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Posts Tagged ‘Annotated book of Genesis’

“With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury (2 S.22:27; Ps.18:26)”. “As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity:..(Ps.125:5)”.

God prospered Laban, in visible terms, which he could appreciate. ‘For I learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.’ Wealth is a blessing but Laban did not have the insight to seek it from God of Jacob. Instead he wanted it at his terms and pressing his advantage further. He pressed Jacob, ‘Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it (30:28).’ Behind his professed enthusiasm to pay wages we have on record that he had deceived him and changed his wages ten times. The face of greed has never changed neither then or now. Only that now people like Laban have become organized. When he says, ‘Corporations are people’ what he means is that he shall have the option to change wages and keep profits most unto who he chooses with excuse of bonus for the top management, operational costs, depreciation cost, sundries ad infinitum.

Here we see Jacob bearing witness, “But the God of my Father hath been with me.” How God took away the cattle of Laban and gave to him is a demonstration of the old adage, ‘The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.’

Laban agreed to let Jacob separate speckled and spotted cattle and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and specked among the goats for his hire. Laban’s common sense smelled a sure thing. How often do speckled and spotted cattle are seen in nature? They are rare freaks of nature according to his understanding.

‘Jacob took him rods of green poplar hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear…And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ring straked, speckled, and spotted (Ge.30:32-42)’. The feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger were Jacob’s (vs.42). When God had decided to turn the tables on him Nature took the cues and made it happen. Palimpsestic memory of Nature works according to divine Plan for His glory. In order to make it simpler, consider our sense of vision: how we look at things and see them are not simple. Eyes see but in order to make sense requires areas in the brain to process the impressions. Laws of Nature know her sovereign Lord. Before I immigrated to Europe I had no inkling what a Citroën would look like from a stream of automobiles in a highway. After buying one and soon I saw only Citroën in tangled rush hour traffic. How come? Memory made it so natural. While we discuss the palimpsestic memory of Nature as indicative of glory of God we need understand Nature always works to glorify God. Man in his conceit often fails to know God in his daily lives and such failure to glorify God on a wider canvas finds substitutes. Status symbols for those who are in a hurry and we see the consequences around us (Ro.1:20-21).

For God’s children even what seems at first disappointments are fitting out wings for closer walk with God.

Benny

 

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“Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? (Ge.29:25)”

Jacob’s flight to Haran and his sojourn in the House of Laban were foreordained. While at Bethel God had visited him and also blessed him thus: ‘..In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ Sounds familiar is it not? We read it the chapter 12 when God called out Abraham from Haran. God’s promises are not scaled down because Jacob was deceitful and had unfairly won the birth right from his elder brother. God introduces Himself as ‘the Lord God of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac:’ Predestination does not mean that man is not responsible for his actions good or bad.

Having deceived his aged father and won the blessing reserved for Esau, he met his match at last in Laban. He slaved for seven years for the hand of Rachel. What are seven years or seventy, for that matter? (By the way the number seven is significant, meaning a period that would in the lexicon of the Spirit mean ‘adequate under the circumstance’, and perfect). His love for Rachel was such the years seemed unto him but a few days. This love like his earnestness to covet blessings that birth right carried, is not a trifle but required time to be placed in proper perspective of God. Man calls it suffering when his expectations are dashed. In Jacob’s case Laban played the bait and switch game of a con artist and it worked. Jacob in his own way had set it up. God let him mature in hard service under one who ever kept changing his word. When God had taken over his life (even before he was born) he compensated the seven years stint in the House of Laban which works even now.

We are in the House of Laban in a manner of speaking. We serve a hard taskmaster who always shortchanges our blood and sweat and rewards with wealth that never can keep us in comfort we crave. Gift of God? Love. Such was love that Jacob felt for Rachel. It took the sting out of his existence.

What we call as sufferings is often our own making. We cut into fair share of another without a second thought, and later when we are denied justice in most atrocious manner by another, we hardly remember we had set the ball rolling. Thus it was with Jacob whose expectations were dashed and also sweat of his labour was only to keep the wily father-in-law in luxury. So at human level we reap what we sow but for a child of God there is post script written by God namely: “All things work together for good …who are the called according to his purpose (Ro.8:28).”

Benny

 

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“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not (Ch.28:16). ”

This well known story throws up some important theological concepts.

Firstly sleep is a symbol for death.

What is sleep? God caused Adam a deep sleep and he slept (Ge.2:21) The Spirit used it in the sense mentioned above.

We shall consider sleep now in normal sense. The idea here is that sleep is from God. It is a blessing. It is a rest that is a shadow of God’s Rest from his labours. He sanctified end of His Creative Day as a Holy Day. The Preacher has this verse to observe what man may rightfully claim as his due at the end of each working day. “The sleep of a labourer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep (Eccl5:12-NIV)”. In contrast to what God has provided for man, what is wealth but what he generates by his own efforts. This boils over even after the day is done so much so it is insomnia that he has to cope with.

