Posts Tagged ‘jacob’

Then he charged them and said to them: “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah. Genesis 50:29-31
I’ve been tricked!

Looking back these many years of marriage I can recall a time when my wife may have likely uttered that very phrase, tricked“I’ve been tricked!” I am ashamed to say that there was a period of time I was not behaving as the Christian man she had met and married. By the grace of God she rode-out the calamity when honestly nobody would have faulted her if she chosen to dump me. I suspect her rage and despair was similar to that of Jacob’s when on his wedding night, his father-in-law switched his beloved and beautiful fiance, Rachel with her less-than attractive sister Leah.

Where’s Rachel?

The story from Genesis is a peculiar one. We know from previous accounts that initially, Jacob loved and adored Rachel —so why is he requesting to be buried next to (gulp) Leah? Well, we don’t know for certain, but I would suggest that something happened in those years with Leah that changed his mind and his heart regarding their relationship; something that was ordained and orchestrated by God.

Rachel was beautiful to behold, and why Jacob was originally drawn to her, but the reality was that God allowed Leah to become his first wife. Through the years, while Rachel had come to display some unflattering qualities, Leah’s inner beauty began to shine forth. In time Leah would bring Jacob his first son, Rueben and afterwards, Judah. God would later reveal to Jacob Judah’s exclusive ancestry regarding the Messiah. His love for Leah grew as God’s plan unfolded. What a tragedy it would have been if Jacob had shunned or discretely dismissed Leah.

God Has a Plan

Jacob was deceived and some would say he had every right to be angry and bitter, but he chose to maintain the course God had laid out before him. Similarly (and all praise be to God) my wife chose to stay the course, despite the reality of my then destructive behavior. In due season, by faith, and by God’s unlimited mercy and grace, these circumstances were resolved; as God redeemed me, He also redeemed our marriage. The reality of your situation might very well be that you married the wrong one, at least in your eyes. However, the divine truth of the matter is that once we say, “I do,” God ordains the relationship, and a vow is still a vow. Whether or not you were duped [like my wife] or now realize your nuptials were in error, that awareness is irrelevant to God.

You’re In the Boat Now

Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” Luke 8:22-25

This story exposes a grand and magnificent promise: If Jesus says that we are crossing over to the side, guess what? We are crossing over to the other side; case closed. Once we have committed our relationships, by oath, before the Lord, we have in effect gotten into a boat whose destination is assured. The only way this journey will not succeed is if we ignore the Captain and jump ship. In Christ Jesus, every marriage can endure and find safe harbor.

But I’ve already jumped ship!

It’s all good if you’re all in for Christ. Praise be to God, it’s water under the bridge. In Christ Jesus, we are free of the bonds of our sinful past and free to walk in the will of God. Do not lament, but rejoice! Everything that occurs to the Christian is a blessing from God or a lesson from God. Glean from both and move forward; receive as yours His peace that surpasses all understanding. Could you have done something different? Could you have chosen more wisely? Yes, we know the answer is yes, but Jesus doesn’t want us to carry that burden; He took that load to the cross before we were born! To His glory, the only thing we need to take away from the past is a stronger faith in our Redeemer.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1

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For I am ready to fall, And my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin. But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong; And those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied. Those also who render evil for good, They are my adversaries, because I follow what is good. Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! Psalm 38:17-22

As I have shared before, I study the Bible utilizing both the King James and New King James versions side by side. To date I have yet to find any verses that contradict one another, but quite often I do come across subtle nuances in the language that help me to understand the passages a little better. Today was no exception.

In Psalm 38:17 the NKJV reads, ‘For I am ready to fall.’ The KJV on the other hand substitutes the word halt for the last word. Halt tends to give the phrase a different meaning, so I looked-up the Hebrew translation and discovered that it doesn’t mean ‘to stop,’ like I originally thought, but rather ‘to limp,’ as to be hindered by a disability. The Psalmist was essentially saying to God, “I am ready to be lame.”

What in the World was David Talking About?

Reading the entire Psalm, we see that David was in a desperate place; he was suffering with a disease that was brought about by his own sin. As I read the Psalm, I don’t know if the disease was real (some surmise it could have been a sexually transmitted disease or even leprosy) or a case of David waxing poetically about how debilitating sin can be. Either way, David was suffering greatly and was ready to submit wholly to the Lord. I get the sense that when David wrote, “I am ready to halt,” he was in reality making an allusion to Jacob’s story in Genesis 32.

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank. Genesis 32:24-32

We would recall that Jacob learned his brother Esau (and a small army) were coming to meet him and the news left Jacob greatly afraid and distressed, for he felt Esau was coming to kill him. Jacob cried out to the Lord for delivery, but he did not heed His counsel. Instead, in his flesh, he sent gifts ahead of him in an attempt to appease his brother. The passage above is what happened next and as a result of having wrestled with God, Jacob was left with a limp for the rest of his life and a new name: Israel, which means, ‘governed by God.’

