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Friday, December 14, 2012

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Have We Reached Our Expiration Date? By Linda P. Kozar

"A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished." Proverbs 27:12 

Is This The End, My Friend?

You may have noticed a plethora of apocalyptic TV shows airing, all in anticipation of the Mayan prediction of the end of the world at midnight, December 21st, 2012.

With that date in mind, a ground swell of doomsdayers are prepping and preparing to protect hearth and home, not only with food and medical supplies, but with guns and ammunition. The reason--anything from national emergencies, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, to end of the world scenarios. But when does prepping transform into hoarding and avarice? And how much is too much?

There's no argument that people should prepare for these scenarios (with the exception of alien and zombie attacks--C'mon now).

I've lived through enough hurricanes to realize the wisdom in keeping an emergency cabinet. There's even advice about preparing in Proverbs 6:6:

"Go to the aunt, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise.
Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler,
She provides her supplies in the summer.
And gathers her food in the harvest."

Of course, back in ancient times people had to lay up food in the summer to get them through the winter. Food was stored up in times of plenty to prevent starvation in times of drought and famine or times when war made agriculture impossible. That same logic, when applied to modern case scenarios begs the question, "Why not lay up food for the possibility of hard economic times to come, or to temporarily provide nourishment and creature comforts through natural or man-made disasters?" Many people are stocking their homes with that very purpose in mind.

But others are stocking away food and supplies for an extinction event.

Extinction Event

Just what is an extinction event?

An Extinction-Level Event or ELE, is a period in time when a large number of species die out above and beyond the normal background level, events not caused by changes in habitat or competition. ELEs are caused by catastrophic events (meteors, super volcanoes, etc.)

There have been five mass extinction events throughout the earth’s history: Ordovician/Silurian (450-440 Ma), Late Devonian (375-360 Ma), Permian/Triassic (251), Triassic/Jurrasic (205) and Cretaceous/Paleogene (65.5).

Preppers call such an event: TEOTWAWKI, an acronym for "The End Of The World As We Know It."

And some people are forecasting a sixth extinction event. Here are some of the ways scientists and end-time theorists are predicting the world might come to an end:

  • Asteroid Impact
  • Comet Collision
  • Orbital Obliteration (Orbits out of whack)
  • Pandemic (Bird Flu, etc.)
  • Terrorism
  • Antimatter (from Particle Accelerators)
  • The Machines Take Over (Computers/Robots become sentient)
  • Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) (The Sun goes all supernova on us)
  • Gamma Ray Bursts
  • Global Warming or Cooling
  • Loss of Biodiversity
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Solar Storm
  • Alien Invasion (Little Green Men with BIG eyes)
  • Supervolcano (Caldera)
  • Geomagnetic Reversal (Polar Shift)
  • Nuclear War
  • Artificial Black Hole
  • Zombie Attack (Really?)
  • The X Factor (Unknown Cause)
  • Judgment Day

Wow! Some of these predictions require a lot of imagination to entertain the thought (I'm picking on the zombie thing again). If I've left any out, please don't judge. I know there are more apocalyptic options, but I had to stop somewhere.

And while we're on zombies, for those of you who actually believe in such a thing, I might as well mention that aside from the resurrection at the end of the age, the dead will not rise, nor will they be hungry for human flesh. Corpses cannot utilize any of the five senses. They can't see or hear possible prey. They can't taste or digest. The neurons aren't firing in their brains. Their muscles and joints would no longer function, so shambling around, or any movement at all would be out of the question. Did I mention rigor mortis? Bloating? Aside from all that, insects and bacteria would make short work of the "living" dead. So there...

Many people have prepped way beyond their emergency cabinets and pantries. Their bedrooms, secret rooms and garages are full of food, gas masks, HazMat suits, weapons, seeds, tools and much more.

Hoarders typically fill their home and property with "stuff," eventually cramping their living space to the point where they are not able to move about freely. They believe they will use the items to scavenge and store someday.

If you're house is not so much a home as a storage facility, you might have a problem. You might have made the leap from prepper to hoarder.

