Friday, December 30, 2016

Genesis 31:1-16 comments: Jacob consults with Rachel and Leah about leaving

1 ¶  And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. 2  And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. 3  And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 4  And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5  And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6  And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7  And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8  If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9  Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10  And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 11  And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12  And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13  I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred. 14  And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15  Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 16  For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.

Jacob’s cousins, Laban’s sons, are envious of Jacob’s success. Laban himself is showing signs of being hostile to Jacob from his own envy. Many commissioned salespersons can relate a story of a manager who resented their success even though the salesperson was making the manager money. It is one of those strange things about business where a boss can resent an employee’s success even when that success puts money in his own pocket. I’ve witnessed it myself.

God told Jacob to go home to where he was from and that God would be with him. Jacob called Rachel and Leah together and reminded them about how their father had changed his wages so many times and yet, God had made Jacob successful and blessed him with wealth. He told them how God had appeared to him and said that He had seen how Laban had treated him and told Jacob to go back from where he came. God reminded Jacob that He was the God of Bethel where Jacob had the dream of the ladder to heaven. Most importantly, Jacob understood that God was responsible for the condition of the sheep and was behind what happened.

The Bible teaches us that God often uses people and methods to express His will which go beyond natural explanations but involve natural means. It is an important aspect of God’s will, using human agency while being responsible for the effort Himself. For instance, in Exodus 17 Israel is victorious if Moses’ hands are held up and they begin to lose if his hands are lowered. So, his arms are held up by rocks to keep them up. But, we know that it was God who gave the victory. Why not just have them win without Moses’ even being there? Simply because the action invested authority in God’s man and God working with human efforts that would be impotent without Him God moves His will forward. Neither Jacob putting sticks in water troughs nor Moses holding up his hands have any power to accomplish anything without God’s direct will being involved. This teaches us not to wait for a miracle passively but to pray and get busy, praying that God will work through you, if what you want to do is His will. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wait for God’s direction, revealing His direct and perfect will, and inspiration, giving understanding, but it just shows that God may use your efforts, no matter how weak and irrelevant they may seem, to accomplish His purpose.

The treatment the doctor applies to your sickness heals you but the Bible teaches that it is God who does the healing, only often as not, through human agency and effort. A family hurt is soothed because you went and apologized to a family member and although God did the soothing He used your willingness to act favorably in the matter to accomplish the calming. Understand, though, that the doctor’s effort without God’s will or your words of regret would have no effect without God. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that it was all you or the doctor’s great skill alone. And although God can heal without a doctor and can level out family difficulties without your apology He more often than not will use them both to perform His will.

Rachel and Leah both agree that Laban, their father, had not been exactly upright in his dealings. He had taken their money by cheating their husband. The wealth that Jacob had gotten from Laban was theirs and their children’s. In the end they were willing for Jacob to do whatever God led him to do.

Proverbs 13:22 ¶  A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Genesis 30:25-43 comments: God makes Jacob wealthy

25 ¶  And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. 26  Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee. 27  And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. 28  And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. 29  And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 30  For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also? 31  And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: 32  I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. 33  So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me. 34  And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. 35  And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36  And he set three days’ journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.

    37 ¶  And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 38  And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. 39  And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. 40  And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban’s cattle. 41  And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. 42  But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43  And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

Jacob wants to take his family and leave Laban, returning to his own country. Laban acknowledges that Jacob has been a wise steward of Laban’s flocks and has made Laban prosperous. He says, tell me what you want and I’ll pay you. Jacob reinforces that under his direction and by his work God has blessed Laban through Jacob which is what Laban admitted. Now, it is time for Jacob to acquire wealth of his own.

It is interesting to note in history how the Jew, living in the countries of the Gentiles, has made Gentiles rich and prosperous by their skills at handling money and commerce. It is also interesting how, like Laban, the Gentiles have, more often than not, resented the Jews, rather than thanked them, as we shall soon see of Laban.