When David wrote in the Psalm that he was ready to halt, he was affectively saying that he, like Jacob, was ready to be governed by God. From that point forward, King David maintained a figurative limp that identified him as one who was fully dependant upon God, as one with a limp would be fully dependant upon a staff to move forward.

Where are you in your walk? Are you ready to limp?

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ’You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Exodus 19:3-4

God had broken Egypt’s yoke of oppression upon Israel and He accomplished the feat in a style miraculous. No one else could have possibly achieved this compliment for Israel in the manner or for the purpose it was done and now God wants Israel to remember. This reminder comes just prior to the receiving of the Law; the mirror that reflects our sinful character and the road sign that points us to the only solution in Jesus Christ. In this recount, God makes application to an eagle and her fledgling; an analogy that He will return to over and over again in His word.

As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings, Deuteronomy 32:11

Stirring up the Nest

For the baby eagle the nest is a very comfy place, but as it matures that once cozy respite becomes less and less comfortable—by design. When the fledglings become restless and fidgety with their surroundings, it is a sign to mama to stir things up. As we are likely familiar, one by one each bird is thrown overboard. We also know that after a brief free-fall, mama swoops in and rescues each one, but on one of those occasions, baby bird will spread his wings, catch a draft, and rise spectacularly. No other animal creature on earth captures this maturation process more dramatically than the eagle and why God makes use of the imagery repeatedly.

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

In many ways Egypt was a nest for Israel. When they had arrived there four hundred years earlier, it was a safe, albeit temporary haven, but as they matured as a nation it became a bit rough and scratchy to say the least. The trials Israel endured up until this point were akin to being shoved out of an uninhabitable aerie, only to be caught into the loving arms of God and given safe passage to the other side. Sadly, Israel has yet to realize the process that they are undergoing, despite God’s continued explanation. The question for us is do we grasp God’s methodology in this our sanctification?

Waiting on the Lord

“Those who wait on the Lord,” is an oft misunderstood Bible verse. While ‘waiting’ most certainly applies to long-suffering and patience, its primary application (as it pertains to the Isaiah passage) is revealed in what a waiter does in the performance of his duties—he ‘waits’ on his customer. When we are told to wait on the Lord, we are being directed towards Christian service so that He may renew our strength, so that we might mount up with wings like eagles, so that we may run and not grow weary, and so we can walk and not faint. Oh, these are not things we must do towards salvation (Jesus finished that work), but rather things we ought to do in order to further God’s Kingdom according to God’s perfect plan. We can squawk and complain, or we can do as James suggested in his epistle…

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

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You’ve Got to See This!

Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk. Genesis 49:8-12

Israel Blesses Israel

Israel is on the verge of blessing his twelve sons, the offspring of which will become the twelve tribes of Israel the nation. Amazingly these blessings prophetically outline the nation’s entire history; from birth to its glorious restoration at Christ’s second coming in these the last days. These God-inspired prophetic illustrations are astonishing. Let’s look at all the blessings, saving Judah’s blessing, the fourth blessing out of the twelve, for last.

Reuben’s blessing prophetically speaks of the birth of Israel as a nation and their forty-year downfall in the desert. Simeon and Levi’s addresses the scattering of Israel and the two captivities they endured. Zebulon’s speaks to Israel’s exile as a result of rejecting Jesus and Issachar’s the continued prosperity of the nation despite their snubbing of Christ. It could be said that we are currently in this era of Issachar’s blessing.

Dan’s blessing entails the emergence of Antichrist and Gad’s speaks to the heightened persecution brought on by this global terrorist. Asher’s looks to the 144, 000 Jewish evangelicals who will come on the scene and Naphtali’s the sharing of that life-saving Good News message. Joseph’s blessing prophetically reveals Christ’s second coming and Benjamin’s to Israel’s victorious restoration following the Battle of Armageddon. Did you get all that? Read through Genesis 49 and compare notes.

Saving the Best for Last

I pulled Judah’s blessing out from the sequence so that we could spotlight it alone, for from Judah comes Shiloh, our Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Reread Genesis 48:8-12 and check-out the remarkable prophetic images of our Jesus. For the most part they are easy to recognize, but what can we make of verse ten?

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes… Genesis 49:10

Eyewitness News

In 30 AD, in the eyes of Israel, a terrible thing occurred that caused the nation much despair – the Jerusalem Talmud records that Jews lost the power of capital punishment (40 years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD).

This was devastating news to the Jews because the ‘scepter’ of their authority, as prophesied by Jacob, had ‘departed’ and their ‘Shiloh’ (Messiah) had not yet come forth. Their perception had to be that Jacob’s prophecy, i.e. God’s Word to His people, was a lie.

However, their distress was unwarranted because Messiah had arrived. In fact, it was at this very time a 30 year old Jesus appears on the scene to begin His earthly ministry. Although Israel would go on to reject Him, we know by means of God’s true word, they will be restored when they come to see Him for who He truly is—their (our) Messiah.


