Jacob’s troubles “few and evil have been the years of my life”

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Poor, poor Jacob, he had a rough life.
When Pharaoh asked “How old are you?”,  Jacob replied;” “….. few and evil have been the days of the years of my life……..”. He was 130 years old at the time. Sure, he was wealthy, he was blessed in many ways, but he experienced a lot of pain and suffering in those 130 years. Despite his years of troubles,  God promised that He would always be with him.  It didn’t mean life would be perfect or without trouble, but in all he would go through, Jacob knew that the Lord was with him. There is much to learn as we study the life of Jacob. He suffered many hardships but God was always with Him. Life will not always be easy for us and some of us may feel like it’s been a never ending journey of sorrow.
 

Consider the first 130 years of Jacob’s life before he stands before Pharoah and says these words “few and evil have been the years of my life”

  • spends months fighting with twin brother before he’s born
  • grew up as 2nd best compared to Esau, Esau was Isaac’s favorite son
  • Hated- Brother wants to kill him – Jacob runs away from family in fear of his life
  • Deceived – Tricked by uncle Laban – Works 7 years for Rachel, the one he loves, only to be tricked by uncle Laban and wakes up with her sister, Leah, instead
  • Deceived – Forced to work another 7 years for uncle Laban for Rachel
  • Deceived- Uncle Laban changes his wages 10x
  • Not treated fairly -works 6 more years (20 in total) for uncle Laban for livestock
  • Affliction: Jacobs reply: There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes.  Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.  Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”
  • Fighting -married to 2 sisters who are in constant competition, so much he gets angry with Rachel
  • Hated- by Laban’s sons and Laban seems extremely jealous and angry with him when Jacob leaves
  • Sorrow-Accidently curses his wife Rachel, the one he loves, to die
  • Pain- Gets in an all night wrestling match with the Lord/Angel of the Lord
  • Pain- Lord throws his hip out of joint, he walks the rest of his days with a limp
  • Fear- confronts his brother Esau in great fear, but his life is spared
  • Sorrow- Wife Rachel soon dies after the words spoken over her to die, as she gives birth to Benjamin
  • Sorrow- His father , Isaac, dies soon after Rachel
  • Disgrace/Humiliation-His first-born son, Reuben sleeps with his wife, who was Rachel’s servant. This was the ultimate disgrace to Rachel’s grave, an act by Leah’s family
  • Disgrace – His 2nd and 3rd sons Levi and Simeon deceive a city and ruthlessly murder all the males which greatly upsets and disturbs Jacob
  • Aggravation- His older sons bully his young son Joseph, by Rachel. You can imagine the constant fighting and upset between the 10 brothers against Joseph and the discord that Jacob had to endure.
  • Deep Sorrow- Jacob’s beloved son, Joseph, is killed by a wild animal – or so he thinks..His very own sons wanted to kill Joseph but decide to sell him as a slave
  • Jacob has lost the love of his life, his father and his beloved son-
  • Famine- at age 128-130 a great famine comes upon the land and he and all his family are about to die.
  • Deceived -at age 130 finds out that his sons lied to him and actually sold Joseph as a slave 23 years earlier
  • Death at age 147

Let’s be clear – Jacob’s life and some of his decisions weren’t so great. ( he stole, lied, deceived, his wife Leah was unloved so…., he also fought with God and man) However,  he was a man fully blessed by God even though, from our worldly view, he didn’t seem to be. God always protected him and was there along his walk of life.

 
Despite all these troubles in his life, he was blessed 2x by his father Isaac, his mother was given a prophecy over him before he was born, he received the birthright and the Lord visited him many times to tell him that He would always be with him. You would think that with all the worldly troubles and sorrow that Jacob faced, that his life was not blessed, but not so.
Words spoken as prophecy over him to his mother:

“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.”

His blessing from Isaac (stolen from Essau)

Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!”

After he’s been blessed by his father, he blesses him again before he leaves to see uncle Laban:
 “May God Almighty bless you,
And make you fruitful and multiply you,
That you may be an assembly of peoples;
And give you the blessing of Abraham,
To you and your descendants with you,
That you may inherit the land
In which you are a stranger,
Which God gave to Abraham.
Blessed by God on the way to uncle Labans house:

“I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac;
the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth;
you shall spread abroad to the west and the east,
to the north and the south;
and in you and in your seed
all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go,
and will bring you back to this land;
for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

God helps Jacob again:

Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’  And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.

and again before he meets Essau,
So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.  When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp.” And he called the name of that place Mahanaim
 then again when he was alone before he met Esau:
   He wrested with God, demanded a blessing, was given a new name “Israel” for he struggled with God and men and prevailed. and the Lord Blessed him  there, in Peniel, for Jacob “saw God face to face, and my live is preserved”

God speaks to Jacob again:
Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.

