–27, The Bible for Everyone: A New Translation

Jesus went into Capernaum. A centurion came up and pleaded with him.

‘Master,’ he said, ‘my servant is lying at home, paralysed. He’s in a very bad state.’

‘I’ll come and make him better,’ said Jesus.

‘Master,’ replied the centurion, ‘I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof! Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. I know what authority’s all about, you know—I’ve got soldiers answering to me, and I can say to one of them, “Go!” and he goes, and to another one, “Come here!” and he comes, and I can say, “Do this,” to my slave, and he does it!’

Jesus was fair amazed when he heard this.

‘I’m telling you the truth,’ he said to the people who were following. ‘I haven’t found faith like this—not even in Israel! Let me tell you this: lots of people will come from East and West and join the great party of celebration with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom will be thrown into outer darkness, where people will weep and gnash their teeth.’

Then he turned to the centurion.

‘Go home,’ he said. ‘Let it be for you as you believed.’

And his servant was healed at that very moment.

Jesus went into Peter’s house. There he saw Peter’s mother-in-law laid low with a fever. He touched her hand. The fever left her, and she got up and waited on him.

When evening came, they brought to him many people who were possessed by demons. He cast out the spirits with a word of command, and healed everyone who was sick. This happened so that the word spoken by Isaiah the prophet might come true:

He himself took our weaknesses

and bore our diseases.

When Jesus saw the crowd all around him, he told them to go across to the other side of the lake. A scribe came up and spoke to him.

‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘I will follow you wherever you go!’

Foxes have their dens,’ replied Jesus, ‘and the birds in the sky have their nests. But the son of man has nowhere he can lay his head.’

‘Master,’ said another of his disciples, ‘let me first go and see to my father’s funeral.’

‘Follow me!’ replied Jesus. ‘And leave the dead to bury their own dead.’

So Jesus got into the boat, and his disciples followed him. All of a sudden a great storm blew up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. Jesus, however, was asleep. They came and woke him up.

‘Help! Master! Rescue us!’ they shouted. ‘We’re done for!’

‘Why are you so scared, you little-faith lot?’ he replied.

Then he got up and told the wind and the sea to behave themselves, and there was a great calm. They were all astonished.

‘What sort of man is this,’ they said, ‘that the winds and the sea do what he says?’

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