When i was in college and engaged to my wife, Lori, we were having Sunday dinner at her apartment. It was Lori, her roommate, another friend (girl) from seminary, and me. I’ll call this friend Karice. So the four of us are all sitting around this little table together just hanging out and talking and the conversation slid idly over to the subject of kids. Karice very excitedly look each of us in the eye and says, “Do you realize, we are all going to be mothers one day!”
As she says this i’m trying very hard not to spit milk out my nose or mouth from laughter. After i finish swallowing i ask her a clarifying question; “So we are all going to be mother’s some day?” In a very serious tone she says, “Yes, we are all going to be mothers some day!” So i give it a few seconds to sink in, “WE are ALL going to be mothers one day.” Karice looks at me like i am talking gibberish, and continues confused yet excitedly, “Of Course we are ALL going to be mothers some day.” Meanwhile Lori and her roommate are both trying very hard not to break out laughing. This goes on for another minute or so as Karice becomes more insistent and the rest of us are trying so hard not to break out laughing. Finally Lori says to lost and confused Karice, “So John is going to be a mother some day too?” It finally sinks in and Karice turns about 3 shades of pink darker as the bewilderment on her face quickly morphs into complete embarrassment, poor girl.
Eight years later and her prophetically spoken statement is 75% accurate. I’m still not a mother, and i think that at this point it is safe to say that i probably never will be. The three ladies in the room are all married with kids, and i am still the only guy in a place full of girls.
Motherhood is blessed. It is not a thing of shame or to be disappointed about. It is not dirty or unclean. It is about faith, hope, and love embodied. To bring new life in the world. To share the joys and sorrows of life, and to pass down who you are to the next generation.
YHWH understands that… He created it. Here in chapter 12 of Leviticus He tells the mother what needs to be done for her purification and return to communion with Him. It is a beautiful promise given after a beautiful process of bringing about life. The very work that YHWH has done and is continuing to do.
Blessed be the name of the LORD!
John J. Camiolo Jr.
This chapter is the beginning of the fruition of of who Jacob has become and is becoming. It is Jacob in the process of not only seeing the fruit of deception, but becoming the target and recipient of it. He must learn to accept the consequences and purposes that are out of his control. He must also work hard to achieve what his father had been freely given. This is the time when Jacob has to make a choice, do i rise to the challenge and be a man, or do i try to force my will on another person requiring that they give me what i feel like (and rightfully do) deserve, acting like a spoiled child?
This is a struggle that every person must face, especially every man. Jacob is trying to prove himself. He is trying to work and overcome. In this and the following chapters he is trying to be a man. He is answering the questions: Who am i? What gives me value? Where is my purpose? Like most every man, he is seeking to understand his role and his purpose. As such, he is wrestling with expectations placed on himself, and what he can and does achieve.
Leah is going through the same struggle in this chapter. She sees her value coming from her relationship with other people. So she wrestles with that. The fact that she is given to this man who does not love her in trickery. The fact that even in her role within that marriage she still cannot find true acceptance. She does what every woman of her world does, she pursues childbearing as a large part of who she is. She even succeeds in having son after son, but she still does not gain the acceptance and approval that she seeks. Finally, after wrestling and wrestling and wrestling, she finally finds her love and acceptance in God. She recognizes that He is her source of love and acceptance. As a result, her final son she names Judah, meaning “praise”. Praise to the LORD for His blessing and love.
How do we respond in the face of struggle and trial? Do we face it like a man (woman), or do we throw a fit and attempt to make everyone else bow to our will through force, control, or manipulation? Understand as Leah did, that our love and value can only come from one source. If we wrestle with and seek fulfillment of those desires through anything else, we will eventually be let down. It will never be enough. It is only by wrestling and finding our love and purpose in the LORD, in YHWH that we can finally praise.
A Masterpiece in Progress
I was tempted to title this chapter “Loose Ends” due to the beginning of the chapter being dedicated to tying up the loose ends of Abraham’s life. He got married a third time, and had six more children. He ended up sending them away to the east with gifts and giving all that he had to Isaac before dying and being buried. As i was going through though, the realization came to me that these children weren’t just loose ends. They were as much children of Abraham as Isaac and Ishmael. So while the Bible doesn’t focus on them as much, they had just as much of God’s blessing as Ishmael. They were still blessed. They would still become great nations, but their lives simply don’t continue through the story as the others do. They are not key characters, but neither are they simply loose ends. They are still the children of Abraham.
The best i could come up with is “Chosen Path”. This chapter is about multiple paths. It is about the options and opportunities taken and lost. No one in this chapter is insignificant in and of themselves. God simply chose His route. There were multiple paths and roads to choose from, but of Abraham’s eight children God chose Isaac, then Jacob of Isaac’s two. Esau squandered his opportunity, …for a bowl of stew and a slice of bread. Ultimately though, it’s about God’s choice. It’s not that the others were of less value or worth, they were just not chosen.
How about us? Do we disregard someone because they have come from a different path? Do we recognize that all people are God’s children, or do we get so caught up in the fact that they come from a different path that we automatically reject or push them away? What is more important to God, that they came from a different (wrong?) path, or that they find the Chosen One?