This entire blog was spawned from a sermon entitled, What about Jacob? Or, can a man find healing in a woman? To make this brief, I did not understand, nor was I able to track with what the pastor said, as he tried to prove his point about Jacob. Sorry, I can't really see it but I am enjoying the study, as usual.
As we finished part one of our look at Jacob, the grand deception was complete. Do you think Rebekah and Jacob gleefully danced around the campfire that night as they celebrated how well they pulled it off? Hardly, for Esau, as you will see, has every intention of killing Jacob once Isaac is dead.
Notice how there is no concern on the part of Esau for how this will affect his mother. And, all this evokes another question, is it possible for Esau to regain his birthright? I don't think so, at least not in God's eyes.
Cheating not only Esau but your father as well, you would think that Jacob would be gone already, but only minutes from now Issac calls Jacob before him and commands him to not a wife from the same cluster of women that Esau had chosen from. Isaac directs Jacob to Laban, Rebekah's brother. Maybe, Isaac knows full well what kind of man Laban can be considering the backhanded maneuver Rebekah has just pulled on Isaac.
With that said, let's continue on.
I mentioned in the previous post, that Esau did not take this selling of the birthright serious. If he had
Wouldn't it seem logical to say something to Isaac? Wouldn't Isaac have known? Why would Esau bother to respond Isaac as though there was not a problem? “As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac, his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting.” Jacob logically only has seconds to get out of Esau's presence, and, his fathers.
Genesis 27:30-37 ESV As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac, his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, "Let my father arise and eat of his son's game, that you may bless me." His father Isaac said to him, "Who are you?" He answered, "I am your son, your firstborn, Esau." Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, "Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed." As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" But he said, "Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing." Esau said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." Then he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?" Isaac answered and said to Esau, "Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?"
The deception is pulled off, and now you would think that Jacob has to flee, an exile. And Esau is the reason.
Genesis 27:38-41 NASB Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." So Esau lifted his voice and wept. 39) Then, Isaac, his father answered and said to him, "Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. 40) "By your sword, you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck." 41) So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
So Rebekah calls Jacob in once again.
Genesis 27:42-45 NASB Now when the words of her elder son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent and called her younger son Jacob, and said to him, "Behold your brother Esau is consoling himself concerning you by planning to kill you. 43) "Now, therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban! 44) "Stay with him a few days, until your brother's fury subsides, 45) until your brother's anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?"
But Jacob still hasn't left. To make matters worse, we now learn of Esau's wives and what grief they are causing Rebekah.
Genesis 27:45 NASB until your brother's anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?"
In response to Rebekah, Issac calls Jacob in once more.
Genesis 28:1-5 NASB So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. 2) "Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. 3) "May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4) "May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham." 5) Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
While Isaac's command is that he get a wife from Laban's daughters, we don't see anything that tells us he knows what he is looking for. Jacob, in a sense, stumbles upon Rachel, and she is a vision of how a girl should look. He wants her and is willing to work for her to get her. There is an irony here in that Rachel, is not an accident by any means, for Laban, her father is Jacob's uncle. (Consider: If Rebekah knew how to be devious it only makes sense that Laban, Rachel's father, would also know how to be underhanded.)
Jacob makes no effort to negotiate for her but tells Laban that he will work seven years for her. (That timeframe may be significant on several levels. Seven is the number of perfection, redemption, and a theme that recurs throughout scripture.)
It may be essential to consider Rachel's age at this time. I doubt he would have pursued her if he did not think she was old enough to marry.
“Joseph married at about age 30 (Gen_41:45). This was old by Egyptian standards, since most males were still only boys when they married. Yet it is clear that a boy had to be not only sexually mature but also able to provide for his wife and thus settled in his occupation before he married. Girls seem to have married between about twelve and fourteen. They did not have to wait until established in a career. Some royal marriages, occurring for dynastic or other political reasons, took place when the individuals were very young. For example, Tutankhamen died at the age of eighteen or nineteen after a nine-year reign and marriage, so he must have been nine or ten when married.”
NELSON'S Bible Manners & Customs, How the People of the Bible Really Lived,
Howard F. Vos, THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHERS
Jacob does not do what many desperate men would do, and rape her, he waits the seven years. He then goes to Laban and demands that she be given to him for he has paid for her.
Laban deceives Jacob just as Jacob had deceived Esau and gave him Leah.
Laban makes a statement here, in response to Jacob's shock and disappointment, that I never noticed before.
