As i was working on the first part of chapter 31 this morning i began to realize just how parallel the concept of this chapter was to the process of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Let’s compare them:
- The people of Israel started out as friends / allies to the Egyptians.
- God blessed Israel and they multiplied greatly.
- What started as friendship / allies turned to animosity.
- The Israelites were treated as slaves by the Egyptians.
- God spoke to Moses telling him to bring the people out of Egypt.
- They left Egypt to return to the promised land (Canaan).
- When they left Egypt, they were chased off by the Egyptians who wanted them back or dead.
- Before they left Egypt they found favor in the sight of the Egyptian people and were given all kinds of treasures, thus ransacking the Egyptians.
- Israel stopped at Mt. Sinai to meet with God.
Exodus from Laban:
- Jacob started out as friends / family to Laban.
- God blessed Jacob and he multiplied greatly with wives and children and blessings.
- What started as friendship turned to animosity.
- Jacob was treated as a servant by Laban with many years of hard work and no pay.
- God spoke to Jacob telling him to bring his family out of that land.
- They left Laban to return to Jacob’s home land (Canaan).
- When they left, they were chased down by Laban who wanted them back or possibly to do Jacob harm.
- Before they left, Jacob found favor in the sight of Laban and was paid for his work by getting some of the sheep and goats. God blessed him and he gained all kinds of wealth and treasure thus ransacking Laban.
- As we will see in Chapter 32 God will meet with Jacob on his way back to the land of Canaan.
Obviously, there are some major differences between the history of Jacob (to later be named Israel) and Laban, and that of Israel’s (the nation) exodus from Egypt to Canaan. However, this is the first time i have noticed the similarities, and i find them to be quite coincidental. Of course if you don’t know by now, you will hear it again and again. I don’t believe in coincidence.
So how about you? Have you ever noticed these parallels?
Proof that i do make mistakes.
Take 2: The second time’s a charm (or more of a charm) in this case. I actually pulled out the page that my first version of Chapter 22 was on and just redid the entire page. Here’s a picture of the first version.
A very long time ago i stopped believing in coincidences. I kept seeing God’s hand at work in what seemed to be insignificant and random situations. I began to understand and see God’s work and has His hands even in the little things. Sometimes i would start to see the connections right away, other times it would be a while before it started to become clear. Other times i never saw any connection at all. As a result, i try to make it a point to keep an eye out for those kinds of situations.
So i have been trying to find the connection between the event (my messing up that chapter), the missing verses (7-8), and the content of the chapter. So far i haven’t made any connections. I find it interesting that the two verses that are missing are the dialogue between Abraham and Isaac about where the sacrifice is, and that Abraham tells him that God will provide (has provided?) it. It almost seems like the missing page is like the missing sacrifice… only they don’t really connect beyond that statement. I know, i’m pulling at straws here… but then sometimes when you pull at straws, you end up finding a horse that you would not have found if you had just let the straw go.
In this chapter, Abraham takes a risk. It’s not really a risk… at least not the kind he thinks, but it sure must seem that to him. On the one hand, he loves his son very much. This is the son that he has been wanting and waiting for for possibly over a hundred years. This is his promised son. Yet God, the LORD, YHWH turns around and tells him that he must give up / sacrifice his son. This is the same God who had promised and provided him with this son. This is the LORD that gave him this joy in his old age. This is the same YHWH who now asks him to do the impossible. So what does he do? He obeys.
What seems to Abraham to be a loss is, because of his obedience, an amazing blessing in disguise. God sees / helps Abraham to see that he loves and worships nothing more than YHWH. As a result, what could have been lost, became a symbol of love. So what does that mean for us? Do we have something that we are risking putting between us and God? Is there something that we make more important to us (lord over us) than the LORD Himself? That could be a relationship, a job, a self-centered attitude, a grudge / unforgiveness, a theology (belief about God), or something else entirely. God may be asking you or i to give that thing up on the alter to Him. Are you, am i willing to do what God calls us to? What could happen if we do? What will happen if we don’t?