A collection of more than 200 stories from the Old Testament written for Christian adults and young adults. Essential to everyone who is interested in a gaining a better understanding of the Old Testament. It is a critical tool for all who are involved in religious education.
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I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation takes the reader on a significant journey through the inspirational stories of the Old Testament. Author Val D. Greenwood, a lifelong student of the scriptures, offers a comprehensive and accurate collection of more than 200 stories of the people and prophets of the Old Testament.
The reader will find his favorite stories from childhood, along with many less familiar but equall moving accounts of faith and devotion, presented in the comfortble and reverent style of the author. In addition to memorable stories, the author has included extensive footnotes and reference material for readers seeking an in-depth study of the scriptures of the Old Testament.
I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation brings the Old Testament to life.
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During Jacob’s journey from Padan-aram back to the land of Canaan, he sent messengers to Mount Seir in the land of Edom to tell his brother Esau of his coming. “Thus shall you speak to my brother,” he told the messengers. “Your servant Jacob sends this message: I have dwelt with Laban, our uncle, these many years. I have oxen, asses, flocks, menservants, and womenservants. And I send now to tell you of my coming, that I may find mercy in your sight.”
When the messengers returned from delivering Jacob’s message, they told him, “Your brother Esau is coming to meet us with 400 men.”
Jacob did not consider this to be good news. Though twenty years had passed since he and Esau had seen each other, the last he knew was that Esau planned to kill him, as soon as their father was dead, because Jacob had deceitfully taken away both his birthright and his blessing.
Because of his fear of Esau, Jacob divided his party into two groups. “If Esau comes and destroys one company,” he reasoned, “the other shall escape.”
Jacob prayed with all his heart. “O Jehovah, God of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,” he pleaded, “I am returning to this country and to my family because Thou hast told me to do so. Thou didst tell me that it would be well with me here. I know I am not worthy of the least of Thy mercies or of the truths that Thou hast shown me, but I pray that Thou wilt deliver me from the hands of Esau—for I fear that he is coming to smite me and the mothers of my children.
“Remember, O Lord Jehovah, that Thou hast promised to do me good and to make my seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.” And though Jacob prayed fervently, he had little hope that Jehovah’s promise could ever be fulfilled.
When Jacob stopped for the night, he separated out part of his flock as a gift for Esau that perhaps he might be pacified. The gift included 200 she-goats, twenty he-goats, 200 ewes, twenty rams, thirty camels that were kept for milking, the young of those camels, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty she-asses, and ten foals—a very generous gift.
As Jacob put these gift animals in the charge of his servants, he instructed them, “You go on ahead of the company with this gift, putting a space between us. Then, when Esau meets you and asks who you are and whose animals these are, tell him, ‘These are a gift sent by your servant Jacob to my lord Esau. And Jacob is coming behind us.’” Jacob reasoned that if Esau would accept the gift that he offered, he might also accept him.
As Jacob and his company were traveling the next day, he looked up and beheld Esau coming with his 400 men. Seeing them, he feared for his family and separated his wives and children from himself. Bilhah and Zilpah, the two handmaidens, and their children he put in front, then Leah and her children. Rachel, with her son Joseph, he put in the rear. He then went out ahead of them and bowed to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.
But—miracle of miracles—Esau came running to meet him. The two men then embraced and wept together.
Esau was startled as he looked up and saw the four women and their twelve children. “Whose are all these?” he asked.
“These,” answered Jacob, “are the children that God has graciously given me.” Bilhah, Zilpah, and their children then came and bowed before Esau, then Leah and her children, and finally Rachel and Joseph.
“What is the meaning of the herd of animals that I met on the way?” asked Esau.
“They are a gift for you, my brother,” said Jacob, “to find mercy in your sight.”
“I have enough, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.”
“Oh, no!” replied Jacob. “You must take them. If I have found favor with you, please receive my gift. I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to see your face and to know that you are pleased with me. Why, to see your face again is as though I have seen the face of God. Please take this gift as a blessing from me, for God has dealt kindly with me and has given me great abundance.”
And, after some urging, Esau accepted his brother’s gift.
“Let us travel together,” suggested Esau.
“That would please me,” answered Jacob, “but my children are tender and my flocks and herds are with young. If we drive them too far in one day, all the flock would die. Please go on ahead, and I will follow you to Seir at a speed suitable for my children and my animals.”
Esau agreed. “But though I go ahead,” he said, “I will leave some of my men to help you.” So Esau returned that day to his home in Mount Seir.
Jacob and his company followed and, after a brief stop at Mount Seir, took their journey to a place that he named Succoth, on the borders of Egypt. There Jacob built a house and booths for his flocks. He then went north and bought land on the beautiful plain of Shechem, where he built an altar to God and named it El-elohe-Israel.