Those who watch the NatGeo show, Doomsday Preppers on TV really get an eye and earful of what some people are doing to prepare. They are building huge compounds to house their families and friends, underground bunkers (some in abandoned missile silos or in caves deep underground), storing massive caches of food in a variety of locations, stockpiling medical supplies, weaponry and ordnance. And many of these structures are booby-trapped. One man even booby-trapped extra food supplies by lacing them with poison. Can you imagine a group of starving, desperate people--men, women and little children devouring those supplies only to perish?

Christians and TEOTWAWKI:

For Christians, the last ELE is of most importance. It is also the only event which has any meaning and it is definitely not a true extinction event (except for sin)! Funny, if you check out all the apocalyptic websites and forums, the return of Jesus Christ to judge the quick and the dead isn't at the top of the list.

Preparing for disasters is the smart thing to do. It's also the right thing to do, but obsession with prepping borders mental illness and certainly ventures into the area of sin. Now hear me out...

Prepping and Avarice

You might have read about the "Seven Deadly Sins" listed at various places in the Bible: Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.

Greed is also known as avarice or covetousness and like lust and gluttony, is a sin of excess. It expresses an excessive desire and pursuit of wealth, status and power. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was "a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things." Greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth.

Yet God proves over and over in the Bible that He is well able to provide for His people.

In 1 Kings 17: 1-4, Elijah prophesied the Word of God to all the people that a drought would be over the land. God commanded him to hide by the Brook Cherith, drink there and receive food from the ravens, whom God commanded to bring him food. And that is exactly what happened.

Later, in 1 Kings 19: 5-8, Elijah was despondent.  After a showdown with the false prophets of Queen Jezebel, she wanted Elijah dead, so he had to flee into the wilderness. Depressed and without resources, he prayed that he might die and fell asleep under a broom tree. He awoke to the touch of an angel who said, "Arise and eat." Then he looked , and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water." He ate twice and was sustained by that heavenly food for forty days and nights.

And remember the widow and her young son in 1 Kings 17:16? "The bin of flour was not used up, not did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah." God can keep provisions flowing, bring you to food or bring the food to YOU

God is well able to provide for His people. "A good man gives an inheritance to his grandchildren and the wealth of sinners is kept for the righteous" (Aramaic Bible in plain english). Though we are prudent to prepare for emergencies and disasters, there is no guarantee the things we have stored up will survive such scenarios or be accessible to us.

But should we worry and wring our hands together over the future? Proverbs 15:15 “All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil (by anxious thoughts and forebodings), but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast (regardless of circumstances).

The Book of Revelation is the last book of the bible. God's unerring and eternal Word that reveals to us how the end of the world as we know it, will conclude. There will be a time of great tribulation, such as the world has never known. At some point during the tribulation, believers will be raptured, taken up (harpazos) to heaven with Christ. 

This is the sticking point with many Christians who ask "Will we have to go through part or all of the tribulation?" If so, many wonder how and where they would live without taking the mark of the beast (who will require every person to take his mark--name or number--on their body in order to buy, sell or trade. Imagine this situation for a moment. If you were suddenly unable to buy, sell or trade, how could you buy groceries? Pay your mortgage? Buy gas? The answer is, you would not be able to. You and your family would be forced to bug out--to retreat into the wilderness to survive. And you would eventually be pursued, hunted down by the world government, totally under the control of the antichrist.

But as I pointed out earlier in this discourse, God is well able to take care of His people, prepared or not. Elijah was not a prepper. He was a pray-er!

We know from the Book of Revelation that almost all of the scenarios listed above will come to pass in the destruction of the heavens and the earth. We know that an asteroid or meteorite named "Wormwood" (Revelation 8:11) will be on a collision course with earth. It will poison the water supply. Most of the sea life and animal life will perish. Plants will die off. There will be wars, bombs, fires, floods, solar flares, volcanoes, earthquakes, starvation, plagues and suffering. Those who are left on the earth till the bitter end, will ask the mountains to fall on them so they can put an end to their suffering. "And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb" Revelation 6:16.

