“The Three Amigos” Isn’t As Ridiculous As You Might Think

What You’ve Missed…
* We’re in the book of Exodus now, and three-hundred years after the time of Joseph, all of Abraham’s descendants, The Israelites, have become slaves in Egypt.  They’re pretty pissed about it.
* About this time, Moses is born.
* Around the age of forty, Moses takes the law into his own hands, becoming the world’s first vigilante hero, when he murders an Egyptian guy who’s beating up some Hebrew dude.  (I’m thinking the local papers referred to him as “The Sackcloth Sucker-Puncher.”)
* Around the age of eighty, Moses doesn’t encounter God-As-A-Talking-Tornado, but rather, God-As-A-Talking-Bush-On-Fire.  (Not to be confused by The-Now-Not-So-Implausible-Singing-Bush from The Three Amigos.)
* God-As-A-Burning-Bush tells Moses He is going to rescue the Israelites from slavery, and that Moses will act as His mouthpiece.  Moses goes all King’s Speech, whining about his stutter, and so God brings Aaron (Moses’ older brother) on board to announce to everyone all the things God speaks to Moses.
* Finally…God gives Moses an awesome staff that He turns into a snake from time to time.  (Finally answering the question, “What do you get the man who has everything?”)
* Got all that?

Day 34
Daily Reading: Exodus 7-9

Whew…let’s all take a breather, because that’s a lot to digest.  Go ahead and grab some coffee or a quick smoke break or something.  I’ll wait.

So old man Moses is taking direction from God on how to get the Israelites out of Egypt, and because he’s human, and because God can be confusing, he protests and questions some of God’s plan.  But in the end he trusts God and does as he’s asked, providing the people of Egypt the craziest experience of their lives.

You see, God doesn’t just want to rescue His people from slavery, He also wants Pharaoh to know He is The One True God.  So He puts on a little display to demonstrate His power.  And we’re not talking about a mind-blowing Pink Floyd laser light show.  For starters, when Pharaoh refuses to let the Israelites go, God turns the Nile River into blood.  He doesn’t stop with just the Nile, but all the water in Egypt (including the water in jugs, cups, storage basins, etc.) also turn to blood.  And it lasts for seven days.

Let’s just stop and imagine this for a second.  You’re meeting someone for lunch, and as you take a sip of your water, you realize it’s blood.  The whole restaurant realizes what’s happened at roughly the same time, and people start screaming and freaking out.  Or maybe you open the washer to discover your clothes aren’t pink because you washed colors with the whites, but because they were “washed” in blood.  Or perhaps you’re standing around the water cooler at work (do people actually do this in real life, or just in Dilbert?) when all of a sudden you and your co-workers find yourselves standing around the blood cooler instead.  (Or think about if it happened while you were in the shower.  That’s something straight out of The Shining.  And that gives me the heebie-jeebies.)

I think you get the idea.  This is not a normal thing.  People notice when ALL of the water in their life turns to blood.  That’s a pretty strong showing of power in my book.  But apparently Pharaoh didn’t think so, because he didn’t let the Israelites go.  In fact, his own royal magicians also turned water into blood (Exodus 7:22) which is pretty impressive.

So God moves on to Phase Two and produces a plague of frogs.  Frogs start showing up everywhere, including people’s ovens (Exodus 8:3) which makes me wonder if they were instantly incinerated, or whether they were special “plague frogs” that were a lot harder to get rid of.  (Also, it says that Pharaoh’s magicians summoned frogs too…which makes me wonder if they could have had the most amazing magic show Vegas has ever seen.)  But again…can you imagine what that was like for everyone in Egypt?  Think about the noise at night alone when millions of frogs are croaking at once.  Or the fact that you’d be walking on frogs (living and squashed) everywhere you went.  That would get really old, really fast.