And Laban answered It is not done thus in our country, to give the younger before the elder. Genesis 29:26 Brenton)
As that particular pastor exclaimed: "this had to cut Jacob like a knife, as this is precisely what Jacob and his mother had done to Esau.” And, Uncle Laban may well have been told of it. If not, it is amazing how the Holy Spirit puts words in your mouth.
According to the pastor, the premise behind all this is that Jacob, a broken man, (I am not so sure he could understand that for a long time,) pursues Rachel, the vision of perfection, in hopes that she would heal him and make him a better man. I am not sure I see all that, but it makes sense, as most men do just that. While the hope of finding something that calms the inward brokenness he feels may be going on in the back of his mind, it is not directly noted in scripture; many things aren't, and yet the more in-depth answers and subjects are there if we pursue them.
One of the things that I see in scripture is that God is in control, regardless of how lousy the circumstances seem to be.
The pastor said, “that God gives us examples of people who are messed up so that we can know what not to do.” If that theory is correct, then why would God tell Israel, explicitly, not to learn from the surrounding nations, for the surrounding nations were doing everything wrong, worshiping idols, and sacrificing their children to gods. While I might argue that learning from my neighbor how to work with Iron could be a necessity that would allow a civilization to create water pipes. However, there is often a hazard in close associations, especially with those not so grounded, as it can cause us to be drawn away by the deviant and those used by Satan. Along with that, I have had several acquaintances that claimed to be Christians. One, it turns out, was in a men's home (the men's home is somewhat irrelevant except that you can make an obvious assumption - and that is that the person from the home has had some mighty struggles in the past.) While the leadership of the men's home had mandated church services and Bible studies they had to attend, they could not seem to get the world out of this brother. He, in a short period, took a job on the night crew, and I rarely saw him after that. His reattachment to the world seemed to grow and he left the group home he was a part of.
You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you. (Exodus 23:32-33 AMP)
And you shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God will give over to you; your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you. (Deuteronomy 7:16 AMP)
You didn't merely live by their ways and act according to their disgusting practices, but in a very short time, you acted more corruptly than they in all your ways. (Ezekiel 16:47 CJB)
Is it the person becoming the snare? Perhaps, but what we do know is that Satan will deceive you through any means possible. In some cases, it might be an innocent but attractive looking woman.
Yes, Jacob's life is one huge psychodrama. He is a liar, a cheat, and a general a mess; he does not even seem to slow down all those years later when he meets Esau again. But there is a method to God's madness. God seems to use broken people; he even seeks them out. He seems to find pleasure in lifting them up and healing them. On the plus side, our savior is a descendant of the line from Jacob.
My point: That no matter how messed up the narrative, or, our story is, we can and should glean as much as we can from each one, for it is God's story. Sure, you think it is all yours, but it is never anything less than God's plan, you merely get to be a part of it.
"For I know what plans I have in mind for you,' says Adonai, plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. " (Jeremiah 29:11 CJB)
Description from the ministry on this young woman's testimony:
"Powerful Coming Out Story - Emily spent 7 years living out her same-sex attractions while being outspoken about God’s acceptance of her lifestyle. After her engagement with her female partner ended, she was invited to a Bible study. This weekly examination of the holiness of God challenged her day after day until her life completely changed. It is a powerful testimony that calls the homosexual community not to heterosexuality but to holiness. Emily’s story lovingly addresses the heart of the matter: that homosexuality is only one sin among many that manifests itself within a sinful heart. Only by the grace and mercy of God can we be transformed.
Regardless of what you have done in your life, redemption is provided to you through Jesus Christ. Just like Emily, even if you have sinful desires and affections, God died for you. He can make you a new creation and save you from a terrible fate. God is rich in mercy and full of great love, and He provided a way out. The narrow road to salvation requires that you call sin what it is, repent of it, and trust that Christ’s death and resurrection is sufficient to atone for the punishment you deserve. If any man is in Christ, he is a NEW creation. Unless this happens for you, your sinful desires will always drive your actions and shape your interpretation of Scripture. As culture influences the church, even Christians are deceived on this topic. However, for the person who claims to be gay and a Christian, understand that it is not possible for Christians to remain in willful, unrepentant sin. 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God makes a practice of sin, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” God's message has always and will always involve crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires and living for Christ."
Gal 5:24-25 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.
By Jonathan BeWell
Our Heavenly Father, whose Son is thee door to heaven, Holy Spirit lovingly teaching us meaning of your name.
