As Jacob heads home, he becomes anxious at the thought of meeting his bother Esau. He sends a group ahead to find out what the situation is. They come back merely saying that Esau is coming with 400 men. So Jacob begins to panic, thinking he is about to be attacked and divides all his people and livestock into two camps to increase the chance of some surviving.
He then prepares gifts for Esau to pacify him. Jacob still has his craftiness and intelligence that he grew up with. Hs hope is that with each wave of gifts Esau’s anger might be appeased.
Then we have the interesting mention of Jacob wrestling with a man at night, having his hip put out, demanding a blessing, and having his name changed to Israel. It becomes apparent that this ‘man’ was in fact God.
Jacob is about to step back into the land God had promised him, but just like Abraham with Isaac, Jacob needed to be tested. Was he committed to walking in all that God has for him.
Jacob shows off his determination by continuing to wrestle with God all night and into the morning. Before he left, Jacob lied and cheated to get a blessing. Now he is returning, Jacob is willing to wait on God to bless him.
Jacob and Esau finally meet, and Esau is just happy to have his brother back. Jacob (Israel) is able to enter the land that his descendants would re-enter many years later. However, Jacob is still a little unsure of the situation with his brother and so manages to separate himself off and settle down in the land.
We then get a horrific story of rape of one of Jacob’s daughters. The story goes to emphasise how morally and sexually corrupt the people of this land are. Remember how the town of Sodom demanded that the men in Lot’s house be given to them so they could rape them. Or how both Isaac and Abraham were terrified that the people would kill them and steal their wives.
This land was full of really unsavoury people. We see Simeon and Levi use their cunning, much like their father. But this time with violence, barbarically cutting down the inhabitants of the town. This will get picked up later at the end of Genesis when Jacob gives blessings to his sons that go on to have implications for the tribes that are named after them.
This psalm is attributed to King David and fits into the category of lament psalms. Interestingly, this psalm continues on the acrostic of Psalm 9.
ל) Psalm 10:1-3a - Trouble is near but God seems far
נ) Psalm 10:3b-5a - The nature of the wicked
ס) Psalm 10:5b-6 - The wicked seem to go unpunished
פ) Psalm 10:7-8a - The wicked curse, oppress, and ambush others
ע) Psalm 10:8b-9 - The wicked search for was to oppress the poor
צ) Psalm 10:10-11 - The helpless are crushed, seemingly forgotten by God
ק) Psalm 10:12-13 - A cry to God to rise up
ר) Psalm 10:14 - God isn’t far. He does see
ש) Psalm 10:15-16 - Bring judgement on the wicked as the king of the nations
ת) Psalm 10:17-18 - God does hear and strengthen the innocent. He is a just father and protector
Though clearly linked to Psalm 9, this psalm has a very different tone. Rather than starting of focusing on the goodness of God and then introducing their problems into that, here the psalmist is consumed by their struggles.
To them it feels like God is far away. That he’s hiding. He is surrounded by suffering and pain, and has to deal with the accusations of the wicked who say “there is no God” and the hurting who say “God has forgotten [them]”.
There are sometimes where life feels like this. That there is no justice. That the wicked get away with whatever they want and the poor suffer. There is a part of each of us that longs for justice, and in these moments it can seem like there is none.
So the psalmist turns to God and throws these questions at him. They ask Go to be active and not forget those in need. They ask God why the wicked see to get away with whatever they want, confident that God won’t do anything.
The psalmist grounds themselves in the truth that God does hear and does care and then appeals to God to his nature. He is the king of the nations, and a just king who accepts no wickedness. He will defeat the wicked and protect those in need.
While the psalm started of being very bleak, it ends on a high note. There’s a sense of victory and confidence that God is just and faithful to his people.
When we take Psalms 9 and Psalm 10 together, we more clearly see the contrast that we noticed yesterday. Some days you might start with God and then move on to address your problems. Then on others all you can do is bring God your problems and work through them before you can stand in the truth of his faithfulness.
What’s important is that when we lament we turn to God, honestly bring him our complaints, ask him to intervene, and trust in his faithfulness. The exact order and structure you do that in doesn’t matter.
Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.
Spoken Gospel look at the story of Jacob wrestling with God and how it fits into the idea of God's blessing.
Understanding the context of your passage is always important. BibleProject always do an incredible job of breaking down each book so you can see how your passage fits into the wider story.
For a slightly different overview of where we are so far, BibleProject have done an animated recap of Genesis 1-11 to help you fit today's passage into the overarching story of Genesis.
Spoken Gospel outlines the book of Genesis and point out some of the key themes, all in the medium of spoken word.
Spoken Gospel take a look at the dream that Jacob has of angels going up and down a ladder to heaven.