We don’t learn until the next chapter that God has arranged for this method of Jacob acquiring wealth and it is not some arcane and ancient form of sheepherding.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Genesis 30:14-24 comments: the issue with the mandrakes

14 ¶  And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes. 15  And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes. 16  And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. 17  And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. 18  And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. 19  And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. 20  And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. 21  And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah. 22  And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23  And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 24  And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.

In these passages we have been shown a great example of God’s permissive will. We have seen events occur that God did not specifically command or ordain but we see the actions and reactions of human beings and how God wove their free will into His will that a people should be formed whom He would enter in at a singular point in history as the Son of God, God in the flesh, who was and is Jesus Christ.

Mandrakes were, according to some authors, thought to be useful for stimulating fertility as well as for having an aphrodisiac quality. This was a purely humanistic and superstitious belief which, like others of man then and now, God simply ignores. Here, we are told of the argument between Rachel and Leah regarding mandrakes. Yet, it is only when God chooses to acknowledge or hearken unto Leah that she conceives. God cares not a whit for your rabbit’s foot, whether you think wearing your socks inside out is lucky, or for any other lucky charm you carry from your heathen ancestors. His will shall be done regardless of such accouterments. Do not mistake the mention of something in the Bible for God’s approval or for any power on its part. It merely reveals the incomplete and imperfect understanding of the Bible’s characters, similar to our own in many cases.

God heard Leah and gave her Issachar, meaning that God has paid Leah. He is sort of like her payment for giving up the mandrakes, in her thinking. She then gave birth to Zebulun, named so because God had lifted her up and given her a plentiful dowry with which to bless her husband.

Finally, she gave birth to a daughter named Dinah. Although it is not evident from the text Dinah’s name has a similar meaning to Dan’s in it being judgment.

Rachel is not forgotten. We’ve seen this use of the word remembered before, if you recall, in comments on 8:1.

And God remembered Rachel does not say, in this context, that God forgot about her but that God revisited her, brought her back into play, turned His attention to her. In pre-1611 dictionaries something remembered was something worthy to be mentioned, thought about, or spoken of, not as it is often today, something I had forgotten but has now come to mind.

Joseph’s name means that Jehovah, which is what LORD is with all capitals, has added, which is evident by the context.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Genesis 30:1-13 comments: ...she shall bear upon my knees.

1 ¶  And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. 2  And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? 3  And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. 4  And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. 5  And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 6  And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. 7  And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 8  And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali. 9  When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 10  And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son. 11  And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. 12  And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son. 13  And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

Rachel envied her older sister’s success at giving their husband four sons. She holds Jacob responsible for her infertility. Jacob angrily states that it is God who has withheld a baby from her, which is true. God is in complete and immanent control of conception and birth, the entire process.

Here, she does something entirely alien to us, a repeat of Sarah’s behavior with Hagar. She offers her handmaid, who obviously has no rights to herself, as a surrogate to herself as a wife. This, what we would consider adultery, must not have been uncommon in the ancient world. Here, and elsewhere, we get a picture of the method of childbirth used in this part of the ancient world. …she shall bear upon my knees. Note the following;

Exodus 1:16  And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.

The modern child-bearing position is on your back. The ancient was sitting on someone’s knees or a stool, a birthstool, pictures of which relics can be found on the internet if you are interested. I have read, though I cannot confirm, that birthstools were used in Europe during the Middle Ages. One Jewish source I read reported that ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics show the development of a chair type device with a hole where the seat is normally, much like a toilet seat today.

Bilhah does conceive and bear a son whom Rachel called Dan. The power to name is the power of dominion over someone or something as we saw from Adam. Rachel owns Bilhah and counts her children as her own. Dan, from the context, means judge and Strong’s confirms this. The Hebrew word also comes from a primitive root meaning to plead a cause before a judge so that we can see from the context, if we do not go to Strong’s, what God wants the name to mean.