So Pharaoh relents saying he’ll let God’s people go…but as soon as the frogs are gone, he changes his mind.  This pattern of relenting and then changing his mind continues as God brings more plagues on Egypt, setting the standard for a man struggling through some very serious commitment issues.  During this time God also brings on a plague of gnats, a plague of flies, a plague destroying all the livestock in the country, a plague of boils appearing on everyone and a plague of hail.

Seriously…think about if this was you.  First, all your water becomes blood.  Then your house, car, workplace and everyplace are covered in frogs.  Then you’re constantly covered in gnats ALL THE TIME.  And if that isn’t enough, later you’d be covered in flies everywhere you went.  (I don’t think anyone is gettin’ “lucky” while this is happening either.  Being covered in gnats and flies tend to really destroy the mood.  So on top of suffering, everyone’s also in a major “dry spell” which I’m sure upped the tension in Egypt a hundred-fold.)

Later, all the animals around you die.  Then you’re covered in boils and finally everything you own is destroyed by hail.  That’s a rough couple of weeks right there.  And what if you found out the reason for it all was because the leader of your country was acting like a complete turd?  I imagine Pharaoh’s approval rating would be zero, and that the Occupy Egypt movement would be more of an Angry Violent Mob Out For Blood Movement.  (Though being out for blood would be slightly ironic.)

So…yeah.  Evil dictators are the worst.  Also, between this and the book of Job, I think God is doing a pretty solid job of showing us that having a fairly normal life, without being covered in boils, is a pretty huge gift in-and-of itself for mankind.  Welcome to the book of Exodus.

The Bible Has Better Dragons Than Harry Potter

What You’ve Missed…
* More crying out from Job.  (No real surprise there.)
* Some young punk named Elihu comes out of the woodwork dropping some serious wisdom on the old men around him.  (Score one for the young guns!)
* God responds to Job from a passing tornado.  It isn’t pretty.

Days 30 and 31
Daily Readings: Job 38-42

As a lover of stories, I’ve seen my fare share of twist endings.  (I’m one of the rare people who admit to not only being surprised at the end of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, but but actually liking it too.)  But the end of Job caught me completely off guard, for a couple of reasons.  Not the least of which is the fact that God himself throws some sarcasm Job’s way.

Before I go any further…let’s remember that God is speaking to Job from “the whirlwind” (Job 38:1)  I’m thinking of this as some form of tornado.  Now, I’ve never seen an actual tornado, but since I have seen The Wizard of Oz, Twister and almost a full episode of Storm Chasers, I feel qualified enough to say that tornados are pretty intense.  Including ones that are talking.  And especially if they’re intentionally humiliating you.  So, that’s crazy enough in and of itself.  Here is a man who was humbled by a talking tornado.  I’ll let that register a minute.

Moving on.  God in tornado form is asking Job if he’s ever commanded the sun to rise, where he was when the foundations of the earth were laid, and whether or not he knows how to get to the gates of death.  But to drive the point home, God gets straight up sarcastic with Job saying, “But of course you know all this!  For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!”  Daaaang.  That’s a serious burn, people.  Job just got burned by God.  Hard.  (I think it’s at this point Job starts to realize he’s outmatched in a big way.  And since David and Goliath hasn’t happened yet, I don’t think he’s holding out too much hope for a major underdog victory here.  Rather, he’s probably wetting himself.  Possibly while curled up in the fetal position.)

So, God-as-tornado kicks off the crazy ending, but things continue to progress.  God doesn’t simply let Job off the hook with some heady questions, but rather goes on to describe how immense, how powerful, how incredible some of His creations are.  He begins to describe a creature that cannot be tamed by men, then goes on to describe an even more powerful creature that can only be handled by God himself.  We’re not talking lions, tigers or bears (oh my!) here people.  God has taken us into the realm of Behemoth and Leviathan.