Secondly it gives us an insight into God’s Time, which is how the Spirit correlates God’s Will with life of man. Time and space do not make sense for eternal God. When God visited King Abimelech in a vision and warned him on account of Sarah it was for the present. When He gave Daniel a series of visions (Dan.10-12:9) it was for ‘the time of the end.” The vision of the ladder with each rung going up to the Lord must be several events hinged on one another. Angels going up and down signifies a door has been opened for the sleeper. It is reminiscent of St John’s vision (Re.4:1-2). The Spirit gave him a foretaste of the Salvation Plan of God as it were, which in narrating is for our benefit. As soon as he woke up he realized where he was. He exclaimed, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” This indicates our foreknowledge comes from God who equips each man for His service. Gift of prophecy is a gift. Gift of interpreting is yet another. Such are gifts the Spirit distributes to each accordingly so glory of God must be set as paramount.

Thirdly we need address an often-overlooked piece, namely the stones that served Jacob as pillows.

“…He (Jacob) took stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep (28:11).”

These stones serve as a memorial. This act is to be seen as a symbolic act very similar to Joshua at the crossing of Jordan (Jos.4:23). Jacob was a man fleeing for safety and was in a strange place settling down for a night’s rest. God’s vision was a private and it was to assure His protection.

Like the Shekinah glory of God separated the mercy seat and the Ark of the Testimony from surrounding areas the vision was a memorial to him. From what Jacob did following day we get the idea as to what it meant to him. Each of us is Bethel meaning the house of God. This idea is transferred to stones that served for pillows in the night. He set the stone up and poured oil upon the top of it. ‘He called the name of that place Beth-el; but the name of that city was called Luz at the first (vs.19).’This holds spiritual significance for us. Born again experience in a child of God marks a change over from serving the world. Pouring oil over the stone naturally indicates the infilling Spirit. The following verses are of help to us.

“Know you not you are the temple of God?

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;(1 Co.6:19;3:16-NIV)”

We can well appreciate the seven churches in Asia minor were such stones as Jacob found; these local churches were not the Church of Christ but indicative of God’s Will concerning the Body of Christ.

Benny

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“And by thy sword shall thou live, and shall serve thy brother: and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that shalt break his yoke from off thy neck (Ge. 27:40).”

Here we can understand that Blessings of God carry responsibility. It is between God and Man. Blessings flow from the greater to the lesser. When you examine this still further what do we get? Predestination of God and free will of man.

Predestination is a characteristic of Power and Wisdom of God and it is not completely hidden from man. God had acquainted Abraham in broad strokes at the outset how that would be in his case. His seed shall sojourn in Egypt for long and He would bring them back with a mighty hand in his Time. Time is of essence.

Having blessed Jacob what might have been his, Isaac had for Esau some consolation that would occur only in case Israel failed to live up to the promises of God, This blessing,- a left-handed blessing, enlightens us to the above concepts.

Predestination is conditional. Patriarch Isaac had to know Him as his father did. For this reason after Abraham was buried by his sons, God appeared unto Isaac and told him ‘Go not down into Egypt..(Ge.26:2)’ Interestingly enough God had let Abraham move to Egypt earlier in a similar circumstance ‘when there was a famine in the land’ (Ge.12:10). Consequently Isaac dwelt in Gerar in obedience to His commandment. Free will for a saint is to make sure the faith component is same. Obedience it is called. We have its perfect example in Jesus. He was God the Son. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name (Phi.2:8-9).” He had free will seeing all things were made by him and through him (Jn.1:3; Col.1:16). As Son of man he set an example. Predestination in his case is explained by the expression, ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Re.13:8)’. Using the same reply he gave John at the water baptism by Jordan ‘For thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness (Mt.3:15) He submitted himself from the foundation of the world to reveal righteousness of God in his form. Here we have obedience in its perfect form.

In denying free will some sects are hacking at the very doctrine of Atonement. Obedience of the Son made his sacrifice perfect.

Benny

 

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The Spirit in emphasizing the sovereignty of God always places Nature as subservient to His Will. Psalmist rightly praises Him clothed with honor and majesty. “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment”. It is to this the Spirit refers in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis “And they (Adam and Eve) were both naked, the man and his wife and were not ashamed (Ge.2:25).” His creation acquires as it were the glory of God. Such a transfer is scattered throughout the narrative. Before God made a covenant with Abraham God commanded him to offer him a sacrifice and what should be included was given in detail. Abraham after having done accordingly waited. By sundown ‘a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him (Ge.15:12).’ Presence of God renders the place where he stood project supra real emotional intensity and Abraham could feel it, . We see similarly at a time Jacob is fleeing from Esau his elder brother whom he worsted twice unfairly, and at Bethel God revealed a vision to him. He woke up and was certain the Lord was present there. “And he was afraid, and said, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven (Ge.28:18).”From whence did he acquire this knowledge? Foreknowledge is often transferred, invisible things of God to help us. The Spirit guides us in all truth and it is a gift God has assured us. It is the glory of God that gave the earth a form and to His children serves as guideposts as it were in their ministry. This we see in the Acts of the Apostles St Paul changed his plans since the Spirit had forbidden him to go to Asia. “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, Come over to Macedonia and help us.(Ac.16:9)”
Natural laws and divine laws run parallel so God’s sovereignty ensures Nature shall manifest His glory whenever it is called upon. This is palimpsestic memory of Nature.