Jesus, the Lion of Judah will return and put a swift end to Armageddon. The antichrist and false prophet will be destroyed. Satan and all his fallen angels will be vanquished forevermore. The righteous will be taken away to heaven. Unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment and cast into Hell. Revelation 21:1 states: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. . ." The Holy City of Jerusalem will descend out of heaven with God to the new earth. 
To a believer, the end of the world is a good thing. The end of the temporal world will usher in the eternal reign of Christ who will sit at the right hand of the Father, ruling a new heaven and a new earth. In heaven there will be no more tears, no more strife--no more sin and the destruction that results from it.

The Seven Deadly Sins can be counteracted by the daily choices we make.  Instead of puffing up with  pride in yourself, be humble; instead of hoarding food for your own use, collect and share food with homeless shelters or your church's food pantry. Substitute love for envy, kindness for wrath and self-control instead of lust. Don't be a glutton--eat sensibly instead. And substitute a pure zeal for God and His call on your life instead of being lazy and slothful. 

People have wondered about the end of the world since the beginning of the world. Remember Noah?The poet, Robert Frost pondered the end of the world, sharing his thoughts on the matter in the poem below. Whatever you believe about doomsday, the world will surely end at some point. And you'd better be ready on some level, but the most important preparation to make is to ask Jesus into your heart if you haven't already done so. Salvation is the only prep you'll need for eternal life with God.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Truth About Angels--By Linda Kozar

Turn on the television, listen to the radio or tap into Facebook conversations and guess what you’ll hear a lot about? Angels. 

There is a fascination with angels in our present-day society. Remember the show, "Touched by an Angel?" My girls and I used to put a flashlight behind out heads and then say something we hoped was profound. Then, switch on the light. Kind of fun but kind of a spoof.

The Hebrew word for angel is mal’ach and the Greek word is angelos. Both mean "messenger" and describe one who executes the purpose and will of the one they serve.

Unfallen angels are also referred to as Holy Ones. They are:
1. Created without flaw or sin
2. Holy because of their purpose and set apart by God as his servants and attendants to His holiness.

Some believers do claim to have had encounters with angels. The Bible does refer to such encounters:

(Ps. 91:11 For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands. Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

 Matt. 4:11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.)

So why is everyone so interested in angels?

Part of the explanation could be a search for the meaning of life—for answers that are not to be found in cold rationale or through intellectual pursuit. And of course New Age, Cults and the Occult traffic in their own concept of angels. Truth be told, most people would rather believe in angels than in God. They would prefer the substitute of heavenly celestial beings watching over them than bowing their knee to the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Mystical, supernatural, spiritual—our society seems fascinated with exploring the idea of angels amongst us without benefit of consulting the Word of God:

Ephesians 2:12 …that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 4:17-19 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hear; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Angels are:

Sons of God--

In their holy state the unfallen angels are called this. 

Created beings--

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth and all the host of them, were finished. 

Created by God--

Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 


Luke 20:36—(They are eternal). …nor can they die anymore for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God being sons of the resurrection.

Job 38:1-Have been around from the world’s beginning.

Do Not Marry--

Matt 22:30—For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 

Luke 1:34-35 The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and their resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage.

Are Wise--

2 Sam 14:17—Angels are wise and intelligent. Your maidservant said, The word of my lord and the king will now be comforting: for as the angel of God, so is my lord the kind in discerning food and evil.

Have knowledge and interest in the affairs of man--

Dan 9:21-22—"…yes while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.

Can Fly And Travel Great Distances Fast--

Dan 10:14, Luke 15:10-- Dan 9:21,  Rev 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue and people.

Surround the Lord--

Host is the Hebrew word “tsaba“ meaning army, armies, hosts. A military term and carries the idea of warfare--the armies of heaven.

Ps 89:6, 8, O Lord God of Hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds you. 

1 Sam 1:11, 17:45. Then David said to the Philistine, You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled. 

Guardian Angels

Does each and every believer have a guardian angel?  It is commonly believed, but where’s the proof?

We may have more than one guardian angel. Jesus had a multitude of angels surrounding Him.

Luke 22:43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.

Matt. 26:53 Or do you thing that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?

Angels can be visible or invisible and take the form of man:

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it--Luke 13:1-2.


Angels are messengers of God, powerful, they protect us, encamp all around us, keep us from falling or getting hurt, even strengthen and minister to mankind.