So what are Behemoth and Leviathan?  Well….  (My Bible’s footnotes say there is a dispute of whether or not these are actual, earthly creatures, or mythical beasts of ancient literature.)  As an educated man, I struggle to write the following…but I think God might be talking about…dragons.  That live in the sea.  Seriously.  I’ll let you check out the description of Behemoth for yourself (Job 40:15-24) while I touch on Leviathan.  Now…I realize that saying the Bible talks about ocean-dwelling, fire-breathing dragons may be ridiculous, and possibly even slightly insane…but I don’t know what else to think.  Here are some of the descriptions of this bad boy…

-“Who can penetrate its double layer of armor?” (Job 41:13)
-“When it sneezes, it flashes light!  Its eyes are like the red of dawn.  Lightning leaps from its mouth; flames of fire flash out.” (Job 41:18-19)
-“Its breath would kindle coals, for flames shoot from its mouth.” (Job 41:21)
-“Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion.”
(Job 41:31)
-“Nothing on earth is its equal, no other creature so fearless.  Of all the creatures, it is the proudest.  It is the king of beasts.” (Job 41:34)

Okay.  What?  This thing breathes fire?  (The beast is also described as having scales like shields, terrible teeth and strength more terrifying than anything known to man.)  Tell me that’s not a dragon.  And God seems to be talking about this thing as if it’s real.  I mean, really real.  As in, this is not Puff the Magic Dragon.  As in, The Loch Ness Monster is an adorable puppy compared to this thing.  As in, this thing exists, and it will wreck you.  In a big way.

It is more powerful than any other creature.  It is beyond man.  We are not talking about your garden variety Harry Potter Hungarian Horntail here.  This sucker would use the Horntail as a chew toy.  God is using Leviathan to show Job that He is ultimate.  The most ultimate of beasts, beasts we can’t begin to compare with, are still beasts He created.  He is more ultimate than the most ultimate thing on earth.  That’s what’s so interesting…it’s as if God expects Job to know what He’s talking about.  To know what Leviathan is.  And God seems to be acting as if it’s real.  He’s talking about a creature with red eyes that breathes fire and lives in the ocean.  Thanks Jaws, “Don’t go in the water” is right.  Except, Jaws, you just became a guppy.

So yeah…make of that what you will.  But if you’re a Christian…this is in your holy book.  Your God is talking about some pretty wild stuff.

And just when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of crazy endings, God goes and pulls one last twist.  After God speaks, Job repents, walking away humbled and awed by his Creator.  God seems to not just forgive this prideful, slightly arrogant guy, but blesses him as well.  At the end of the story, God has returned to Job DOUBLE what he originally lost, and provided him with more children.

A lot of people stop there saying the point of the story was that Job was a man who honored God, and so God blessed him.  But after reading, I think the point was that Job had a complete change of heart.  Not only did he become more humble and reverent toward God, but it says he also included his daughters in his will (not common in those times), which to me says that he became grateful for everything in his life after his run in with God.  He seems to appreciate his life and loves the people in it more than before.  His entire outlook on existence seemed to be changed by his encounter with The Creator.

Talking tornadoes, dragons of the sea, and a man’s life changed forever.  Now that’s what I call an ending.  And that’s what I call crazy.  Thanks for the ride Job.

Old People Are Funny

What You’ve Missed…
* Job insults his friends.
* His friends insult him back.
* Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.
* You’re now pretty much fully caught up on 25 chapters of the book of Job.

Day 25
Daily Reading: Job 22-25

One of the reasons I’m often reluctant to read the Bible is because it doesn’t offer much in the way of comedy.  Sure there may be some incredible action stories, and definitely some intense drama…but I’m a comedy guy.  What?  Caddyshack’s on?  Yup, my plans for the day just fell apart.  Huh?  You Netflixed Monty Python and the Holy Grail?  Yeah, I’ll happily invite myself over to be the third wheel on your movie night date.  You’ve never seen a man laugh himself off the couch as he watches a taco and grilled cheese sandwich fight to the death?  Clearly we aren’t spending much time together.