I continue to confess, apologize for, rebuke and repent from surfacing sin. May your revival usher in your kingdom according to your will with ours bent to it. May our leaders own up to their power and responsibilities by declaring and enabling your rule, reign and sovereignty. May they be careful and aware of their extreme influence. May we awake and arise to these times of spiritual crisis from which all other curses fester. May we acknowledge Jesus Christ as living water from whom all healing and restoration flows. Forgive us Lord for our distractions, false idols and sin in place of You. We are near rock bottom and have only You to save us. Have mercy on our souls. May You revive us and have us grow, ripe for harvest. Lest we forget the folly and fate of our past. We have You to thank and draw us near in times of desperation. I call upon your terms, cleanse the church to make Christ's body fit for the good Lord's fight, already won, rescue more lost souls. I dare cry "bloody murder" yet truth being told with our Saviour sacrificing himself. All who believe in him live eternally ever after.
In Jesus Christ's pure perfect holy name I pray, amen.
Several weeks ago the Monday morning study leader announced that the following week we would be starting a study on vengeance. To show that the carnal side of me still exists, I wrote this on my notepad, Coming up next week, Vengeance!, Yeah baby! I was messing around, as the first reaction I had, was to moan because every study is a fitful barrage of legalism. When that particular “study” ended, I turned to my friend and said, that wasn't all bad.
The leader was giving an introduction, but he had already lost me, as I was looking up passages on vengeance. The first thing I came to was a passage in Leviticus.
Leviticus 19:18 ISV "You are not to seek vengeance or hold a grudge against the descendants of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."
The first thing I realized is that this is “the law,” and we, are not under the law; or, are we? If we are not under the law, then what do I do with this statement from the Apostle Paul?
Romans 12:16-19 ISV Live in harmony with each other. Do not be arrogant, but associate with humble people. Do not think that you are wiser than you really are. 17) Do not pay anyone back evil for evil, but focus your thoughts on what is right in the sight of all people. 18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people. 19) Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord."
Wait a minute, Paul, the reformed Pharisee, and one of the most prominent advocates of grace; tells his audience of Jewish converts, and us, do not put yourself back under the bondage of the law. And yet, here it is.
Nahum 1:2-3 AMPC The Lord is a jealous God and avenging; the Lord avenges, and He is full of wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries and reserves wrath for His enemies. [Exodus 20:5] 3) The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will by no means clear the guilty. The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. [Exodus 34:6-7]
There are many scriptural illustrations that Paul could have pulled from, but Nahum conveys the idea of vengeance well. If Paul could be comfortable drawing examples from the “law” while speaking of those same laws as a return to bondage, then your spirit should be telling you that there is something more involved in this idea of bondage than mere constraints put on us by God. The “laws,” such as, love your neighbor as yourselves, are, at the very least, a better way of living; And, they are the very thing that keeps us out of God's way, as we focus on the positive rather than our hidden agenda of supplanting God by dishing out vengeance and judgment.
So then, even the New Testament conveys constraints that parallel the law.
I have mentioned, many times, how we live under the perfect law of liberty.
James 2:10-12 NASB For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11) For He who said, "DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY," also said, "DO NOT COMMIT MURDER." Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12) So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
James is also the one who tells us that we are blessed when we walk in this law.
James 1:25 NASB But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
We then, do not have the freedom to seek vengeance, nor are we entirely free from the God's law.
As the morning's study progressed a brash statement was made, when we get to heaven, you will not find a Pharisee there as they will all be in hell. A quick inventory in my head put me in remembrance of Nicodemus, Simon of Arimathea, and the Apostle Paul, all of which, were prominent Pharisees who displayed a love of Jesus Christ.
Several minutes passed and I raised my hand. When the leader finally acknowledged me, I said, as a recovering Pharisee who struggles with judgment I want to share a story with you. At this point, I told them about a stepson who had inappropriately taken one of my handguns into the backyard to show a friend of his. You need to understand that there had been a series of events that ended with a stolen bicycle, and this young man in my backyard had played a role in that. I that moment, with them fondling my revolver, I merely held out a hand, and my stepson placed the gun in my hand. I simply said, had you asked me I would have taken you to the range and taught you how to respect the weapon and shoot it, but since you chose to go behind my back you have lost that opportunity. I began that day to pray that God would remove bad influences from my stepson's life. Two weeks later, the other boy shot himself in the head while playing Russian roulette. The important thing was I merely asked God to intervene, but I did not try to tell Him what to do about it.