Heb 1:7 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: Let all the angels of God worship Him. And of the angels he says: Who makes His angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire. 14, Ps 34:7, 91: 10-13, 103:21)

When a believer dies, their own angel(s) brings their spirit to heaven in the presence of God. Matt 18:10

Types of Angels:

Seraphim Is 6:1-7 each with 6 wings. With 2 they covered his face, with two they covered his feet and flew with the other two (Is 6:1-4)

Cherubim Gen 3:24, Ezek 1:5-28

Zoa (living creatures) Rev. 4:6, 5:14

Archangels--Chief angels who rule kingdoms and planets Col 1:15-18, 1 Th 4:16, Jude 9

Michael—One of the chief princes, the prince of Israel Dan 10:13, 21, 11:1

Gabriel—who stands before God Dan 8:16-19, 9:20-23

Lucifer—the original ruler of the planet earth and present pseudo-ruler of man’s dominion on earth Is 14:12-14 Ezek 28:11-17

Some angels created to give continuous praise and worship (Ez 10:9-20)

Angels Are:

Glorious--Immortal--Powerful and mighty in body--Heavenly spirit beings--Need no rest--Can appear visible and invisible--Operate in the material realm--Created by Christ--Not to be worshipped--Are organized into principalities and powers with thrones--Are subject to God--Are interested in earthly affairs--Observe us--Can cook--Wear garments--Appear unawares--Have been tested--Dwell in heaven--Stand before God

Angels for certain churches ant church ages Rev. 1:20

Angels are strong!  (Rev 18:21). Carrying out a death penalty for God on a king (Acts 12:20-25). Peter’s own angel freed him from prison (Acts 12).  

We all go through crisis, where we feel like God has abandoned us—that we are encamped about by evil and bad news and there’s no hope for us at all. I challenge you to remember that scripture, that there are more who are with us than those who are against us. You can’t see what God is doing on your behalf. You can’t see his invisible armies around you and your family. You have no idea that your prayers are carried to heaven and the answers come back by his faithful messengers. But you don’t have to see. . .

In the world, seeing is believing, but to Christians, believing is seeing. We walk by faith, not by sight. Fear not, confess your fears and anxieties silently to the Lord right now. Just take a few minutes to tell confess to the Lord that you haven’t trusted Him. You gave in to your fears or disappointments and discouragements or terror and you had a lapse in faith. And then I want you to confess your faith in the Lord again Tell Him you trust Him to take care of you and your family and everyone you pray for. Don’t wake up in fear or shake with terror. Ask for help and believe that He’s sending it. Whether He sends one angel or a whole legion, your help is on the way and will be more than enough to defeat the plans of the enemy! AMEN.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crepes Sue Jan

The second book in my When the Fat Ladies Sing mystery series, A Tisket, A Casket is set in a French cooking school in Paris, Texas and features some delicious classic French recipes.

Dessert Crepes are perfectly delicious and easier to make than you think. I like to make a big batch of crepes (thin French pancakes).

With 3/4ths of the crepes I make a crepe casserole with shredded roast chicken and mushrooms. I make desserts with the remaining crepes. Spread each crepe with Nutella (hazelnut spread)  and fill with sliced strawberries and kiwi's and bananas. Fold over. Spritz a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Basic Crepe formula: (For 20 crepes 5-1/2 in. across)
1 cup of flour (sifted)
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp of melted butter

Add flour to a 2 quart bowl. Whisk in by dribbles 2/3 cup milk and 2/3 cup of water until smoothly blended. Then whisk in 3 large eggs, 1/4 tsp salt and 3 tbls melted butter.

Use a nonstick pan, preferably a special crepe pan. (You can find them in discount stores for under $10). Heat the pan until drops of water dance and sputter on it, then brush lightly with butter.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the hot pan and tilt it in all directions. After 30 seconds or so, bottom of crepe will be browned.

Shake pan to dislodge the crepe, then turn it over with your fingers. Cook briefly on the other side, which won't cook as evenly.

Cool crepes individually on a rack before stacking. Cooked crepes will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge in a sealed plastic bag and they freeze well too.

Bon appétit!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Real Housewives Of The OT--"Leah" by Linda P. Kozar


"Daddy deceived, I conceived, Jacob was peeved."