Again, Bilhah, on behalf of Rachel bears Naphtali, whose name means wrestling. Then, Leah, realizing that she was no longer having children, gave her maid, Zilpah, to her husband. She then conceived and bore Gad, whose name means a troop. Certainly, their family was becoming a troop. Zilpah then bears Asher for Leah and Jacob. The word blessed here is defined as being happy in something you have received at the hand of God.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Genesis 29:31-35 comments: Leah's first sons

31 ¶  And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 32  And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. 33  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. 34  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. 35  And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

See comments on chapter 25:29-34 for an explanation of how hate can be used as to hold in low esteem or to hold in contempt or just to love less. God gives His blessing on Leah by making it possible for her to conceive as she is held in lower esteem by Jacob than Rachel. But Rachel was barren in that she could not conceive. In gratitude Leah named her first born, Reuben, which means, “Behold, a son,” according to Strong, while the context would imply God seeing Leah’s misery, her affliction. In fact, there are those other than Strong’s who define this Hebrew name as, “who sees the son,” or, “the vision of the son.” Another Jewish source has it as, in opposition to Strong’s view, is, “He has seen my affliction (misery.)” Look at the context and think for yourself what Reuben’s name means. Strong’s, while depended upon by most Bibles today is not the absolute source of definition for Bible words and names. The Bible itself is. I would presume that the Holy Spirit knows what He wants a word to mean in context.

Leah and Jacob’s second son is named Simeon. In the context meaning, “he has heard,” also confirmed by Jewish sources. Levi, the third son, would then mean, “joined to,” and Judah, from whom the line of Christ comes, would mean, “praise.” We might think of these four births as saying, “God has seen my misery. He has heard me. Now, my husband and I will be united and I will praise God.”

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Genesis 29:15-30 comments: tender eyed

15 ¶  And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be? 16  And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17  Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 18  And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. 19  And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. 20  And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. 21  And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. 22  And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23  And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24  And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. 25  And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? 26  And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27  Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. 28  And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29  And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 30  And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

Laban calls Jacob his brother, which clearly in this context means a close relation, as Jacob is his nephew. Brother can easily be used to refer to someone who is a comrade or a fellow believer in Christ. It can also refer to the brotherhood of mankind as in Genesis 9:5.

Jacob, the trickster, is now going to be tricked. Laban is a very clever man. He allows Jacob to work seven years under the promise of Jacob receiving Rachel as his bride. Instead he gives Jacob Leah, her older sister. Notice that the wedding ceremony is a feast at the end of which the father just gives his daughter to the husband-to-be. Not very romantic from the point of view of today’s woman.

Laban’s excuse is that the custom of the country is for the older to be married before the younger but it seems more likely that Laban probably worried that his oldest, not so beautiful and well favoured, would not find a husband. As Leah is tender eyed, which carries with it the implication of weakness or deficiency in Early Modern English and in the Hebrew text, perhaps she was a bit cross-eyed, who can say. Jacob was drawn to the prettier daughter. This type of carnal attitude seems more worthy of Esau and marriages based on this do not have a good foundation. But, let’s give Laban the benefit of the doubt and agree it was the custom not to marry the younger before the elder. He still tricked Jacob, the clever deceiver. You have to wonder if he did not know whom he was consummating a marriage with that perhaps this feast included a liberal supply of wine as one could reasonably assume that her veil would be taken off when the marriage was completed.

It appears from a literal reading of the text that Jacob gave Leah a week of being the only wife and then received Rachel, for whom he worked an additional seven years to pay off her father. Notice the difference here between Jacob and Isaac. In the Ancient Near East a bride did not just marry a husband but joined another family, leaving the family of her birth. Rebekah was brought to Isaac. Here, Jacob is in bondage to his brides’ father. Also, while we might wonder about the dowry given by the bride’s family there was also the ancient “bridewealth” given by the groom’s family. Here, Jacob’s servitude for fourteen years serves that function and he will leave with wealth after another six years.

Jacob has worked for Laban up to this point and acquired two wives with their handmaids and his living in the process.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Genesis 29:1-14 comments: Jacob meets Rachel

1 ¶  Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. 2  And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth. 3  And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they r14 olled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place. 4  And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. 5  And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. 6  And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. 7  And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. 8  And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.

    9 ¶  And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them. 10  And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11  And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12  And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father. 13  And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 14  And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.

