Read: Genesis 28
Genesis 28 continues the narrative from chapter 27 with the immediate consequences of Jacob’s deceitful behavior over his father, Isaac. Because Esau threatened to kill Jacob, Rebekah sends him to his uncle, Laban, forcing him to leave his land and become an exile in another country. The theme of exile and restoration will dominate the Pentateuch for many chapters and into the historical books of the Old Testament. That theme is one that God’s people continue today. We are pilgrims and sojourners in this world as we await a better country, the New Heavens, and the New Earth.
As Jacob travels to his uncle’s land, he sleeps and dreams. In this dream, he saw a ladder (commonly referred to as “Jacob’s ladder) on which angels were ascending and descending. The imagery is that of Christ, who will unite heaven and earth again, restoring it to its rightful place as it was before the fall into sin. There God renews the covenant promise he made with Abraham and Isaac. The promise of God has not been forgotten, even in the face of difficulty and exile. We are comforted by the fact that God has not forgotten us in our exile. Come what may, the Lord will restore what has been ruined by sin and bring his people to their home.
Read: Matthew 27
Matthew 27 is the account of the death of Christ through the cruel Roman method of crucifixion. The chapter opens with Jesus before Pilate, who found no fault in him. Yet, due to his weakness, he trades a criminal for Jesus and delivers him to be crucified.
We know that this was necessary for God to forgive our sins. The Son of Man needed to be crucified – without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sins. It had to be the perfect blood of the perfect Lamb. What we see in this chapter is similar to what we observed in Gen. 27. Though Rebekah acted deceitfully and Pilate and other men misbehaved, the will of God was accomplished. Only a God who is absolutely sovereign can bring his purposes from the wicked acts of men.
That thought should comfort us in the world we live in today. So many things are wrong and happening all around. Yet, God is sovereign. He is using all of those evil things to accomplish his purposes in the lives of his people.
Read: Genesis 27
There are two occasions in Scripture when a man blesses his sons at the end of his life. In both of them, Jacob is at the center. The account of Genesis 27 is that of Isaac blessing his sons before he dies. His health is failing, and his eyes dim. Isaac intended to bless Esau as the oldest, but Rebekah tricked her husband resulting in the blessing being placed on Jacob. That singular act strengthens the words of 25:23.
Scripture never condemns or condones the actions of Rebekah. All it does is state the events as they occurred. We learn through this chapter that God can sovereignly bring all things to pass even if his creatures act sinfully.
The response from Esau after Jacob stole his blessing is predictable, and Rebekah sends Jacob to Laban – into exile. That theme will be prominent throughout the Pentateuch.
Read: Matthew 26
Matthew 26 is one of the longest chapters in the gospel record. Contained within are the following items, all leading to the Savior’s death, burial, and resurrection.
First, The plot to kill Jesus reaches a fever pitch from within the ranks of the religious leaders (26:1-5).
Second, Jesus is anointed at Bethany, demonstrating that Jesus would be buried in just a few short days.
Third, one of the twelve disciples, Judas, conspires to betray Jesus. Betrayal is a painful thing, and it was so for Christ. Although the Scripture needed to be fulfilled, it was still hard to endure. Many of us have had that happen by people we thought were friends. It happened to Jesus. It will happen to us as well.
Fourth, The Passover and the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The connection between the two should not be overlooked. Just as the institution of the Passover in Ex. 12 signified the redeeming work of God in delivering his people from Egypt, the Lord’s Supper is a sign of the redeeming work of the Passover Lamb who frees his people from sin. The Passover foreshadowed the Lord’s Supper and was reduced to simpler elements reminding us of what was required to be rescued from sin.
Fifth, Jesus prophesies regarding the denial of Peter. That serves as a warning to us. Regardless of our zeal for the gospel and the Lord Jesus, if we are not careful, we, like Peter, can also succumb to a denial of Christ. We must always be on guard for the efforts of the Evil One. Sometimes we are like Peter by living lives that deny our union and communion with Christ. We must always be on guard. Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation.
Sixth, Jesus takes the time to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. That reminds us all to be people of prayer, especially when facing difficult decisions and circumstances. It also helps to demonstrate the entrance of the Great High Priest thematically into the Most Holy Place to commune with his Father in heaven.
Seventh, the betrayal of Judas comes full circle. What he determined in his heart to do, he does wickedly with a sign of affection. The duplicity of Judas is something we are all prone to exercise if we are not careful. Seventh, the trial before the Sanhedrin convicting Jesus of crimes he never committed. The trial violated Jewish law and was a “kangaroo court.” It was the proverbial hammer in search of a nail. The outcome was established long before any testimony was offered. Finally, the chapter closes with Peter’s denial of Christ and the subsequent remorse he endured. That serves as a lesson to all of us in that when we sin and functionally deny knowing Christ, we should grieve that sin and turn from it to him, who will graciously forgive.
Read: Genesis 26
Genesis 26 renews the covenant initially made with Abraham with the seed of promise, Isaac. After the introduction to Isaac and the introduction to his two sons, we have in this chapter a confirmation that Isaac is indeed the son of promise. The parallels between the life of Abraham and that of his son are striking and reinforce the faithfulness of God to bring to Abraham’s family line the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent.
One commentator summarizes that observation as follows: First, the chapter opens with a reference to a famine in the land (26:1; cf. 12:10). That parallels Abraham’s experience, foreshadowing what will happen to his younger son, Jacob. Second, Just as Abraham sought to deceive the Egyptian leaders, Isaac does the same (26:7; cf. 12:13; 20:2). Third, like his father, Isaac is blessed with material prosperity (26:13-14; Cf. 12:16; 13:6). Fourth, Isaac encounters a conflict regarding the land (26:20, 21; Cf. 13:7. Fifth, a covenant is made with the Philistine at Beersheba (26:26-33; Cf. 21:22-34).
What can we learn from these things? First, there is a family trait of deception that began with Abraham, passed to Isaac, and, as we will see, is given to Jacob. The father’s sins do indeed pass to the offspring unless something is done to interrupt that cycle. Second. The faithfulness of God is displayed through the ordinary events of our lives. That was true about Isaac, and it is true for us.
Read: Matthew 25
Matthew 25 deals with matters related to the final judgment. It does so in three ways, as highlighted in the three main sections of the chapter. First, Jesus gives an exhortation to watch because no one knows when the Son of man will return. That is an important reminder for all of us. We are to be busy living to the glory of God in the here and now as we look and wait for the return of the Savior.
The second section is a parable about using the gifts the Lord has given to his church. Connecting the idea of watching, Jesus now discusses the issue of doing. Each of us has been given gifts to be used in the church for the good of the people of God. We are to use them to the glory of God.
The third section deals with matters related to the final judgment. Here we have plain teaching regarding sheep and goats; the regenerate and the unregenerate. We also have explicit instructions on how the sheep will manifest their redemption in how they live their lives toward others.