Turns out I was wrong.  I’m finding the book of Job to be as entertaining as most classic comedies.  In fact, it is a classic comedy.  Job is really just Grumpy Old Men.  It’s basically a bunch of old dudes sitting around insulting one another.  Here’s a loosely paraphrased exchange between Job and his buddies over the course of about 20 chapters:

Job: “God is out to get me.  I wish I were dead.”
Bildad: “Shut your cakehole you old windbag.  God isn’t out to get you.”
Zophar: “God isn’t punishing you half as much as you deserve, you old coot.”
Job: “Well look who knows everything!  You’re about as good of a friend as the IRS.”
Eliphaz: “Hey Four Eyes!  You’re so old and so blind you’ve turned away from God.”  (That was a major, major burn back in the day.)
Job: “You guys should go into the ballooning business with all that hot air you’ve got.  You’d make a fortune!”
Bildad: “Geez man, not even my grandson babbles as much as you, you crazy fool!”

And so on.

It’s fantastic!  But not just because it’s hilarious…but because these are real men struggling to work through deep questions about God’s nature.  They’re judgmental. (Job’s friends are convinced his misfortune is a result of his own sinful action for which he should repent.)  They’re prideful.  (Job continually proclaims himself pure and righteous, playing the “victim” card.  And like all men, each one in this story is convinced he is absolutely right.)  But they’re not all bad.  These guys display some wisdom too.  (Job’s friends constantly remind him that God is good and powerful.  They remind him that God honors those who honor him, and that men are maggots compared to God, so who are they to cry out against Him?  And Job still proclaims God to be the all mighty and all powerful Creator.)

This is real life.  This is a story about a guy who has good friends who speak the truth to him.  It’s also a story about a guy who doesn’t want to hear the truth, but rather, for his friends to rally around his pain.  I love it.  It’s so genuine, so real.  Everyone involved thinks they’re the one who’s right.  Now this is something I can relate to.  I bet we all can.  We’ve all given amazing advice to friends who seem to choose to make life harder on themselves by not listening to us right?  (What are they?  Crazy?)  And we all have friends who can’t believe we don’t listen to them more, despite constantly telling us it’s for our own good right?  (Who do they think they are?  Our parents?)

In the past I always thought Job was some kind of biblical hero or the example of how a truly good man deals with unfortunate events in life by staying positive and thankful towards God no matter what kind of crap hits the fan.  However, he isn’t perfect.  He’s a normal guy.  I’ve decided Job is just a guy like me who means well, and loves God, but can be a real jerk sometimes.**

Man this is good stuff.

**I love when people leave comments, but let’s just say there’s not much of a need to elaborate on this particular issue from those who know me.  Thanks.

It’s Never Cool to be Emo

What You’ve Missed…
* Jacob moves to Egypt.  He gives his final blessing for all twelve of his sons before he dies.  (It’s actually pretty dramatic and theatrical.  Richard Roeper would probably consider it a bit over the top, but then again, he didn’t think Snakes on a Plane was that great either, so what does he know?)
* Joseph mourns his father, then he dies.  (Very UNdramatically I might add.  Booooo.)
* Genesis ends.  (One down, sixty-five to go.)

Day 19
Daily Reading: Job 1-4

Yup, you read that right.  We jumped from Genesis to Job.  (Keep in mind this is a chronological Bible…and apparently scholars believe the story of Job takes place around the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Basically it’s a, “Meanwhile, over at Job’s Ranch…”  type of situation.)

So, the first couple of chapters of Job are pretty nuts.  For starters God is bragging to Satan about how awesome Job is.  How he’s a man of integrity who stays away from evil. Did you catch that?  God is bragging about Job!  Think He still does this?  I like to think God brags about me from time to time.  (I mean, if you saw how incredibly humble I am, you’d be pretty impressed too.)  Anyway, Satan says he wants to test Job, and God ALLOWS it (under the condition Job is not harmed physically.)  You’d think God would tell Satan to get lost, that Job (who God claims to be the finest man on the Earth) is off limits.  But that doesn’t happen, and Satan goes off to do his thing.

