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#80 - Limping with God: the Life of Jacob

| Episode Guest: Chad Bird

Author and scholar Chad Bird joins our podcast again, this time to discuss one of his newer books, Limping with God: Jacob & the Old Testament Guide to Messy Discipleship. This book guides us through the stories of the Patriarch Jacob, a rare biblical account which documents a life from in utero until death. His multi-faceted and sometimes frustrating personality gives us a mirror in which we can see ourselves: lying and fighting to get ahead, taking advantage instead of showing mercy, looking out for ourselves while God looks for us. Be encouraged by the fact that God specializes in saving sinners and calling highly-imperfect people (like Jacob) to be His disciples. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome” (Gen. 32:28).


Hebron is considered one of the oldest cities in the Levant. According to the BibleAbraham settled in Hebron and bought the Cave of the Patriarchs as a burial place for his wife Sarah. Biblical tradition holds that the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, along with their wives Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah, were buried in the cave. Hebron is also recognized in the Bible as the place where David was anointed king of Israel. The attached photos were taken on our Sept. 2023 Homesick for Israel Tour. The tel at Hebron displays an ancient home, city walls, and a street which are all about 4500 years old. That is approximately the same age as the Pyramids of Giza!

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Bethel is mentioned about 70 times in the Old Testament but never in the New. It first appears in connection with Abraham’s arrival in Canaan when he pitched his tent and built an altar between Bethel and Ai. Later his grandson Jacob saw a vision of the Lord here, and then returned here after his sojourn in Paddan Aram. The city was conquered in the time of Joshua and served as a base for the Israelite tribes attacking the wicked Benjamites (Josh 8, 12; Judg 20). Samuel’s circuit included a stop at Bethel, and Elijah had an unpleasant encounter with some cruel youths (1 Sam 7; 2 Kgs 2). Bethel later became famous as the home of Jeroboam’s shrine with the golden calf (1 Kgs 12), for which it was condemned by various prophets (1 Kgs 13; Hos 10; Amos 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Episode Images