Leah was the daughter of Laban and the older sister of Rachel. Leah is Jacob’s first cousin, the eldest niece of Rebecca. Family ties now established, let's move on to the good stuff!

Her name, "Leah," pronounced (lay-ah) means "cow." How can a name that sounds so pretty mean "cow?" But it does. By the way, her sister Rachel's name means "ewe." Now in Rachel's case, her name sort of fit because Genesis 30:9 states "...Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepardess." But Leah's name means cow, and cows are a symbol of fertility in Mesopotamia. 

Divine Pairing?

You might not be aware of this, but Leah was originally supposed to marry Esau, not Jacob. Laban had two daughters and Rachel had two sons, therefore it was assumed that the eldest would marry the eldest, and the younger, would marry the younger. The two bachelor brothers could not have been more different. Jacob was a smooth-skinned, tent-dwelling, God-fearing scholar, and Esau was a red-headed hunter, wearing a perpetual hair sweater, who loved all manner of fleshly pursuits. 

If you remember from our earlier lesson on Rebekah, Esau plotted to murder his own brother for "stealing" his birthright. He also engaged in idolatry with his pagan wives and comitted spiritual adultery as well.  Esau sold his birthright and that of all his descendants for the immediate sensual (flesh-pleasing) satisfaction of a bowl of soup. Setting the tone for his descendants, this behavior is later evident in the many spiritual adulteries of Israel. His thoughts were not high thoughts. Esau responded to his flesh, not his spirit, which explains why Leah was grossed out by him. That and the fact that his hairy body made him look like a "squatch" (short for Sasquatch).  Some scholars say Leah spent a lot of time weeping and praying to God to change her designated mate. Were her eyes red and puffy and irritated from all the crying? Hmmm.

Jacob gained the birthright blessing from his father through deception and had to leave or be killed by his brother Esau. Rachel sent him to her brother Laban and, as fate would have it, just as Rebecca was discovered by the well, Jacob meets Rachel by the well. Rachel was described as "beautiful of form and appearance" (Genesis 29:17).

She's Got Betty Davis Eyes. . .

But according to the Torah, Leah "had tender eyes.” Genesis 29:17. By "tender," does the Torah mean delicate and soft, or weary? Some commentators suggest she had blue or light-colored eyes. But the Hebrew word, rakkoth means sickly, bleary, or delicate. Perhaps her eyes were mentioned because they were her only good feature, or perhaps her worst! But there was a definite weakness when it came to the look of Leah’s eyes.  Rachel, is described as looking beautiful--the super model of the family. Sometimes people have a lazy or crossed eye, or sometimes eyes that are big and bulging, etc.  Which kind of makes you wonder if Leah looked like a female version of Marty Feldman. In any case, her eyes were not attractive, and are mentioned as a detriment to her looks. 

Deception follows us. Jacob and his mother Rebekah sought to claim the blessing of the firstborn by deception instead of trusting God to achieve the end result His way. We often do the same. A little lie here, a tiny exaggeration there. But unrepented lies come back to bite us and to Jacob as well. His father-in-law deceived him in much the same way Jacob had deceived his own father. Jacob covered his arms with fur to mimic his brother's arms. Laban employs a veil to cover Leah's face.

Laban agrees to Jacob marrying his youngest daughter Rachel if he agrees to work for him for seven years. On the wedding night however, he deceives Jacob and sends a veiled Leah instead. Laban tries to defend his deception by stating it is uncustomary to give the younger daughter away before the older. Laban offers to give Rachel to Jacob in return for another seven years of work. He marries Rachel after the week-long celebration of his marriage to Leah.

His father-in-law covered the head of his eldest daughter Leah with a veil. Lies, untruths and deceptions are veils covering the truth. Jacob deceived his father to achieve the birthright of the firstborn, but he too is deceived and marries the firstborn, who according to custom, must be wedded before the younger.

But even though Leah might not have been considered attractive physically, "When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren." (Genesis 29:31). God chose Leah, blessed her and answered her prayers.  So, although Leah’s was not considered to be attractive, and was not loved by Jacob in the way he loved Rachel, she was indeed the most blessed in the end.  “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

Sister Wives

Leah had six of Jacob’s sons—Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah (first four), then Issachar and Zebulon and a daughter Dinah. Perhaps in the naming of her sons, she hopes to gain favor. 
Rachel, on the other hand, could not conceive so gives her handmaid Bildah to Jacob. She has Dan and Naphtali. Leah, not to be outdone, offers her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob and she has two sons, Gad and Asher. Some commentaries say that Bildad and Zilpah were half-sisters to Rachel and Leah.

