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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Genesis 35:21

And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.

For further study - Genesis 35:16-26

Before we get to our devotional reading in Genesis 35 let me suggest that you may want to read through Genesis 34 which is the record of Jacob as he reaps the harvest of his evil years. Next we come to Genesis 35.

The account of the event covered in our devotional reading for today has a “historic” significance and a “prophetic” significance as well. In fact, historically, this passage helps the reader to understand the prophetic aspect of the location, “Migdal Edar”, verse 21, the “tower of the flock”.

Before we get to the prophetic, let’s look at the historic impact of this account of Jacob’s return to the “promised land”. Jacob and his family, his two wives and eleven sons, had traveled from Haran, a location in modern-day Turkey. Jacob was sent there to protect him from his twin brother, Esau, who wanted to kill him.

It had been several years since Jacob ran away from the “land” that the Lord had promised all the Jewish people, through him. As the family had made their way from up north, Jacob had a hand-to-hand struggle with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, Genesis 32.

The Lord had changed the name of Jacob to “Israel”. The Lord wanted Jacob to be the “father of the Jewish people”. As you know, the twelve sons of Jacob would be the “twelve tribes” of Israel and become the Jewish people and the “nation of Israel”.

Our devotional reading for today explains that the “twelfth” son was born at Bethlehem in Ephrath. Jacob’s wife, Rachel, was the “mother” of this last son, the twelfth son, who she named Ben-oni.

Rachel would die in “child-birth” and Jacob would bury his wife at the spot of the birth, today referred to as “Rachel’s Tomb”. Jacob would then re-name the child, “Benjamin”, the “son of sorrow”.

Several things I would like for you to take note of, and let these items teach you of this very important time in the life of the “nation” of Israel. Remember, these twelve sons of Jacob would become the “Jewish people” of today.

Remember, Jacob and his family had just returned from Haran, which, as I said, is located in the modern-day state of Turkey. Interestingly, eleven of the twelve sons of Jacob were born outside the land that would become Israel.

Now, let’s focus on the phrase, “tower of Edar”, or in the Hebrew, “Migdal Edar”. This phrase is only used twice in the Bible, here and in Micah 4:8. The phrase is describing a “two-story stone tower" in the “Shepard’s fields” where the “priestly Shepard’s” would watch over the “sheep” that would be offered in sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem three miles away.

In Micah 4:8, “Migdal Edar”, would be the location where Jesus Christ would be born. We will have more on that later, but let me tell you how Migdal Edar was used.

The “chief Shepard” would stand in the top story of the tower and watch over the flock of sheep that were in his care. There were other animals in the area that would love to have one of these sheep for lunch. The bottom floor of this tower was used for “birthing” the new-born lambs.

This whole scenario plays into the Christmas story that I will deal with in a future devotional reading. But, do let me remind you that Jacob’s boys would become the “nation of Israel”.

God was fulfilling His promise to Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, Genesis 12:2. It was to the Jewish people that God would send the “messiah”, Jesus Christ to be born in the same location of the death of Jacob’s wife Rachel.

God had a plan then for Jacob and his family, and He has a plan for the descendants of Jacob in the future. That plan will be played out and in fact, it is unfolding even as I write this devotional thought. 

You can watch Jacob’s family today, the Jewish people of today, to see how close that plan is to being fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for a way to know what you are doing in your plan for all of humankind. As I watch the Jewish people I can tell the time of the fulfillment of that plan. Help me to live in light of your plan for me as I watch your “timepiece”, the Jewish people.