Jacob, so far, must be among the least worthy a patriarch in the Bible. He sneaky, cheating, a lousy leader and disobedient to God.
He’s learned to work hard and become wealthy. He’s had exultant experiences of God. He remains better at pragmatism than spirituality.
Now, finally getting to bethel where God told him to go in the first place, he receives god’s covenant. The promise that he will be the head of the great nation of Israel. He’s called Israel again here.
He’s showing some dedication to God in return, getting everyone to destroy their foreign gods.
The Bible has this anti perfectionism. Only God is perfect, it reminds us again and again. I think of it as the spanner in the works. Here, out of nowhere after god is done speaking his promises, it mentions that his son Reuben slept with the concubine bilal, who was his step mother.
Rachel has the last of the 12 sons for whom the 12 tribes are named, Benjamin. She died in childbirth.
After bethel, where Jacob/Israel received the blessing, he goes and is with essau when their father Isaac dies.
Two funerals and a covenant. It feels like it’s time to move on. Will Israel be the person Jacob was not?
And I praise God for his abundant grace, daily.