One day Reuben returned from the field with mandrakes for his mother. Leah had not conceived for a while and this plant which resembles the human body was thought in ancient times, to be an aid to fertility. Rachel offered to trade her night with Jacob for the mandrakes. Leah announced to Jacob that she has “hired” him with the mandrakes she traded to Rachel, and Jacob spent the night with her, Gen 30:14–17 "And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son." 

In fact, Leah gave birth to two more sons—Issachar (“God has given me my hire”) and Zebulon (“now my husband will honor me”)—as well as a daughter, Dinah (Gen 30:17–21). After that, God remembered Rachel and she gave birth to Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob showed clear favoritism to his two sons by Rachel--just as he had seen his own parents show favoritism, his mother Rebekah to him and his father Isaac to Esau.

Leah went through life, knowing her husband loved her sister, Rachel first and foremost. How she must have longed to live one day in her sister's sandals, to see the adoring look in Jacob's eyes, to feel the glow in her heart, the secure feeling of being in love. But Leah lived her entire life in a loveless marriage. 

Always conscious of the fact that though she was first wife, Leah was his second choice. Jacob loved Rachel.  Genesis 29:30 says that "Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, but he must not have disliked her too much based on the number of children they had together. God had promised Jacob many sons Genesis 28:14, but Jacob fell in love with Rachel. The plan would never have been carried out with just her. God had His plans! He answered Leah’s prayers for a different husband, and gave her many sons, though she never received the love she so desperately wanted. Instead of the love of her husband, she gained his respect, the respect of the nation of Israel, and a place in God's Word.

She named her first son Reuben, her next son Simeon (“God heard that I am unloved”), the third one Levi (“now my husband will become attached to me for I have borne him three son”), and the fourth one Judah (“Now I will praise the Lord”). At this point Rachel is jealous, and has her maid Bilhah give birth to two sons; Leah, no longer fertile, responds by having her own maid Zilpah bear two sons (Gen 30:9–13; 35:26; 46:18).

Did Jacob Hate Leah?

Some commentaries claim that Jacob hated Leah. Once Jacob is married to both wives, the Torah says that he, "loved Rachel even more than Leah" (Genesis 29:30). The first verse does not imply Jacob hated Leah, but that he had a deeper, natural connection to Rachel because, as explained above, their match was divinely ordained from the start. 

Jacob's continued second-rate regard for Leah apparently never ended however. Years later, when he was about to meet his brother Esau for the first time since their bitter parting Jacob considered that Esau would attack with his 400 men (Genesis 32:6), so he put Leah and her children near the front of the line, and kept Rachel and her children safely in the rear (Genesis 33:2).

Leah gave Jacob six sons and a daughter. Half of the twelve tribes of Israel came from her body alone! And two more from her maidservant!

Although she had not been part of Jacob's plans, Leah was a most important component in God's plan, for from her body leapt the royal and priestly bloodlines of the realm. Leah's third son, Levi, became the first of Israel's priests and in the line--Moses, Aaron, Zachary, and John the Baptist. Her fourth son, Judah, was the ancestor of the house of David, the kingly family, including ‘Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ’ (Matthew 1:16). God by no means sanctions deception, but He salvages the results of sin as an instrument of His providence.

Leah did not play the kind of role in determining the fate of her sons that Rebekah and Sarah did. Was it due to her insecure position? She and Rachel though co-wives, were not united in purpose. The absence of a clear matriarchal hand shows itself in the uncontrolled friction between the children (especially later in the hostility toward Joseph), but all the children of Jacob were to inherit the blessing. 

In Israelite tradition, the maid-mothers were forgotten, but Rachel and Leah were remembered. The prophet Hosea relates how Jacob went to Aram to search for a wife (Hos 12:13), and the wedding blessing for Ruth remembers Rachel and Leah as the ancestresses “who built up the house of Israel” (Ruth 4:11).

