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Posts Tagged ‘Jacob’

“And Esau ran to meet him(Jacob) and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they wept (Ge.33:4).”

Ways of the world are different from ways of the Lord God. As Sovereign Lord of heaven and the earth He sees the weal of His kingdom in a way different from that of Esau who sold his birth right for a mass of pottage. Yet he was a man of good parts who warmed up to overtures of good will from Jacob who had done him wrong. Saul, the first king of Israel similarly had some nobility but in trying to make his royal house secure against other contenders he found himself sliding into the other side of God. The shade of Samuel warned him thus, ‘…the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? (1 Sa.28:16)’ None of his nobility in parts ever had a chance to add up. It was thus with Esau. He was a profane person since he had no respect for His ways. Do we not see fellows who are life and soul of a party sometimes make the news for domestic violence? Their fault owes to where their priorities lay. They are often pampering their public persona and laying so much importance to the point of negecting their real selves. Ways of the world teach the simple to take a worm’s eye view of their narrow world and not learning from that of God. The world accepts people at face value. Without God they are fragmented and while they are suffering from ravages of sin they can outwardly show friendliness and make time spent with them pass pleasantly.

For a child of God it has to be consistent inside out. ‘Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Co.10:5)’
Benny

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“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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“…The words of Laban’s sons saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and behold, it was not toward him as before. And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers…(31:1-3)

God’s plan always works. Jacob needed a lesson in patience. Also he needed to fathom His mysterious ways. God’s ways and ways of the world are antithetical. Glory of the Lord God gave the earth its shape. The earth in return reflects it: the works of His hand are sustained and that is one kind of glory due to His majesty. It works despite of the fallen man who has no fear of God. How fallen man does merely created a cloud and we may name it as ‘ways of the world.’ Let us consider it in general terms and discuss how it worked in the breach of trust between Jacob and Laban.

Wherever the fallen man sets up his crooked ways the earth shall find ways to prove the point: The crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways shall be made smooth(Lk.3:5). This is what we read in other passages as well. God does not have to tempt any man but the earth shall find ways to serve His purpose. So a man eager to make easy money sets up a Ponzi scheme and digs deep into his friends and relatives to join the set up. All they need find are friends from their social circles whose swelling ranks make the man at the top of the pyramid rake in his profits without a sweat. Afterall living among your own kind and moving in same social circles gives each a certain understanding: worth of a dollar when invested wisely can make hundred in no time. It also has taught him social capital is how many friends and contacts he can always touch in need. With so much worldly wisdom stirring up man to play at stocks or other means to make profits ask yourself how come a sure thing as was promised to you all of a sudden crash down? Or a financial bubble make those talking in billions lose even the shirts off their backs? Glory of the earth may be obscured by man and his ways but shall nevertheless reach God to whom alone is Glory, Amen.

“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)”. (To be concluded)
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 Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau,…and put them upon Jacob her younger son…(Ge.27:15-16) ”

Jacob coached by his mother approached his father who blindly felt him and said, ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice but the hands are the hands of Esau.’ Feeling somewhat uneasy Isaac asked for confirmation, ‘Art thou my very son, Esau? And he said, I am (Ge.27:22-24):’ Both mother and younger son played to win and when the time came to bless his son Isaac smelled the raiment and curiously enough he saw Esau before him. He said, “See the smell of my son is as the smell as the smell of a field which the Lord hath smelled (Ge.27-29).”

The same zeal that Jacob showed to supplant his elder brother in the womb we see in his blatant lie. He had totally assumed the persona of Esau, which is symbolized by his brother’s raiment. Significance of raiment is same as the name holds. For example Jacob and Israel have different meanings. Perhaps the single redeeming feature in defencs of deception played by Jacob was that Esau had repudiated his birth-right under oath.

The Spirit uses the garments with a purpose and we have quite a number of verses to understand its significance. There is no man justified by works nor who can be called righteous by his own merit (Ps.14:3; Ro.3:10-12). Instead God imputes His righteousness to man. Jacob had thus put on an identity.   Likewise one puts on breastplate of righteousness (Ep.6:14) for example. By extension the metaphor of body is a tent that is set up and taken down with death. Here we have a verse of St Paul to this effect: “because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked (2 Cor.5:3,2,4-NIV).”

Benny

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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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As in the case of Rebekah who was chosen by God for Isaac we see God had foreseen two nations for he forewarned her, ‘Two nations are in thy womb and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels (vs.23).’ Calling and gifts of God are irrevocable. His promise to Abraham surely stood because God cannot deny himself. But free will of man must find a common basis with God. Thus Isaac had to make certain what he would do. From this example of Isaac we are able to examine more varied shades the predestination as a theological concept presents to us.

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 but where Isaac was concerned he 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. As mentioned earlier Predestination of God is set inherent in human interactions where free will of Isaac had to match the faith God had required of him. God blessed Isaac saying ‘I will perform the oath which I sware unto thy father (26:3).’

Coming back to Rebekah God had warned her ‘the elder shall serve the younger.’ Spiritual discernment is the backdrop of the earth where the creation account attests the earth achieved a form(Ge.1:2). As a result invisible things of God are understood by things that are made(Ro.1:20). It does not in any way stagger belief when Abel offered a better sacrifice than his brother Cain. For the same reason Jacob struggled even in the womb as he would wrestle with the angel at Peniel later on. (Ge.32:24). Spiritual discernment differentiated Cain from Abel and in the present case Esau from Jacob. Esau despised his birthright since he did not care for the spiritual significance of it. Single-mindedly Jacob pursued it and his faith prevailed over God, meaning his faith matched the same that made Abraham the friend of God.

Benny

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