From Ben-Yisra’el to Children of the Father

 

Jacob (Israel), Russian icon from first quarte...

Image via Wikipedia

 

One of my favorite parts of homeschooling my daughter is taking those little side trips into languages.  French is part of her curriculum, and that went well today as we explored indirect object pronouns.  I’m seeing it click for her, which is exciting.  Then we came to the end of French and the definitive time for lunch and I realized – duh! – I hadn’t reviewed days of the week with her like I’d planned.  I asked her what today is, what yesterday was and what tomorrow will be, and she had them all perfectly.  It was one of those moments I’m sure every teacher lives for, knowing his or her students get something challenging.

Bible studies are also part of our curriculum, per her request, and since we’ve started in Genesis, I get the thrill of sharing the Hebrew language with her, too.  In today’s passage, God tells Jacob that he will no longer be called Jacob, but he will have a new name, Israel (Yisra’el in Hebrew).  I found it interesting that Jacob’s not called by his new name until after his beloved wife Rachel dies.  In the Old Testament, ben-Yisra’el is translated Israelites, the sons of Israel.  How interesting that, though the originial convenant was made with Abraham, it’s Abraham’s grandson who bears the name that carries through even until today.

I shared with my daughter that I also thought it’d be a good idea to pray for our neighbor and her family, because Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies and people who try to hurt us.  Jesus tells his listeners (this is Matthew 5:43-48, by the way) that if they do these things, then they will be sons of their Father in Heaven.  It’s no longer enough to do those  things that would identify them as children of Israel (i.e., obey the law), but now Jesus is calling them – and us! – to a change of heart and attitude that’d identify us as children of God.

It’s a seriously good homeschooling day when both the student and the teacher are able to learn something awesome!  What new, great thing did you learn today?

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