Leah had a child in the direct line of Christ, not Rachel. (Genesis 29:35) “And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now I will praise the Lord, therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.” The Lord Jesus Christ came from the tribe of Judah.

Rachel died after a hard labor, giving birth to Benjamin and was buried after she died in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.

Nothing more is heard of Leah other than Jacob’s statement that he buried her in the Cave of Machpelah with Jacob, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah (Gen 49:31).

There are many women who feel unloved, whether by a husband infidelity or rejection by family or friends. Women who have shed so many tears, their eyes are red and tender like Leah, their hearts sad. But know this, God see's everything. He knows the pain of your heart, the sadness like an ache inside, the longing for something more, and He will help you as he helped Leah. Trust in Him. Pray and call out to Him as Leah did, and He will be sure to answer you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gate Beautiful Radio Show--Thursday March 15th 03/15 by Red River Radio | Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, APRIL 19th from 12:00-2:00, Central Standard Time. This month featuring:

Don't miss our upcoming show! We have some fabulous guests.

The Real Housewives Of The OT (Old Testament) Series--This Week "Rebekah"--by Linda P. Kozar

Rebecca and Eliezer by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 17th century.

"Since I married Isaac, life is two-riffic!"

We know that Abraham was pretty old when his son Isaac was born, 100 years old--a true centenarian (Genesis 21:5). So it's no surprise to find out in Geneis 24:1 that "...Abraham was old, well advanced in age..." when he called his chief servant, and made him swear that he would travel to their kindred and find a wife for his son, Isaac. And of course, his loyal servant obeyed. He loaded up the camels and some men and traveled to the land of their countrymen. The first person he saw was Rebekah, (Genesis 24:15) "...who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder." 

As a test, the servant asked for some water and the young woman offered him a drink right away. The girl was beautiful, and hospitable! She also went the extra mile and offered to water his camels. The servant responded by giving her a golden nose ring weighing half a shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels of gold. Don't those bracelets sound pretty fine? A nice Wonder Woman look for sure, but would you want your nose rocking that heavy nose ring and drooping down to your mouth? But Rebekah must have found a way to work it.

Her family would have been agreeable to such a match from the start, given that they knew the family:) Rebekah was the granddaughter of Abraham's brother and therefore Isaac's second cousin. She was a virgin, most likely in her late teens or early twenties. Though her family was amenable to the match, once they saw those first three gifts for Rebekah, and accepted the gifts the servant brought for them from Abraham, they were more than enthusiastic. However, they wanted to have their daughter stay another ten days before sending her  on her way. In those days, when you left home, chances were pretty good, you left home forever. You would likely never see your loved ones again. But when they asked Rebekah what she wanted to do,  here's what she said:

Genesis 24:58 "Then they called Rebekah and said to her, 'Will you go with this man?' And she said, 'I will go.' So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her:

'Our sister, may you become
the mother of thousands of ten
and may your descendants possess
the gates of those who hate them."

The woman was ready to get hitched. Rebekah had her pumps dyed and ready! So she left with the servant and the men and the camels. On the way, she probably wondered about her husband-to-be, a man she'd never laid eyes on.

This next part seems like it was taken from the pages of a romance novel. Isaac was morning the death of his mother Sarah, whom he was close to. "And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. Then Rebekah lifted her eyes and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from her camel; for she had said to the servant, 'Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?' Amd the servamt said. 'It is my master,' So she took a veil and covered herself...Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death (Genesis 24: 63-67). Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as his wife, but given the longevity of his father, Abraham, he was still a young whippersnapper.

At one point, there was a famine in Canaan and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar to find food. Rebekah was beautiful and Isaac was scared to tell the people there she was his wife. Instead, like his father before him, he claimed his wife was his sister. But one day, Abimelech looked through a window and saw the two “sporting” (a euphemism for sexual play, but also translates to “showing endearment—caressing) together, and confronted Isaac who admitted that he had been scared to tell anyone that Rebekah was his wife. Abimelech then proclaimed to the people that anyone who hurt Isaac or Rebekah would be put to death (Genesis 26).
In another parallel, just as with Sarah, Rebekah was barren. Isaac prayed, but didn't just pray, he pleaded with the Lord for his wife. And Rebekah conceived. However, Rebekah came up against another glitch. "But the children struggled within her; and she said, 'If all is well, why am I this way?'" She probably worried that something was terribly wrong. Many women died in childbirth in those days. But what did she do?  "So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her:

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

Rebekah gave birth to sons--fraternal twins. The first one to come out was red and covered with what they described as a hairy garment all over, so they called his name "Esau," which means hairy. So as the little sasquatch was being born, the second baby grabbed hold of Esau's heel, so they named him Jacob, which means "supplanter or deceitful." Isaac was sixty years old when he became a father.