  Life won’t always be perfect, but we have a future hope that is perfect. Don’t let life’s problems bring you down or make you fee like God isn’t with you. Consider the life of Jacob, Joseph, Job, the prophets, Jesus, the disciples and many more- God was with them even in their troubles, sorrow, pain and affliction. God see’s- that’s what he told Jacob. Whatever you are going through, trust in the Lord. He is with you, let this hope give you peace and rest.
     Despite his tragedies, Jacob is reunited again with Joseph at age 130 and lives the next 17 years with his family to see Joseph’s sons. He learns the truth of what Leah’s sons did to Joseph but interestingly enough, during the final blessings/curses over the 12 sons, this sin isn’t mentioned by Jacobs as others are – like Rubens betrayal and the murderous acts of Levi and Simeon
 
Isaiah 40:27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?

Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.

(Jacob – had Joseph when he was 88-91 years old. Joseph was 17 when his brothers sold him. Jacob saw Joseph again at age 130 and died at age 147. He was about 66-76 when he ran away from his brother Esau to go to Laban’s house.)

We, just as Jacob was blessed, have been blessed by the Lord in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.Eph 1:3

The Shabbat dinner – JUST TRY IT!!! Honor the Sabbath – a blessing for Christians too

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    Just try it!    All you need is dinner and a candle to start. All the blessings are listed below  for you. I think you will be surprised at how wonderful this really is.               

      I wanted to share the secrets of the Sabbath with you. Honoring the Sabbath is actually a blessing given to you from the Lord. You can take it or leave it. However, before you knock it down, I suggest you try it. I spent all my life believing church arguments and people’s arguments against Sabbath- until the Lord spoke clearly into my heart. Five instructions, He gave me that day. The fourth was “Honor my Sabbath”. I was shocked and argued back, but decided to search it out and find it. It was much more than I had previously thought. It has become a special time, a time my children love and time my husband and I look forward to. Being totally honest, I don’t always honor it as I should. I often go back to my own ways with busyness, but once again I hear the Lord knocking on my heart. I haven’t been honoring as I should and He has not only led me to Sabbath scriptures every day this week, but three people mentioned the subject to me in the last few days.
            It’s a time to shut off all the noise, worries and cares of the world and spend time together as we Honor the Lord. It’s a 25 hour period that lasts from Friday at sunset to Saturday at nightfall. Enjoy it! Do you know how much I love saying “sorry, I don’t clean on Sabbath” how can you say no to that? It’s enjoyable! It’s like a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner every Friday night.
                There is so much to share, discuss and verses to ponder. I thought, in order to inspire myself as well, I would introduce you to the Shabbat table – tonight. It the best time I’ve ever had with my family. My children would rather cancel parties and fun times with friends for this special meal- you see, that in itself is supernatural. I believe this is a secret key to the Lord’s blessings for us. It’s a night to Honor Him and speak His  Word and His Promises over our children, our marriage, our family, and our lives.

     THE SHABBAT MEAL

      This is my version of Shabbat, taken from much study, books, and helpful answers from the owner of the Judaism store in my neighborhood. I know I have more to learn, but it’s a start – and I hope you try it 🙂 In the book, The Modern Mom’s Jewish Guide to Shabbat, she writes : “It’s about taking baby steps”- and this is true. To do everything at once to perfection is too much, so just try your best without feeling overwhelmed. Even if you follow along with only a few things, I know you will be blessed.

Wow, I just heard some of you say Sabbath is Sunday. Listen – does the day matter? Paul made that clear to us. I chose Friday to Saturday, and I’ll tell you why: every Sunday I attempted to make my Sabbath turned into a day of frustration and exhaustion for me. Getting everyone off to church, grocery shopping for week ahead, finishing homework, checking backpacks, making lunches, getting uniforms and clothes ready for Monday morning- it just never worked out for me. Besides, Sabbath is another post. Today, I want to share the joys of the Sabbath dinner -Shabbat -TRY IT!

SABBATH MEAL AND PREPARATION:

Key #1 is preparation.

The table: Set a nice table. (Some families set the table with their finest dishes and  flowers.) We use a white table cloth and two center candles (we purchased ours from the Judaism store but I’m sure any would be fine) Also, on the table:  spice box, bowl to wash hands, challah board and cover, and a small bowl of olive oil mixed with salt and pepper to dip bread. (unless it’s the Jewish new year- add honey and apples)- if you think I have all the accessories, think again…I’m still taking baby steps.

Food : Challah bread- we buy this at our local bakery, it’s also called Egg bread, many cook it themselves – I read that it only takes 20 minutes to make the dough, but I’m still not inspired. Maybe one day Ill make a loaf of bread. I burnt up my bread machine….sooooo. I’ve read that two loaves is needed, but I only buy one. (any leftovers can be used for French toast the next morning) The bread is covered – you can use a paper towel. Okay, I’m going to be real. My husband tells me I should write a blog called “the lazy chef”. For my Shabbat meal, I go to Costco and buy the roasted Chicken, throw some monster potatoes in the oven, empty green frozen veggie in a pan, buy a pie and a loaf of egg bread, make a salad and I’m done. It all looks good on the table. You can search the internet for some great Shabbat Recipes, but this way I know my foods are edible.

