The Bible In A Year: Day 11 (January 11th)
The reading for January 11th is Genesis 27-28 and Romans 9:16-33.
To get you up to speed, Abraham has died and been buried with his wife, Sarah. Isaac and Rebekah have had male twins, Jacob and Esau. Esau, the elder, has sold his birthright to Jacob in exchange for some food. The birthright includes God’s promise to Abraham.
In this passage, Jacob steals Esau’s ‘blessing’ from him by fooling a now blind Isaac into bestowing it upon him. The ‘blessing’ was an actual binding legal statement at the time, so Jacob has now stolen both Esau’s birthright and his blessing. As such, he will be the master of Isaac’s tribe, Esau included. Esau is, unsurprisingly, none too pleased about this. Rebekah tells Jacob to run away and tells Isaac that she doesn’t want him to marry a non-Israelite.
1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him and commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman.
Despite the trick Jacob has played on Isaac, Isaac will still bless him.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
Jacob finally stops referring to God as his father’s God (having just had God’s promise re-iterated to him). Also another instance of tithing.
18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?”
If God has already decided who will be saved and who will not, how can He blame those who will not be saved?
20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
Paul answers, somewhat unsatisfactorily, that we are God’s to do with as He will.
22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
Paul, however, goes on to say that God is a merciful God and so we should trust in what he is doing, even if it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to us.