Jacob went back in the direction from whence Abraham had come. So, he finds a well with three flocks of sheep waiting to be watered by a well that had a great stone covering it. What tremendous preaching material you can get from passages like this. Think of the Resurrection of Christ leaving a tomb covered by a great stone, giving living water to those sheep thirsting for it. There are so many possibilities with this. Three flocks might represent Noah’s three sons whose descendants overspread the whole earth waiting for this life-giving water. Such good preaching material and I’m sure you can think of more.

Can you see Jacob in this scene as a type of the angel of the Lord rolling the stone away from Christ’s tomb? (Matthew 28:2)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Genesis 28:16-22 comments: the house of God

16 ¶  And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. 17  And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. 18  And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19  And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. 20  And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21  So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: 22  And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

Jacob awoke from his dream frightened. He considered that the location of his dream was the doorway to Heaven, the abode of God, itself. He then prepared a commemoration of what happened with the stone he had prepared for his pillow and poured oil over it. We will see stones set up for memorials later as well as oil poured on things and people to signify their sanctification, being set apart for God, as well.

Leviticus 8:12  And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.

Joshua 4:3  And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. 4  Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: 5  And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 6  That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7  Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

A town named Bethel will form about this but first it will be called Luz

Genesis 35:6  So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.

Jacob makes a curious vow, which would not be acceptable for a Christian knowing what we know now and having what we have. He says that if God protects him and gives him food and clothing and brings him back to his father’s house in peace then the God of his fathers will be his God. He calls the stone he set for a pillar and a memorial God’s house and promises to render to God the tenth, the tithe of his increase, to God.

One of the things that confuses the preacher who tries to put the Christian back under the Old Testament is the Old Testament personage’s proclivity to make deals with God. God promises them something if they respond a certain way and they promise to serve God if He provides certain things for them. A preacher reflects this when he talks about doing business with God.  The Old Testament saint was promised a physical, temporal blessing of bounty and success on this earth if he obeyed. The Christian is not promised wealth, land, or worldly things. He or she will have an amazing relationship with God but also tribulation and suffering with a hope and promise of eternal life when this life is over.

God’s ministry of reconciliation required the creation of maintenance of a people and a place as the seat of God’s work. But, with Christ the seat of God’s work is not in a specific location apart from the heart of every Christian. There are no sacred spaces in New Testament Christianity save for that heart of flesh in which abides the Spirit of God.

This inability to see the difference between the relationship these people had with God and our relationship with God creates a totally upside down doctrinal attitude. Paul said;

1Corinthians 1:22  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

As God was drawing these men and women to Him in His ministry of reconciling mankind to Himself they needed and wanted proof, some kind of sign, prodigy, or sort of figurative contractual agreement that underscored and confirmed His word and His promises. The gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the confirmation of what God has promised us. We need no other and we do err greatly if we downplay the importance of the indwelling of the Spirit of God as the seal of our salvation, the deposit on that promise, and what secures the believer in Christ.

Ephesians 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

When you receive Christ as your Saviour the Holy Spirit indwells you in a way that it indwells no person who has not trusted Him. The proof that you have the Spirit inside you is what comes out of you which should give most so-called Christians pause to wonder if they are truly believers in Christ or just caught up in some kind of counterfeit Christian culture.

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 5:8  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10  Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

 It is also of note in this passage to see that the skeptic who says that the ancient Jew was unaware of any concept of Heaven as put forward in the Bible is wrong. Jacob clearly had an understanding that there was a Heaven and that it was not a place on this earth.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Seeking God's will, Trusting God's will, and Being Satisfied with God's Will

I preached this at Antioch 1611 Baptist Church in Stewartstown, Pa. this afternoon;
What I have to say to you today won’t mean anything to you if your life and attitude is characterized by you having a disregard for God’s standards of morality, have a foul mouth, lack of impulse control,  or if you are covetous and consumed by lust for material things, food, or pleasure; or if you are filled with malice toward others, envy, are argumentative and rebellious, or filled with deceit, self-righteousness, like to complain about and talk about others behind their backs, are despiteful, proud, a boaster, always trying to come up with some evil little plan to overthrow someone or get around a rule, disobedient to your parents, with no more understanding than a squirrel, a covenantbreaker, don’t care about your family, can’t be pleased by anyone no matter what they do, and totally devoid of mercy or if you are a control freak or a worrywart. You’ll have to guess all the ones I’m guilty of.