Satan has a bunch of crazy desert raiders steal and kill all of Job’s livestock and servants.  Then a powerful wind comes in, knocking down the house where ALL of Job’s children were partying, killing everyone inside.  (Thinking ahead to parenthood, I’m tempted to use this story to scare my possible future teenage daughters away from parties.  “Remember what happened to Job’s children honey?  They partied.  And they died.”)  After all the dust has settled, and Job realizes he’s lost nearly everything in his life, he worships God, reminding us that the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh awayeth.  (Job’s attitude is hard for me to accept, seeing as I get pretty upset at little things.  Like when I lose a game of Words With Friends…which is all the time.  I’m making grumbling sounds I don’t know how to adequately write out right now.)

Cut back to heaven and God is still bragging about Job and Satan is still really annoyed by it, so he gets God to agree to another test for Job.  This time God says Satan can do anything he wants, except kill him.  So Satan covers him in boils from head to toe.  (Now, I don’t mean to cause division, but I’d imagine Job would have a hard time reading Your Best Life Now in this condition, especially if he’d heard God say all this suffering was cool by Him.)

Seriously…God is simply allowing Job’s life to turn to complete crap overnight.  He doesn’t console him, or promise him it will get better.  He doesn’t reach in to save him or heal him or anything.  He just let’s Job suffer.  And this is a man He loves.  A man He brags about!  What the heck God?  I mean, the whole “God gives and God takes away” thing is great in theory…but if this is what it looks like in the practical sense, well, I don’t know how I’m supposed to really handle that.  (I like the first part waaaay more than that second part.)  And I really like the idea that, “His ways are not our ways” but I like it when it helps me to keep on keepin’ on when I can’t explain things for myself.  But here…God’s way is to let someone He loves simply suffer.  I mean, I guess it’s a test for Job, but still…I like the “His ways aren’t our ways” deal when it’s convenient, not…inconvenient.  I like it when it makes things easier, not harder.

Anyway…so Job finally shows that while he may be God’s favorite, he’s still totally human.  After sitting around in silence with his friends for seven days, wallowing in his misery, he finally explodes into the most depressing speech ever, cursing the day he was born.  He actually says he wishes he’d been born dead.  How much more depressing, morbid, and emo can you get?  Eat your heart out George Bailey, this guy can outwhine you any day of the week.  (I mean the character from It’s a Wonderful Life, not my friend George Bailey, who shares the same name, and who in fact, is pretty optimistic about most things.)

As the suffering continues, Job’s buddy Eliphaz tries to encourage his friend, reminding him to be confident in God.  He reminds Job that God is just and powerful.  He encourages him to take heart and endure.  But I doubt Job really listens to him because with a name like Eliphaz, well, let’s just say I bet Job thinks he’s more like Elispaz than anything else.  (To be honest, I don’t know Job’s response.  I haven’t read that far yet.)

Eliphaz…that poor guy. I bet middle school was tough for a guy with a name like that.

