Be As Shrewd As Snakes and As Innocent As Doves

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GENESIS 30:1-31:16 | MATTHEW 10:1-23 | PSALM 12:1-8 | PROVERBS 3:13-15

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More history repeats itself in the story of Rachel.  Like Sarah, her husband’s grandmother, Rachel tries to carefully arrange things. 

Because she cannot conceive, she gives her maidservant to Jacob who bears him (and technically, her) two sons:  Dan and Naphthali.  Not to be left behind, the first wife Leah does the same thing.  The two sons through her maidservant are Gad and Asher.

This business of bargaining and bartering must be an age-old phenomenon.  Like Esau who bargained with Jacob for a bowl of stew in exchange for his inheritance, we see Leah bargaining with Rachel for Jacob’s attentions in exchange for a bunch of mandrakes. 

Such is life, I suppose… always wanting what we don’t have, always scheming on ways to get it!  The result of all this is two more sons and one daughter for Leah:  Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah.

Finally, Joseph arrives on the scene.  The baby of the family.  The apple of his mother’s and father’s eye.  Eventually, the envy of his eleven brothers. 

And eventually, their savior.  What a concept!

But before that, there’s the continuation of Jacob’s resourcefulness in establishing himself as a man of wealth.  Quite an interesting story of how he negotiates with Laban, and over time, becomes wealthier than Laban.  But after years of living together, the time has come for them to part ways, and we find Jacob taking his two wives and his children and moving back to his native land.

Turning next to Matthew, we find that this chapter opens with announcing the names of the twelve disciples of Jesus.  Handpicked by Jesus himself, this was a motley crew of fishermen and tax collectors.  No learned men here.  These very twelve go on to be known as the twelve apostles and write many a book that now consists of the New Testament. 

The twelve are:  Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Jesus’ commission to them is not an easy one.  He warns them of trials and tribulations.  But he also promises his presence with them.  He says:  22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And then he also tells them:  16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Next, we turn to the Psalms, and find David affirming his faith in the Lord for protection and provision.  He says:

7 You, LORD, will keep the needy safe
   and will protect us forever from the wicked,
8 who freely strut about
   when what is vile is honored by the human race.

Finally, these verses in Proverbs are worthy of repeating.  Solomon, wise king of Israel, says:

13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
   the man who gains understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
   and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
   nothing you desire can compare with her.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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