On the other hand, if you are filled with the Spirit of God, and the proof of that exudes from you in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance then it is possible, even if you disagree with my examples or might have said things a different way, that you will walk away with something that will help you or make you think.

What I’m about to tell you has always plagued me and is very difficult for me to follow or understand but I am trying and constantly asking God to change me. We are going to look at two examples of men who accomplished God’s will, only in completely different ways. If you turn to Judges, chapter 6, look with me, if you will, at verse 11.

11 ¶  And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.

12  And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

13  And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord (that is Adonai), if the LORD (Jehovah God) be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

Now, picture yourself coming to church and hearing a really good sermon or reading the Bible after asking God to show something to you personally that will help you. Maybe you’re ill, worried about a loved one who is sick, what to do about money or your job, maybe whether to ask a certain person to marry you, or just not sure about some other decision you have to make and nothing, I mean, nothing has gone right. You are worried, confused, and feeling helpless. The preacher is preaching about how much God loves you and died for you and rose from the dead for you. Or, you’re reading; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10).

And you say, along the lines of Gideon in verse 13, in your head. “Lord, if you really love me, if that’s true, then why is this happening to me? Where’s your great love now? I can’t deal with this uncertainty, this not knowing. Won’t you help me?” Maybe you remember verses that were taken out of context by some preacher when he said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Those words from Jeremiah 29:11 were referring to Israel not you. But you haven’t read your Bible enough to know that it is out of context so you cling to it.

Now, God told Gideon something and Gideon, as we all know, asked for a sign to prove this was true. In verse 37 and onward we have the story of Gideon’s fleece. You’ve probably thought this was pretty faithless of Gideon to doubt God but, as Paul said in 1Corinthians 1:22, the Jews require a sign and we know that Gideon did obey God but he wanted to make sure this was God’s will and only Jehovah God could do what he asked, such a subtle but remarkable manipulation of nature. Here, though, with you in prayer, pleading for God to give you answers, you are seeking God’s will. Maybe He gave you an overwhelming understanding of your situation as you read the Bible, asking Him for guidance. Maybe you now feel certain of what you must do. You’ve sought His will and you think you know what it is. You want to know with all your heart what God wants you to do. You want His perfect will, not just His permission, His permissive will, because God will usually let you do what you want until you figure out your way wasn’t the best idea. And so, you make a choice, or you accept your fate, or you have peace about what must be. But you sought His will. His will is everything. And you want to obey Him.

Now, let’s look at someone who did not lay out a fleece, who did not agree to do what he was told if God would just give him a sign. Paul determined on his own, his own spirit, lowercase s, that he must go to Jerusalem, then to Rome, that this is what he must do for God all the while God was warning him.

Acts 19:21  After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

            God would confirm that that was indeed His own will.

Acts 23:11  And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

But, did Paul have to go in chains as a prisoner? Why did he have to go to Jerusalem? The Holy Spirit warned him what awaited him.

20:22  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit (lowercase s, his own spirit) unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Did Paul figure that his work for the Lord was important enough to disregard the Lord’s warning? Would you? What if a man of God, after you’ve made your decision after seeking God’s will, say your preacher, warned you not to do something, told you what awaited you?

21:10  And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

And then Godly friends pleaded with you not to make the mistake.

21:12  And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13  Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. 14  And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

Paul goes to the temple.

21:18  And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. 19  And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. 20  And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21  And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. 22  What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. 23  Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 24  Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. 25  As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. 26  Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

But, didn’t Paul say he was the minister to the Gentiles in Romans 15:16? And yet, he persisted in going to dispute with Jews in synagogues wherever he went in spite of the fact that he also said Acts 13:46 that he was going to the Gentiles. And why did Paul circumcise Timothy in Acts 16 when he would say in Galatians;

Galatians 5:1 ¶  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

And didn’t he say that we are not under the Law? Paul isn’t being consistent.

