Genesis 29-30

“She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah.” (29:35)
I love this: “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.” (29:31) He has always been an advocate for the unloved. In the telling of the birth of her children, we get a peek into her heart’s process. 

She knew this was the blessing and favor of God to conceive, but her thankfulness was all in hopes to be loved by her distracted husband. Eventually she comes around to being truly thankful, no matter the circumstance and attitude of Jacob. She may not have his love, but she is loved by God and therefore praises Him. This is the child, Judah. He will become the line of promise leading to Jesus.

Things continue to be heated among Jacob and these ladies. Through this strife and jealously, we meet the sons of Jacob who will become the twelve tribes of Israel. 

We will continue to read about these 12 guys and their major dysfunction in Genesis. As you may remember in Kings, these tribes split and war and make horrible choices. Then, *Spoiler Alert* in Revelation 21, when a future glorious kingdom is introduced, we see a “New Jerusalem” and who are the gates named after?? These bozos! 

Keep that in the back of your mind as you go forward. God uses us and partners with us, despite ourselves. He keeps His promises and expands His glorious rule no matter what. Why should we share in His glory? Why should these guys have the gates of heaven named after them? Because He loves the unloved, gives grace to the humble, and is most glorified by what He is able to accomplish through us, His broken vessels. 

Through years of youth ministry I never cease to be floored by how God transforms lives. Completely, utterly, inside-out change. Sometimes, He even lets me be a part of it! When I look back, I can’t deny He has also fundamentally transformed me. He has used a sassy, uncoordinated gal from SE Portland to change the trajectory of people’s lives and I haven’t the slightest idea how. Kind of like how He used a dysfunctional family to be the beginning of His chosen instruments on earth. 

Don’t excuse these guys. You’ll read stories of some pretty gnarly stuff they’ll do. Don’t try to reason it out, like they’re righteous and doing righteously. God is patiently starting a movement that continues today. 

I am thankful for His church. “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 1:9) We are a holy, international nation. His special possession. He has made us beautiful and able to declare His praises! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

-Bethany 

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