Old School Willy Wonka

What You’ve Missed…
A lot.
* Jacob’s sons graduate from brotherly rivalry 101  [giving Indian burns, punching each other in the shoulder (two for flinching!) and just causing your basic, run-of-the-mill emotional scarring inherent in all brotherly relationships] and move onto graduate level stuff like LEAVING THEIR BROTHER JOSEPH TO DIE IN THE WILDERNESS, and later, SELLING HIM INTO SLAVERY.  (To be fair, he did constantly mention how he had dreams that they would all bow down to him in the future.)
* After becoming a slave in Egypt, Joseph is falsely accused of rape and is thrown in prison.  (Let’s see…being hated by his brothers, becoming a slave, and then thrown into prison under false pretenses?  Can you imagine the prescription drug problem this guy would have today?)
* God uses Joseph to interpret the dreams of two fellow inmates. (One goes on to prosperity, and the other is impaled on a pole.)
* Joseph becomes the original Charlie Sheen in Wallstreet (is this too dated a reference?) rising straight to the top of the power/wealth chain when he gives Pharaoh some pretty sweet insider information, and Pharaoh appoints him to be in charge of the entire kingdom.
* Because of famine, and because Joseph is the man with the plan (and food) his brothers come to him (not recognizing him), bowing at his feet (ring a bell?) begging to buy food for their families back home in Canaan.
* In retrospect, maybe you should just watch Act I of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  It’s filled with lavish musical numbers, elaborate stage sets, and fantastically flamboyant costumes.  Other than that, it’s exactly the same as what you just read.

Day 16
Daily Reading: Genesis 42-45:15

Alright, so Joseph’s brothers took brotherly harassment to a new level.  But it’s turning out the Bible knows how to spin one heck of a great story, and Joseph is about to take the idea of “getting even” to new heights.  Joseph wants revenge, but he’s not out for blood, and it should be mentioned he seems slightly bi-polar.  So what’s his approach?  Mind games.

Phase one kicks off with some serious interrogation.  After grilling his brothers he accuses them of being liars and spies.  For phase two, Joseph throws them all in jail for three days.  Then he demands they go back home, and return to Egypt with their youngest brother Benjamin.  He ties up his brother Simeon, and holds him as ransom.  But just to keep them on their toes, he fills up their grain sacks, and secretly returns the money they used to purchase the grain, which they find later, and which really stresses them out.

Their father Jacob starts freaking out, refuses to let Benjamin go to Egypt, and plays the famous dad card telling his idiot children that they will be the death of him.  As the famine continues their grain runs out again.  (Let’s pause quickly and remember their brother Simeon has been tied up in prison, completely disregarded by his family this whole time.)  So Jacob relents and sends his sons with Benjamin back to Egypt.

Phase three of Joseph’s mind games includes him inviting his brothers to eat in the palace.  (They’re pretty much convinced they’re in serious trouble.  You know that crazy intense scene in Inglorious Basterds where the movie theater lady is dining with that General, and she has to pretend to be enjoying herself, even though she’s pretty much convinced he’s just toying with her and planning on destroying her life completely any minute?  It’s like that.)

After eating, Joseph initiates phase four, where he gives his brothers more grain and sends them on their way, but not before stashing his silver cup in their luggage, and instructing his servant to stop them, and accuse them of stealing from him.  Everything goes according to plan and upon returning to the palace under the charge of theft, Joseph declares the one who stoles the cup will now be his slave.  After hearing his brother Judah cry out for mercy, Joseph breaks down and reveals himself to his brothers.  Then he weeps loud enough that everyone in the palace hears him.  (This is my favorite part because this Bible “hero” is clearly a regular dude, with some emotional instability, who is looking for a little personal justice, thinking it will bring him peace.  Now this is a guy I can relate to).  Finally he invites his whole family to come to Egypt to live with him.

You know, as I think about this, Joseph is like a real life Willy Wonka.  He’s in charge of a crazy place.  He’s (probably) wearing some weirdo outfit (just think about how the pharaohs looked).  His favorite gift to give to his guests is a few rounds of mental torture.  He’s an emotional wreck (I’m reading in between the lines for Mr. Wonka here, but I think it’s still pretty obvious) and he eventually invites a family to move in and live with him in his fantastical palace.  The only difference is they replaced grain with chocolate and a silver cup with golden tickets.  Oh, and they added orange midgets.

Yup.  This is indeed some crazy stuff.

Get Ready to Rumble!