Galatians 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

What do Gideon and Paul teach you here? Both accomplished God’s will but one had an easier time of it with less delay and suffering. Seek God’s will, believe what He promises, but compare what you feel led to do with the Bible’s clear admonitions, listen to men of God and godly friends and be consistent in your faith. Do it His way. Follow it right down the line and look neither to the right or the left. Importantly;

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

God will speak to you through the Bible, others, and your heart, then obey Him if you are submitted to His word. Seek His will. Listen to His warnings.

Trusting God’s will is not as easy. We want to hold on to the things and the people we love. We want to live. Death, not being dead, but dying, is a tremendous burden on our hearts and minds.

Hebrews 2:15  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Jesus Himself experienced the fear of dying that anyone in a physical body experiences even though He knew He would rise again and that it was only temporary.

Hebrews 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

But, in the end, Jesus said;

Luke 22:42  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Job made an incredibly strong declaration of trust in God’s will even though he had most of his family, his wealth, and his very health ripped from him.

Job 13:15a  Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:…

And in the book of Daniel we have an extraordinary story of three young men who are threatened with a fiery death if they do not worship a heathen king’s statue. Acknowledging that God could deliver them but also acknowledging that it might not be His will to do so it is said;

Daniel 3:17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

We have a promise, not clear in the Old Testament where the focus for the obedient Jew was a successful and prosperous and healthy life on earth and then death in old age, of eternal life with Christ. But, we can see by the example Jesus gives us that our fear of death and dying is not faithless or sin but merely an expression of being human. We also have an example of Job and from the three Hebrew young men of trusting God no matter what His will.

We’re sometimes placed in situations to accomplish a certain thing for God that, if we are resistant and untrusting, we cannot see.

We all know the story of Joseph;

Genesis 45:5  Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

So you guys sold me, he is saying, but that wasn’t you, that was God doing that to save all of you.

And Esther;

Esther 4:14  For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Sometimes we expect God’s deliverance but it is clear He is not going to deliver us the way we might like. I’ve always been fascinated by this episode in David’s troubles.

1Samuel 23:10  Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 11  Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down. 12  Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.

I can see myself going, “Wait a minute?! Won’t you stop them? Divert their attention like you promised regarding the Assyrians in 2Kings 19? What about just killing them all like you actually did to the Assyrian army?

“God, am I going to lose my job?” I can imagine saying, expecting Him to say, “Fear not. You’ll not lose your job.” Instead, when I ask if I’m going to lose my job He says, “Yes, you’re going to lose your job.” Sort of a smack upside the head.

But, David escaped, Esther saved her people, and Joseph saved Egypt and his family from starving to death. God’s will, as strange as it may be to us or as not in keeping with how we would do something, is always sure and reliable. He may not take your advice on how to get things done but you need to trust Him.

The entire book of Job can be summed up in one sentence with God saying to you, “Listen to me, bad stuff is going to happen to you, and you don’t have to be the cause of it, but, trust me, I have it under control and I know what I’m doing.”

Trusting God’s will is essential to sanity when you’re going through Hell on earth. You’ve got to believe that He knows what He is doing with you. Paul, who probably had to be chained to a Roman soldier in a hired house to slow him down long enough to write those wonderful letters that are doctrine for the Christian, said;

Romans 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Seek God’s will. Trust God’s will. Now, in America we are taught not to be satisfied with anything. Ed Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, created the modern American advertising industry, advertising which he called propaganda. He changed advertising to be from what a product did for you to how it made you feel about yourself which revolutionized the sin of coveting. Television is one giant scheme to make you dissatisfied with what you have and to want what Brad Pitt’s character, Achilles, said he wanted in the movie Troy. “I want what every man wants. More.”

Be satisfied with God’s will.

Sometimes you suffer because that is the way your testimony for Christ will shine.

2Corinthians 1:3 ¶  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Christ told Paul when Paul asked for his vision to be healed. (read Acts 9:8;18; Galatians 4:15).

2Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Your difficulties; including sickness, financial failures, family issues, and the like, as well as direct or indirect persecution can create much growth in your life as a Christian. They can make you more dependent on God. As has been said, “It’s easy to have faith, when you have nothing else to depend on.”