Tradition says that as long as they were young, people did not notice much difference between the boys. But when they reached the age of 13, Jacob busied himself in the house of study, while Esau busied himself with idolatry. The descriptions of the two young men hint at their opposing spiritual natures: "The lads grew up and Esau became one who knows hunting, a man of the field; but Jacob was a wholesome man, abiding in tents." The boys were very different in appearance, as demonstrated in Genesis. 27:11 "And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother 'Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man.'" (The Dunaways recorded a very amusing song based on this title: "Esau was a Hairy, Hairy Man".)

 Just as with Isaac and Ishmael, the conflict and competition lasted their whole lives. But this competiton was probably fueled by blatant favortism. Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob Genesis 25:28 "And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob."

Esau married at the age of forty as well, but instead of finding an appropriate woman, someone in their kindred, he took two Hittite wives, Judith the daughter of Beeri and Basemath the daughter of Elon, who vexed Isaac and Rebecca to no end, as these women were also idol-worshippers, offering the smoke of incense that to their idols daily.

According to the Talmud, after the death of Abraham, Jacob prepared red lentil stew as a traditional mourner's meal for his father, Isaac. Esau begged him for some of it after he came home famished from hunting all day. The price of that meal was high. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of beans. He probably walked away without giving what he had done another thought, but his actions that day changed everything.

When the time came for Isaac to die and to pass on his blessing to his oldest son, Rebekah devised a plan to have Jacob get the blessing instead. But then again, Rebekah remembered what God had told her when she inquired of him before the boys were born--that the older would serve the younger.

Rebekah overheard Isaac tell Esau to go hunting and bring some some savory game to cook for him so he could eat it and bless him before he died. 
Rebekah came up with a plan to have Jacob disguise himself to get the blessing from his nearly-blind father. (Gen 27:1-29) Jacob was afraid this deception would bring a curse on him but Rebekah said, Let your curse be on me (Genesis 27:13)

Even though obtained by deception, the blessing could not be given twice (Gen 27:30-40). Esau was furious and made plans to murder his brother in an attempt to regain the blessing, but planned to do so after his father died. However, Rebekah found out about his murmurings, so she convinced Isaac to send Jacob away by telling him that she despaired of him marrying a local girl from the idol-worshipping families of Canaan (as Esau had done). Isaac agreed and and she sent him away to live with her brother Laban in Harran.

Interesting note: After Isaac sent Jacob away to find a wife, Esau realized that his own Canaanite wives were evil in his father's eyes, and he took a daughter of Isaac's half-brother Ishmael as another wife.

Rebekah's deception cost her dearly. Although she hoped Esau's anger would blow over and Jacob would soon return, perhaps with a wife and the later promise of grandchildren to bounce upon her knees, this would be the last she ever saw of her favorite son. She died before he was able to return many years later. Rebakah was buried in Hebron in the family tomb with Abraham, Sarah, Jacob and Leah. The is known as the Tomb of The Patriarchs.

There is an element of vindication for Rebekah after all. While on his journey to their kindred, Jacob has the Stairway to Heaven dream and God blesses him. It's one thing to have the blessing of your father on earth, but to have the blessing of your heavely father, is quite another. Jacob must have realized that God had a plan all along and though the methods he and his mother undertook to assure his blessing were deceptive, the end result was in line with God's will. However, if Jacob and Rebekah had done nothing except pray--if they had taken no physical action whatsoever to attain the blessing on their own, God would have seen to it that Jacob had the blessing anyway. 

Blessings do not come from our manueverings to acquire them--they come from God. It is up to us to trust that He will be true to His Word.