What You’ve Missed…
* God tells Jacob to go back to his homeland in a dream that features a lot of horny goats.
* Laban (the father-in-law) gets all angry and yells at Jacob who gets all whiny and yells at Laban.
* The men resolve their differences the same way my brothers and I did on long family car trips…they drew an imaginary line between themselves and agreed not to cross into each others’ territory.  (I hope it worked better for them, because that line only lasted about three seconds in our family.)
* Jacob and his thousands of animals, thirteen children and four wives, all head home.  (Speaking of long family trips…this sounds miserable, and without a Stuckey’s in sight.)

Day 12
Daily Reading: Genesis 32-35

In sixth grade I took nine weeks of Latin.  I don’t remember much of anything during that time, mostly because I spent that period punching myself in the face because of the horror that is Latin.  The rest of the time I was lost in thought puzzling out how some of my classmates had found a way to start growing facial hair.  However, in the few seconds I did pay attention, I remember the teacher telling us all about the Greek gods…and how they came down to Earth to mess with people.  They would sleep with them, fall in love with them, torture them or even fight them.  I remember thinking it was ridiculous that people used to actually believe that stuff.  Well, just like the rest of middle school, turns out the joke was on me.

Apparently Christianity has its own crazy story of God coming down to find someone to pick a fight with.  One night Jacob is hanging out all alone when out of nowhere a dude walks up and just starts fighting him for no reason.  Apparently this is the cultural norm at the time because Jacob goes along and wrestles the guy all night long without ever asking what they’re fighting about.  As morning approaches the mystery attacker realizes he isn’t going to win.  So what does he do?  He pulls out the mother-of-all pressure point moves and touches Jacob’s hip, wrenching it out of its socket.  If this were me you’d better believe I’d immediately be in the fetal position, which, let’s be honest, I probably already would’ve been in anyway…but not Jacob…the dude isn’t even phased.  He continues to wrestle so hard, he gets other guy cry “uncle”.

Short story even shorter, turns out the guy was God.  (Did you catch that?  Jacob got God to cry “uncle”.  I can barely handle a pair of jumper cables, and this guy got God to cry “uncle.”)  God goes on to bless Jacob and gives him a new name saying, “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” (Gen. 32:28)

So let me get this straight.  Jacob is doing his thing, and God walks by and just…jumps him?  He’s sees Jacob and decides to just start wailing on him?  And even though he clearly has Mortal Kombat fighting capabilities, he lets Jacob win?  Then He gives him a blessing (along with a serious limp)?  Why?  What is God doing here?  It all just seems so…unnecessary, so…bizarre.

And why is the Bible so casual about the whole thing?  This is God, the Almighty Creator, allowing himself to literally be manhandled by some regular Joe Schmo.  Why is the author not having his mind completely blown?  This is THE Pay Per View fight of the millennium, and it comes across as an amusing anecdote that probably turned Jacob into the ultimate one-upper.

And if this was God in the form of a man…was it Jesus that was wrestling?  Could He just not wait a couple more years for WWE and simply had to come on down to get His wrestle on?  Was the point to show us He can dominate us whenever He wants, but that His real desire is to interact with us?  To roll around in the dirt, gettin’ into the nitty gritty with us?

I just don’t know what to do with this, other than be glad it wasn’t me because the last time I was in a fight was with Duane Terry in seventh grade where we both threw one punch, we both missed, and we both decided to call it a draw.  And that was the best I could do against an uncoordinated seventh grader…let alone God.

(On a completely separate note…for some interesting reading check out Genesis 34.  It’s insane.  Two of Jacob’s sons wipe out all the men of a nearby town because the prince raped their sister.  The best part is before they killed everyone, Jacob’s sons made the men circumcise themselves first.  C’mon, that’s just mean.)

