Translation from the Book

Ὁ Θεός στήν Παλαιά Διαθήκη, Βοήθημα Κατωτέρου Κατηχητικοῦ Α΄,

ἐκδ. «Χριστιανική Ἐλπίς» Ὀρθόδοξη Ἀδελφότητα, Θεσσαλονίκη 2015, σσ. 60-65


Genesis 25:19-34; chs 27-33

  The faithful Abraham miraculously had a son, Isaac, in his old age. After that, he lived many more years with God's blessing and enjoyed his son’s marriage. Isaac married the pious Rebekah. She was from Mesopotamia -Abraham's homeland- and believed in the one true God. But she couldn't have a child. They were childless. Rebekah and Isaac prayed fervently. They both asked God for a miracle, just like Abraham and Sarah. God heard their prayer. Rebekah gave birth to two twin boys, Esau and Jacob.
  Esau was born first; therefore, he was called the “firstborn”. According to the customs of the time, he would inherit most of his father's property, and above all, he would receive, the most precious inheritance, that great blessing which God bestowed on Abraham: Ηis promise that all nations on earth would be blessed through his offspring, since Christ would come from his generation.
  Esau was very glad that he was the firstborn because he would inherit his father's great property, his many animals and his vast fields. Jacob also wanted the birthright but not for the inheritance. He didn't care about that at all. He believed and loved God so much that he longed for His blessing; that special blessing that God gave to his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac. Jacob valued this inheritance above all else.
  One day Esau returned home from hunting. He was very hungry. He saw the steaming lentils that Jacob had cooked and said to him:
  - Give me some of your food, for I am starving!
  Jacob immediately seized the opportunity and answered him:
  - Sell me your birthright today and I'll give you to eat.
  - I am starving, and you are talking to me about the birthright! “What good is my birthright to me now?” Take it!
  Esau replied, rashly and flippantly. He preferred to exchange God's blessing for a plate of hot lentils!
  God was displeased by Esau's behavior. And He did not give him His blessing. Instead, He gave it to Jacob for his great faith. How? When Isaac was an old man, at an age when he could not see well, instead of giving his blessing to Esau, he gave it to Jacob.
  Esau became angry, because he thought he would lose his father's property. He even wanted to kill his brother. Jacob, however, having God's great blessing, quitclaimed the fields and the livestock to Esau and went away from him.
  He walked alone with a stick in his hand. But God was with him. He never leaves the faithful alone. He revealed Himself in a miraculous way in order to give Jacob courage.
 climax Jacob When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones, he put it under his head as a pillow and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven. God’s angels were ascending and descending on it. He heard a voice saying: “I am the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be countless like the sand. All people on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I will be with you and watch over you wherever you go. I will help you return to your homeland one day.”
  When Jacob woke up, full of awe, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it. This is God’s house, since this is the gate of heaven.” He prayed there and continued his journey courageously. He felt safe because he was sure that God was with him.
  He went to Mesopotamia and stayed there for many years. He worked hard with his uncle Laban. He raised a family, had many children and a large fortune. One day he decided to return with his family to his homeland, Canaan. But he was worried about his brother: Would Esau accept him? Would he still be angry? However, he trusted God and started the journey of return with his whole family. He always remembered God’s promise, that one day He would bring him back to his homeland. God, who watched over faithful Jacob, encouraged him in a strange way.
  One night, a stranger appeared before Jacob and began to wrestle with him. They fought all night long until the morning. Then the stranger stopped fighting and said to Jacob: “From now on your name will not be Jacob but Israel, which means “strong”. You have shown your strength tonight. You have fought with God and defeated him!”
  God allowed this strange struggle to assure Jacob that He was with him and gave him His power. So, there was no reason to fear Esau. Indeed, with God’s help Jacob was able to reconcile with his brother. He settled again in the land of Canaan. And he remained faithful to the one and only true God, without being influenced by the pagans who dwelt around him. He worshipped God like his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac. Therefore, he became a patriarch like them. Twelve tribes came from his twelve sons, forming a whole nation, known in history by three names: a) Hebrews; from Abraham's ancestor Eber, b) Israelites; from Jacob's second name “Israel” and c) Jews; from Jacob’s son Judah to whom God gave Abraham’s blessing. The Messiah, our savior Christ, was born from Judah’s descendants.

Strong with God

  God rewards the faith of His children. Jacob believed and loved Him with all his heart, and God gave him His blessing, His living presence, His power! Ιf only we could always feel God beside us, too! If we have strong faith, we will see Him with the eyes of our soul (cf. Heb 11:1)! And then, we have nothing to fear. We can overcome all hardships and problems. With God beside us we are strong.
  For example, a tree can be so small that you can grab it with your hands and pull it up. It will bend at the first gust of wind. But if its trunk is tied to a sturdy stake, the wind will not break it. It will stay upright. Just like that, everyone who is close to God, does not break down from the problems and difficulties.
  God, who even takes care of the little birds, will never leave someone who believes and loves Him. He is our heavenly Father. When we face a failure, a family problem, an illness, we can find shelter in His arms. We can trust ourselves and our beloved ones in His mighty and tender hands!


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