What time do we eat? Sunset – right before the sun goes down, tonight it would be at 7:39. I don’t always hold true to this, but it is fun waiting for the sun to go down.  Sometimes we sit outside watching the sunset. The kids and I especially look forward to this and for some reason, it makes it more meaningful. I feel no guilt, however, if circumstances outside my control cause us to eat a bit later or a little earlier. Tonight, for instance, we may eat earlier so we can attend a service for Good Friday. For more info: do study in bible on the sun setting or twilight- it’s a special time.

Sharing scripture at the Shabbat : ( or after you eat) Each week there is a different scripture, and it seems, that every family reads the same scriptures. For instance, tonight would be: Exodus 33:12-34:26, Numbers 28:19-25, Ezekiel 37:1-4, 1 Corinthians 5:1-8. (Torah, Haftarah, Apostolic Scriptures)

Family Time after dinner: Take a walk, talk about your day, play board games, turn off the tv- unless you have to watch it– at least watch a family movie. It seems a family board game in my house, only lasts as long as the first argument and the board is tipped over. So don’t get discouraged if everything isn’t as picture perfect as you expected. Baby steps, baby steps.

Wine : Yes, important part of the meal. You need a cup of wine (or grape juice) for the Kiddush. I don’t drink – thanks to my mother’s persistant prayers for me, I am now allergic to all forms of alcohol. So I guess grape juice for me.

BLESSINGS-
Blessings, prayers, and some traditions – we end everything “In Jesus Name”
and btw:  stand for the blessings

Blessing the Candles  : The evening begins as the wife lights the candles and whispers “Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us and commanded us to light the Shabbat candlesBarukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam asher kidishanu b’mitz’votav v’tzivanu l’had’lik neir shel Shabbat. (Amein)

Blessing over Children  (put your hand on their head as you say this)
Daughters: May god make you like Ruth and Esther, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachael, Leah:Y’simcha elohim ksarah rivkah rahel v’lei’ah
Sons: May God make you like Efraim and Manassah :Y’simcha elohim k’efrayim v’chim’nasheh
May you be deserving of praise
strengthen them, O Lord
And keep them from stranger’s ways
May you be brave, righteous and strong
Courageous in your faith, may you be praised for your beauty. May God bless you and keep you, May Gods face shine upon you and may He be gracious unto you. May God lift up His face toward you and give you peace

Y’varech’cha adonai v’yishm’recha
Ya’eir adonai panav eilecha vihuneka
Yisa adonai panav eilecha v’yaseim l’cha shalom

(**after this is said, my husband and I go to each child and whisper in their ear “I am blessed I am your parent because…, I am so proud of you for…. This is their favorite part. I might say something like, I am proud that you did the right thing in a certain situation, or maybe I am proud of all the effort you have put into swim team. My husband will go to one and I to another, so each child hears something from me and another from my husband. You should see their faces light up with a smile after this. It’s a wonderful moment)
Hebrew:

My Favorite!!! My husband reads Proverbs 31 to me:
A woman of valor who can find, She is more precious than rubies. The heart of her husband trusts in her. And he has no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil. All the days of her life, She extends her hands to the needy. She is robed in strength and dignity. She confidently faces the future.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, loving kindness is on her tongue. Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband sings her praises
“Many daughters have done worthily, but you excel them all” Charm is deceitful and beauty if vain, but a woman who reveres the Lord, she shall be praises. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Blessings to the husband:  I didn’t find this with most Shabbat sites, my husband said, “Hey! what about me!?” I found scripture that is used at Shabbat as a blessing for the husband. Psalm 1 or Psalm 112:

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,  but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.Ps 1

Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in their houses,and their righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.
Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. Ps 112

Blessing the Wine (man) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who commanded us to drink the fruit of the vine.

Washing of hands: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has made us holy through the commandments and commanded us to wash our hands.

shhhhhhhhhhhhh Silence  There is no talking between the washing of hands and the blessing of the bread.

Bread (man lifts up bread) Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

      Sit down and eat together. Be blessed!
Shalom! May the Lord God on High be with you!
Through the precious Name of our Savior Jesus Christ – Yashua Ha Mashiach
Amen  

We usually add or  say our own heart felt prayer to the Lord. After you read the scripture for the night, ask questions, have the children engage in conversation and thoughts about the scripture read.

Torah readings at www.hebrew4christians.com

fun stuff: any phone calls, answer :Good Shabbos!” — “Shabbat Shalom!”
I just read that some even pre tear their paper towels before Sabbath begins.
At the Passsover sedar, and empty place is left for Elijah. 
I don’t think your supposed the blow the candle out, but let them go out on their own. The the last time we attempted this we almost burnt the house. So if you have a crazy dog and an overactive child, you might want to blow the candles out -that’s just my house.
learning or singing along to a Hebrew shabbot song of Praise is also a good memory 🙂