The Original Sister Wives or Baby Mama Drama

What You’ve Missed…
*Abraham turns 100 and his wife Sarah finally has the baby she’s been praying for and names him Isaac.
*God later tells Abraham to kill Isaac, his only son, as a holy sacrifice.  (I’d have a hard enough time sacrificing my dog if God asked.)
At the last minute God stops Abraham.  Turns out it was just a test, and Abraham passed.  (I immediately become grateful for the SATs for the first time ever.)
*Everything God promised to Abraham, he also promises to Isaac.
*Isaac marries Rebekah and has twins, Esau and Jacob, one of which may be an Ewok.
*To wrap things up, turns out Jacob is totally shady, and kind of a complete jerk, when he tricks his blind and elderly father by having Isaac give him God’s blessing which was supposed to be given to his brother Esau.  Also, his mom helped him formulate this whole plan. (I always had a feeling that a mother’s second child was always her favorite.)
Day 10
Daily Reading
Genesis 28-30:24

So Jacob is wandering around figuring out his life when God promises him the same things He promised his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham; tons of descendants, tons of land, blessings, yadda yadda yadda…Jacob seems pumped about the whole deal.

Later Jacob goes to visit his uncle Laban and ends up meeting his cousin Rachel who turns out to be a foxy, foxy lady.  Real foxy.  The Bible actually goes out of its way to tell us that this chick is not just beautiful, but has a bangin’ body.

“Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face.”  (Gen. 29:17)

Jacob knows what he wants, and he wants Rachel.  He agrees to work for Laban for seven years in exchange for Rachel.  Now, there are tons of fine women out there in the world today…and I don’t know a single dude who would work for seven years, without pay, to have one as a wife.  Clearly Rachel had it goin’ on!  So seven years passes and Jacob is ready to get busy.  He approaches his uncle and gets straight to business saying, “I have fulfilled my agreement, now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.”  And so he does.

SURPRISE!  Turns out ol’ Laban pulled a fast one on his nephew and sent Jacob his oldest daughter Leah instead (who Jacob doesn’t really care for, probably because she had  “dull eyes”, which I imagine is the Bible’s polite way of telling us Leah was about as attractive as a cow).  A week later Laban gives Jacob Rachel as his second wife (and gets Jacob to agree to another seven years of work.  How hot was this chick?)

And it is at this point that the two sisters, Leah and Rachel, battle it out hardcore for their husband’s affection.  There’s more outrage happening here than Chuck Liddell could ever muster up in a UFC match.  And how do these two women fight for Jacob’s affection?  By having as many of his kids as they can.  Let the Great Middle Eastern Baby Battle Begin!

Turns out Rachel can’t have kids, and Leah can…giving Jacob four kids and taking an early lead.  But filled with jealousy, and not to be outdone, Rachel has Jacob sleep with her maidservant who produced two kids for Jacob.

Rachel – 2
Leah – 4

Leah seems to be hitting a dry spell, so she has Jacob sleep with her maidservant who gives him two more sons.

Rachel – 2
Leah – 6

God jumps in Leah’s corner, bringing her out of the dry spell and provides Jacob with two more sons and a daughter.

Rachel – 2
Leah – 9

Finally God throws a little compassion Rachel’s way and she becomes pregnant for the first time, giving Jacob a son named Joseph.

According to my count, the final tally is:
Rachel – 3
Leah – 9

Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  We have a winner!  And it’s Leah by six kids!

Even though Leah won the World’s Greatest Birthing Contest of all-time, Jacob still always loved Rachel more.  Which just goes to show that ladies, if you want to impress your husband, shootin’ out kids left and right may not be the best approach.   (Unless you’re a member of Sister Wives, in which case this is probably your favorite Bible story.)  I’d just suggest letting your husband play Xbox from time to time, and easing up on all that nose hair trimming commentary.  Oh, and more make-outs.  Dudes love the make-outs.

(Final note: As I look back over this story…I have come to the conclusion that all of Jacob’s fourteen years of hard work for one woman paid of in spades.  This guy ended up with women not only fighting to sleep with him, but offering him more women to sleep with on their behalf.  Maybe it’s time I re-examine my work ethic.)