I remind you of Romans 12:19 which says,
19) Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord."
I don't know how I did it because I was angry in the days that preceded that young mans death. I was the one who walked my son into the police station and made him “return” this obviously stolen bicycle, and this entire process was laden with humiliation and fear for both of us, but it worked out, as they apparently realized that my actions had ingrained a serious lesson in my son.
Once again look at what James has to say.
James 2:12-13 NASB So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13) For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
Pay close attention to verse 13 where it says, “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy.” I my story above I feel like I did it right. I feel no blame for the young man, but I grieved with his father who explained how they had seen unusual patterns beginning to develop.
I can assure you that there were multiple times that I did not get this right, and here is one.
Having been raised in the church, I was severely wounded by a few sarcastic church elders. I carried their wounds most of my life. Did they always occupy my mind? No, but a string of events that I can relate to codependency, seemed to bring their brutal tongues to the forefront of my thinking. The bottom line here is that in my mind I hated them and wanted them to suffer slow, prolonged, and painful torture, for what they did. When you think about the logic in all this, you can see that this pain I believed I inflicted upon them, and the chains I held them in, was all in my head. That means I gave them too much free space in my head. And never, were they aware of this bondage I held them in. During the time involved, I had to maintain the chains, keeping the rust off those chains by oiling them. All this maintenance cost me a tremendous amount of time and energy. Sadly, I felt justified in all this.
Primarily I learned I needed to forgive them.
Yes, I needed to forgive; the problem is, I had no idea of what to do. Oh sure, mother had her designs, which amounted to letting people continue to slap you until you are spinning, but that was not going to work for me either (anymore.) Thankfully there was a day when a prophetic woman stopped me and said, you have to forgive those men who hurt you! I responded with, alright, but how? She said, it's simple, you merely release them from the debts you think they owe you. To be honest, it only took me a couple of days to realize that I was having no impact on them and that my efforts were simply me, judging them. After, what seemed like a lifetime I released them from the bondage that I felt they owed me. Quickly, I began doing that with ex-wives and others that had offended me.
I have, over time, told these truths to others, only to have them say its hard to forgive!
I responded briskly with, no, it's not. The only difficult part is you letting go of the imaginary control you think you have. You see, when we set ourselves up as judges and put people into the prison of our minds, we have set ourselves up as God. We have supplanted God and tried to take over His job. In doing this, we have set up our own fates, which James spells out.
James 2:12-13 NASB So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13) For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
Since we are not under the law, and yet have an almost identical command in the New Testament, then let's try one more and see if we can find the freedom in it.
Deuteronomy 32:35 CJB Vengeance and payback are mine for the time when their foot slips; for the day of their calamity is coming soon, their doom is rushing upon them.'
On one hand, this tells us that all vengeance belongs to God, while on the other hand it speaks to payback, which is His also. Their day will come, whether they be religious or ungodly.
I will show you Romans 12:19 once again.
Romans 12:19 ISV Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord."
By taking yourselves out of the judgment seat, you are putting these people back into God's hand. As the ISV translation says, leave room for God's wrath.
Alright, there is time for just one more story.
On a particular day, I was put in charge of the office where I was outnumbered by women who had taught us men, how to install and repair pay phones. A particular lady, who had a horrific case plantar fasciitis, whined incessantly about how she could not do the job. I suspect that I misread her that day, and thought that she was saying that she could not do the added dimension of installing the wiring. I asked her to stay in the office for a moment and proceeded to tell her, in my most Pharisaical tone, that as a Christian I was ashamed of her because, we, as believers, can do all things through Christ. The short of it, within about six months my judgment came back on me, and I found myself ashamed of my actions. I don't know what became of her, but I lost everything dear to me. So, I understand how this works, and you don't want to get into the judgment game.
As an addendum:
4/16/18 Monday morning's Men's study
Opened with, "Vengeance, we are not to even have the thought!"
Is this possible?
Paul, in his letter to Timothy, wrote (2Timothy 4:14,15)
2 Timothy 4:14-15 AMPC Alexander the coppersmith did me great wrongs. The Lord will pay him back for his actions. 15) Beware of him yourself, for he opposed and resisted our message very strongly and exceedingly.
2 Timothy 4:15 GNB Be on your guard against him yourself, because he was violently opposed to our message.
2 Timothy 4:15 MSG Fiercely opposed to our Message, he caused no end of trouble. God will give him what he's got coming.