1. Genesis: VaYetse

Jacob threw another pair of socks into the satchel, latched it and grabbed it along with the bag of food his mother had packed.  He’d have to set out on foot before nightfall.  He walked down the hall and stepped out the front door, closing it quietly behind him.  Esau was nowhere in sight.  He’d left the house in a rage after speaking with their father.  Jacob was afraid he’d gone too far this time.  When their mother told him to pretend to be Esau just to gain his father’s favor, Jacob had hesitated.  Not because he thought it was wrong as much as he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to pull the deception off.  His mother convinced him that with her help he’d be successful.  And he was.  Now Esau was pissed.  He was threatening to kill Jacob.  And they both knew the story of their ancestors Cain and Abel.

Jacob crossed the front garden and walked through the gate.  His mother watched from behind the curtain.  He looked back nervously.  She knew he was worried about Esau.  But Jacob deserved his father’s favor.  Esau was her firstborn, but only by minutes.  And he’d always been her husband’s favorite.  She loved him, but he didn’t need her the way Jacob did.  Esau could take care of himself.  Jacob needed someone to look after him.  Jacob needed her.  Quiet tears wet her cheeks as she watched her baby walk away.  She hoped that her brother would take care of Jacob until it was safe to come home.

Jacob walked until the sun had fully set.  Until fatigue put the fear to rest.  He dropped his satchel and looked for a place to rest his head.  He found a soft patch of dirt and a flat rock to rest his head on and lay down in the warm night air.  He knew that the only path he could take was forward, away from everything he knew.  He’d never met his mother’s brother and hoped he’d be welcome.  Jacob’s father had told him to go to Laban to find a wife, and now that Jacob finally had his father’s favor he’d do as he was told.  He knew he’d screwed up his relationship with his brother, but at least he could try to please his father.  Maybe some good could still come from what he’d done, what his mother had persuaded him to do.  He fell asleep with all kinds of conflicting emotions swirling inside him.

Jacob slept restlessly, dreams tormented his unconscious. He tossed and turned all night, until he finally fell into a deep and peaceful slumber just before dawn.   He woke with the last dream still in front of his eyes.  There was a ladder with angels walking up to heaven and down to earth.  And God, the God of his father Isaac, the God that his father praised was in the dream.  God told Jacob that the place he’d slept would be his.  That Jacob would populate the land with his own children.  And God told Jacob that He’d protect him.  Jacob woke refreshed, sure that he could create good from the trouble he’d caused.  Hopeful that what lay before him would be better than what lay behind.  Jacob felt like a new man.  He looked forward to meeting his uncle.  He packed up his things and set out.  The sun was shining and it would be a good day.

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