week twenty eight

 

Genesis 28

So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, “You shall not marry one of the women of Canaan. 2 [a]Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and take from there as a wife for yourself one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. 3 May [b]God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, so that you may become a [great] company of peoples. 4 May He also give the blessing of Abraham to you and your descendants with you, that you may inherit the [promised] land of your sojournings, which He gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6 Now Esau noticed that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to take a wife for himself from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him a prohibition, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,” 7 and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram. 8 So Esau realized that [his two wives] the daughters of Canaan displeased Isaac his father; 9 and [to appease his parents] Esau went to [the family of] Ishmael and took as his wife, in addition to the wives he [already] had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth [Ishmael’s firstborn son].

Jacob’s Dream

10 Now Jacob left Beersheba [never to see his mother again] and traveled toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed overnight there because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down there [to sleep]. 12 He dreamed that there was a ladder (stairway) placed on the earth, and the top of it reached [out of sight] toward heaven; and [he saw] the angels of God ascending and descending on it [going to and from heaven]. 13 And behold, the Lord stood above and around him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your [father’s] father and the God of Isaac; I will give to you and to your descendants the land [of promise] on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants shall be as [countless as] the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and the east and the north and the south; and all the families (nations) of the earth shall be blessed through you and your [c]descendants. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep [careful watch over you and guard] you wherever you may go, and I will bring you back to this [promised] land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said, “Without any doubt the Lord is in this place, and I did not realize it.” 17 So he was afraid and said, “How fearful and awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gateway to heaven.”

 

18 So Jacob got up early in the morning, and took the stone he had put under his head and he set it up as a pillar [that is, a monument to the vision in his dream], and he poured [olive] oil on the top of it [to [d]consecrate it]. 19 He named that place Bethel (the house of God); the previous name of that city was Luz (Almond Tree). 20 Then Jacob made a vow (promise), saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and clothing to wear, 21 and if [He grants that] I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 This stone which I have set up as a pillar (monument, memorial) will be God’s house [a sacred place to me], and of everything that You give me I will give the tenth to You [as an offering to signify my gratitude and dependence on You].”Now as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely left the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting.


2 Corinthians 12

Paul’s Vision

12 It is necessary to boast, though nothing is gained by it; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a [a]man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, [only] God knows—such a man was caught up to the [b]third heaven. 3 And I know that such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, [only] God knows— 4 was caught up into [c]Paradise and heard inexpressible words which man is not permitted to speak [words too sacred to tell]. 5 On behalf of such a man [and his experiences] I will boast; but in my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. 6 If I wish to boast, I will not be foolish, because I will be speaking the truth. But I abstain [from it], so that no one will credit me with more than [is justified by what] he sees in me or hears from me.

A Thorn in the Flesh

7 Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; 9 but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].

 

11 Now I have become foolish; you have forced me [by questioning my apostleship]. Actually I should have been commended by you [instead of being treated disdainfully], for I was not inferior to those [d]super-apostles, even if I am nobody. 12 The signs that indicate a genuine apostle were performed among you fully and most patiently—signs and wonders and miracles. 13 For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the churches, except [for the fact] that I did not burden you [with my financial support]? Forgive me [for doing you] this injustice!

14 Now for the third time I am ready to visit you. I will not burden you [financially], because I do not want what is yours [not your money or your possessions], but you. For children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 But I will very gladly spend [my own resources] and be utterly spent for your souls. If I love you greatly, am I to be loved less [by you]? 16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you [with my support]. But [some say that] I was sly and took you by trickery. 17 Did I take advantage of you or make any money off you through any of the messengers I sent you? [Certainly not!] 18 I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take advantage of you, did he? [No!] Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit and walk in the same steps? [Of course!]

19 All this time you have been thinking that we are [merely] defending ourselves to you. It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking [as one] in Christ; and everything, dearly beloved, is to strengthen you [spiritually]. 20 For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you not to be as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder; 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality and decadence which they formerly practiced.


Psalm 28

A Psalm of David.

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation—Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge and fortress of my life -Whom shall I dread?

2 When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.

3 Though an army encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, Even in this I am confident.

4 One thing I have asked of the Lord, and that I will seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, To gaze upon the beauty [the delightful loveliness and majestic grandeur] of the Lord And to meditate in His temple.

5 For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.

6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, In His tent I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; Be gracious and compassionate to me and answer me.

8 When You said, “Seek My face [in prayer, require My presence as your greatest need],” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I will seek [on the authority of Your word].”

9 Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor [a]leave me, O God of my salvation!

10 Although my father and my mother have abandoned me, Yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me on a level path Because of my enemies [who lie in wait].

12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, For false witnesses have come against me; They breathe out violence.

13 I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

14 Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.