Bible In One Year- Day 16 (January 16, 2014)
Jacob, in Gen28-30, built a family but without peace of mind, he built a career without satisfaction. We could recall that it was by his mother’s word that he left for the land of Padan Aram and not by God’s word; all because of the product of his evil handiwork against his brother, Esau. He ran with an unresolved sin. On the way, God spoke to him about blessing and the covenant with Abraham, which He wanted to fulfill in him (i.e. Jacob), but Jacob was praying about food and clothing. From his vow, we deduct that he was only interested in God’s gift and not God Himself. Let’s have a look into what God said briefly;
Genesis 28:15 “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.”
At this point in time, Jacob was short of spiritual discipline; he was not fit for God’s planning or purpose. God was indirectly telling him that He would make him fit for it (i.e. purpose and the blessings attached). Jacob was still running with the garment of sin on his neck and God did not tell him not to run away or turn back from making the trip to his uncle’s place. Rather, He told him that He would be with him. The journey eventually became God’s training program for Jacob. The resume/CV of his sufferings is Gen31:38-41. Only a mathematician could deal with a mathematician very well. All those years, Jacob still remained in his fleshly attitude (scheming). He could not go back to his father’s house because of what he left behind, and Laban was not treating him well either. God, being faithful, still increased him. All through his stay in exile, he never prayed to God one day. God had to remind him of his vow, Gen28:20-22; now I have given you what you wanted, go back to your father’s place. This time around, God did not introduce Himself as the God of Abraham but “the God of Bethel”, Gen31:13, just to remind him of his vow. God will not suggest another thing to you if you have not obeyed what He has just said. You may run for 20 years, when you call Him again, He will still talk to you from the last discussion you had with Him. By now, God’s word is finding a place in him because his confidence in his strength is breaking off little by little. He obeyed God, though schemed again to do that; Jacob was still Jacob here. Gen32 is the turning point in Jacob’s life. Here is where Mr. Flesh was decisively dealt with by God, his strength was knocked out and he became weak before the Lord. Though he increased in exile, his problem (Esau) had increased also. When he cheated Esau, it was one to one, but now, Esau had multiplied, v6. Fear gripped him on hearing the size of Esau. Running from problems is never the solution. This was the most difficult moment for him. He prayed for the very 1st time, quoting God’s word. Material things never meant anything to him again because he knew that his brother had no pity in shedding blood, after all, Esau had killed many animals. He tried to bribe his own conscience by dishing out most of the things he had acquired, but it never worked. Many are still bribing their conscience now instead of dealing with the sin in their lives. Then God moved in to do His own part; to deal with Mr. Flesh (Jacob’s natural life). God touched his strength and the experience afterwards left him leaping (a humble life). If we look into our lives today, we could see traces of Jacob’s life. God, in working out His plan of eternal life for us, takes us through His school of discipline where we get an unusual experience; an experience that makes our stories to be sweeter and faith-lifting for those who hear it. An experience that makes us leap afterwards and takes our mind away from material thought. The leaping is a symbol of humility. It gives room for the word of God in us and we become useful for the vision and to mankind. It is an experience that makes us do away with bribing the conscience (i.e. defending error or sin) and do what is right. At that point, we appreciate grace and not our works, (Gen33:11) just like Jacob.
Genesis 33:11 “Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.”
It would be no more our way but God’s way. Again, grace is defined in another aspect; despite Jacob’s shortcoming, God still walked with him. However, he was gradually dealt with; God gave him time. Grace will not make us to continue in sin but to work us out of sin, i.e. to be dead to sin.
Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
Many think and argue it that we are no longer under the law but under grace and so we could continue in sin; that is not true. Grace, rather, works us out of sin. It helps us to overcome the sinful nature. Grace is the residence of the Holy Spirit (God’s righteousness) in us. The law was to restrict us from sinning but it could not. Grace has now replaced that weak law to empower us to overcome sin. Beloved, we need an unusual encounter with the Lord Jesus that will drastically transform our lives from ordinary persons to extra-ordinary persons. This encounter is God’s dealing that will humble us and make us useful for the Lord. Only an extra-ordinary person can do exploits in this present age. You need JESUS!!!
John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Prayer: Holy Spirit, work on me, in the name of Jesus. Our reading for today is Gen34-36. Keep the fire burning and alive. Tell somebody about JESUS today!!!