15 January: Genesis 33-35, John 8:31-59, Psalm 15
- Esau's kindness is a pleasant surprise. But Jacob seems to use some deceit to flatter Esau by telling him that seeing him is like "seeing the face of God."Jacob has a default mode of reliance upon deceit for his successes. It often is born from fear rather than faith.
- Simeon and Levi employ deceit to seek revenge on the Shechemites, killing them all in their compromised physical state of circumcision. Jacobs inaction produces a leadership vacuum that his sons fill with brutality.
- It's terrific to see Jacob - now Israel - recommitted to God as sets out for Bethel (the site of his earlier dream of the stairway to heaven). He purifies the ranks of his family, and the hand of God protects and guides him as he navigates through hostile territory on his path to obey The Lord. "The terror of God fell on all the towns around them."
- Deceit is the native tongue of the devil. All three readings today have a focus on integrity, truth (alethea), and deceit. Jesus warns that if we can't understand him, then it may be because we can't understand the language of truth.
- Jesus's truth keeps us free from the enslavement to sin. Such slavery requires us to buy into a lie/excuse for sin. Exposing Satan's lies/schemes/excuses/loopholes brings us back into protective ground of holding to the truth. That's where we are free indeed.
- Integrity! Rugged manly integrity. This one's gettin' memorized.