 Romans 5:3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

When you became a Christian and turned to Christ rather than the world, alcohol, drugs, pornography, sports and entertainment, and your job for meaning and purpose did you realize what you were taking on?

Philippians 3:10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

We have the opportunity in suffering and struggle to have a testimony of faith in Christ and acceptance, being satisfied with Gods will, that good times do not provide. Others see us if we are satisfied with God’s will and are amazed at our strength, although they might call it weakness at first. But it is something they don’t have, a confidence they cannot attain unto.

God wants you to be totally dependent on Him, not the government or the insurance company or an employer or a doctor. We need to be satisfied with His will. Now this doesn’t mean we repeat the errors of our ancestors. This does not mean that you don’t seek to be the best you can be or get an education or improve your lot in life. People a hundred years ago and older in many parts of the world believed that God gave you a station in life and you were wrong in trying to get above it whether you were a slave or a poor person. This is based on the rich and powerful’s own agenda, the power structure, in interpreting what Paul said here.

1Cor 7:17 ¶  But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. 18  Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. 19  Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20  Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21  Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22  For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 23  Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24  Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

Later in the same context he talks about being content with not being married. The point is that your status or condition are irrelevant to Christ. They do not reflect your position in Christ or where you will spend eternity, which is a long, long time without these things. Life in this flesh is almost over for many of us.

29  But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30  And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31  And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

So, it is not a sin or faithless to get married, request a raise, or need a new car, or even ask to be healed. It just means that time is always short as far as we know or they knew and we need to be satisfied with God’s will even if we need a larger house to fit all of our children in safely and comfortably.

The important thing I want to say to you here is to be satisfied with God’s will. It may bring you joy or be very unpleasant temporarily, or even frightening. But, just remember this;

Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

And remember what being dissatisfied with God’s will can lead to if you are not careful.

1Timothy 6:6 ¶  But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

We will face unpleasant things as we grow older in fallen bodies. Even men of God had to deal with this such as the prophet, Ahijah, so almost none of us are exempt, even the good, Godly, church-going, blood-washed, born-again Independent Baptist.

1Kings 14:4  And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.

So, you see, God’s will can be very unpleasant for us now.

Some of the highest expressions of your faith in God are your seeking His will, trusting His will, and being satisfied with His will.

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Philippians 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1Peter 5:6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

I want to leave you with the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

Matthew 6:25 ¶  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Seek God’s will and His way. Trust God’s will. He knows what He’s doing. Be satisfied with God’s will. Accept what He is doing as good and right and desire to know what your response to it should be.

Genesis 28:6-15 comments: the ladder between heaven and earth

6 ¶  When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; 7  And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram; 8  And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; 9  Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.

Esau, like other men in this culture, gathered to himself several wives as the phrase took unto the wives he had indicates. Is Esau here, though, defying his parents or is he trying to please them by marrying a distant relative? Ishmael is his uncle (Isaac and Ishmael had the same father but not the same mother) so Mahalath is his cousin.

    10 ¶  And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11  And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12  And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13  And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14  And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15  And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

God’s choosing of Jacob to continue His ministry of reconciliation, of reconciling man to Himself, is confirmed here in this dream. The dream has special significance as prophecy. For Jesus Himself refers to its meaning.

John 1:51  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

Christ is the ladder from earth to heaven. He is the bridge between man and God. This is an important fact of human history, perhaps the most important fact after God’s existence. There is no other way to go from here to there except through Him.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

All other founders of religion, messiahs, or masters were either deluded or frauds or both; Buddha, Mohammed, etc. etc. before Christ, and after.

John 10:8  All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

Jehovah God reinforces the land grant given to Abraham and Isaac now to Jacob and to his posterity. All the families of the earth will be blessed through Jacob and his descendants. Indeed, the Saviour of the world will come through this line. The gospel will be preached around the entire earth. God’s reconciliation will circle the globe and the whole earth will hear about His forgiveness and His desire to have mankind restored to his relationship with God.

God promises protection, that He will stand by Jacob, and that His will, God’s will, will be accomplished.

Hebrews 13:5b  …for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Isaiah 55:11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.