Such memory establishes the blessing of God over man whom He chooses as instrument regardless of his merit, and it works for the greater glory of God. Nature acknowledges the glory of God as His due. Let us consider an example to illustrate palimpsestic memory. The Children of Israel under the leading of Moses complained of not having water to drink. We have a commentary from St Paul and  “and drank the same spiritual drink; for they (the children of Israel) drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ (1 Cor.10:4-NIV). We are examining the second instance when God commanded Moses to speak to the rock. But he smote it instead, therefore not honoring Him before Israel. The rock did as was in the earlier instance. The rock gushed forth since palimpsestic memory of the rock acknowledged what significance it held. It was the Spiritual rock that accompanied them. Christ was that rock.

Here is another instance. What was the miracle of the withered fig tree? It failed to recognize the Son of man was exempt from the curse of God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God he told Adam thus: “Cursed is the ground for thy sake (Ge,3:12)”. When Jesus approached the tree and found nothing thereon, but leaves only he cursed it and it was thus withered away directly.(Mt.21:19-20).

Benny

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How did Rebekah know of the emergence of two nations in her womb? ‘She went to enquire of the Lord(Ge.25:22)’.

In this context let us refresh our mind with the creation calendar. ‘And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night and let them be for signs, and for seasons..(Ge.1:15)”

There are two kinds of revelation. One is public and the other personal. When God made the sun and the moon as signs we have an apt example in the rainbow as a natural phenomenon and as a sign. A rainbow is formed by dispersion of light through the medium of moisture in the air. The colors are incident in the way these impinge on the retina of the eye and no two persons see it the same. That is Science. After the deluge God set the bow in the sky as a covenant he made to Noah and it implies both mercy and judgment. In the latter sense we have a vision of St John. The mighty angel coming down from heaven is shown with a rainbow (Re.10:1). The Spirit uses signs with a purpose and the rainbow that was set in his vision of God’s throne signified his Mercy. It being the testimony of Jesus Christ he is referring to the nature of his Father (Re.4:3). Naturally the revelation is a private one ‘to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass (Re.1:1)’.

Revelations of God are always clothed with Nature as a backdrop. In the same sense when God set up a vision to Jacob to which we shall come by and by revelations are always user friendly as it were. Nature is amenable to acquaint a child of God instinctively God’s purpose in so many ways. It is God’s sovereignty that made a land fertile or poor as a sign. We read of instances at the times of the Kings when He stopped the rains to show his displeasure. Nature is a prop for revealing his purpose and it was in this sense He sent Moses to the Promised Land. “And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex.3:17)”.

ii

When God separated light from darkness he saw it was good. It gave the earth a form and his glory was not scattered in vain but brought results that at the end of each day he could affirm it was good. In the Creation Day when the glory of God gave a form to the earth the Spirit instructs us that what was visible did attest to it.(Ro.1:20). When He led the children of Israel to a land flowing with milk and honey it was conditional. The visible abundance of the Promised Land refers to His glory. Shape of the promise lay in peace and prosperity. If the people followed His commandments it would be their portion. It was thus his promise to Abraham. It was conditional. God informs Rebekah of two nations before her delivery. Israel and Edom were the two nations. In the case of Jacob in the pre-natal state imbibed as though it were, naturally pursued birth-right even after delivered from their mother’s womb. Whereas Esau dismissed his birth right as a trifle Jacob profited from it. “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them (Mt.13:12-NIV)”.

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While on one level the Spirit chronicles the history of the nation of Israel there is a secondary purpose and it is in revealing God’s ways with man. The promise of God to Abraham was conditional. In order to instruct us we have the story of Rebekah faced with two nations from the same bowel. It challenges us to understand God’s ways, which are consistent throughout.

When God separated light from darkness he saw it was good.  So whatever good in the eyes of God must belong to the promise of God who is perfect. As the Son of man attested only his Father was good (Mt.19:17). This idea is affirmed by the writer to the Hebrews, ‘For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater he sware by himself (He.6:13).’ What was his creative act but faith (He.11:3) and it was good (Ge.1:3). Thus when we are reading the election of Jacob it was not his deceit but faith that passed the muster. As in the case of Abraham who was ready to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mount, he proved when he prevailed over God at Peniel. Faith is a personal commitment Jacob possessed. All other traits a man shall ever hold, both noble and ignoble are, in course of time, straightened out about faith, which is the quintessence of God. When we consider Jacob and Esau we see Jacob was cunning and deceitful as Esau more forgiving and open. Be that as it may such faith that made Jacob struggle over his elder brother while in the womb gives Predestination another facet: without faith it is impossible to please God.

In the Creation Day when the glory of God gave a form to the earth the Spirit instructs us that what was visible did attest to it.(Ro.1:20). In the case of Jacob in the pre-natal state imbibed as though it were, naturally pursued birth right  even after delivered from their mother’s womb. Whereas Esau dismissed his birthright as a trifle.

“Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them (Mt.13:12-NIV)”.

Benny

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