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Sacrifice and PraiseSo Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac…Then he sent Judah before him to Joseph… Genesis 46:1 & 28

It Seemed Like the Right Thing to Do

I can scarcely begin to tell how many times I have advanced a decision to do something based exclusively on the notion that it seemed like the right thing to do. By God’s grace, not every choice was dreadful; sometimes things turned out well and other times, not so well. Our Father would rather our movements be in harmony with His and so, through His servant Israel He provides instruction, that if pursued will facilitate discerning His will before we leap haphazardly.

Digging Up the Past

Israel is about to enter Egypt and he stops. I suppose his memory drifts back to the days of his grandfather Abraham who found himself in a similar predicament—there was famine in the land and he too went to Egypt for resources. At the time, to Abraham it must have seemed like the right thing to do, but his grievous error was in not seeking God’s will. Despite the fact he returned a wealthy man, part of his yield included a slave girl named Hagar, who would bear him a son named Ishmael, the likes of which the world still struggles today.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2

Israel is unquestionably anxious to see his son Joseph and to obtain provision for his family, but he stops just short of entering in and inquires of God. While impatience, eagerness, and enthusiasm are my customary stumbling blocks, Israel demonstrates that selfishness will not stand between him and his relationship with his Father. Subsequently, God honors that sacrifice by authorizing and confirming Israel’s entry into Egypt.

“I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.” Genesis 46:3-4

Ready, Set, GO!

Not so fast. This is the stage where many of us would proclaim, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” as we geared-up to move forward with God’s blessing, but Israel’s reaction is quite different. Relaxed and poised he selects his son Judah to go before him and to greet Joseph. Why Judah? Because the name Judah (in Hebrew) means praise—Israel moves forth with praise and praise leads the way! Let us by sacrifice seek His will and then proceed with our praises toward Him.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalms 100:4

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Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Genesis 35:1-2I cannot help but stroll back to yesterday’s blog where we scrutinized Jacob’s dreadful performance regarding his daughter’s assault and his handling of the horrific deeds perpetrated by two sons. Now we learn in today’s Bible passage that Jacob tolerated idols in his house! How could this possibly happen? This is what occurs when as parents (like Jacob) we are indifferent to the seemingly innocuous proceedings going on around us.

God’s Grace

Jacob knew he messed up. He knew he should not have moved his family to Heathenville, he knew he should have taken charge of the Dinah incident, and he knew he should have reeled-in his boys prior to their becoming mass-murders. Jacob also knew God’s grace when he saw it, for when God told him, “Arise, ” and go back to Bethel, he understood the wonderful implication—God forgives me. God fundamentally is saying to Jacob, “Go back to the place you last felt My presence.” It has always been His message to us as well.

Jacob is so bowled over by God’s mercy; so appreciative; so grateful, as a devotional response he removes every trace of evil from his home. His family had to be thankful too, for there is not one objection to Jacob’s request. If you don’t think that’s noteworthy, just imagine the mayhem that would ensue if we as parents suddenly decided to remove all the ‘idolized’ things from our dwelling places.

God is in the House

So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel… Genesis 35:6-7a

While it was true there was gratefulness and jubilation galore, there was also reckonable spiritual growth. We would recall that when Jacob first arrived at Luz he renamed the place ‘Bethel’; i.e. he changed the name from ‘separated’ to ‘House of God’–a wise and notable deed at the time. However, Jacob recognizes now that it is not the house, but the God in the house and renames the place appropriately El Bethel, or ‘The God of the House of God.”

That is huge spiritual development and the application for us is similarly gargantuan! It’s not the church; it’s the God of the church and it’s not the Bible; it’s the God of the Bible and it is not the ministry, but it is the God in the ministry. Oh how we need to remember that.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

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Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her. Genesis 33:1-2A Father’s Responsibility

I am not going to suggest that Dinah’s attack was Jacob’s fault; that burden falls squarely upon the shoulders of her attacker (whose name oddly enough means shoulder). However I am going to say that the situation could have likely been avoided if Jacob had not placed his family (and his daughter) in such a precarious and unhealthy environment. Jacob was living on the edge of ‘Heathenville’ and he knew it. To make matters worse, consider the carnage that ensued…

…Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went out. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled. They took their sheep, their oxen, and their donkeys, what was in the city and what was in the field, and all their wealth. All their little ones and their wives they took captive; and they plundered even all that was in the houses. Genesis 33:25b-28

A Lack of Supervision

Things were bad (prior to this massacre), but Jacob had the opportunity to take control of the situation and see to it that justice was administered. Instead he chose to remain silent. All things considered it was Jacob’s ineffectiveness and peace that provoked his two boy’s immature response. Again, it does not excuse the behavior of Simeon and Levi.

The root of this problem goes back to when Jacob elected to move his family to an unsafe setting. The entire account brings to mind Lot’s avoidable-saga when he pitched his tent on the outskirts of Sodom and Gomorrah and ultimately became entangled in the goings-on of that horrid place. I cannot help but read Jacob’s account and wonder why is it recorded in the Bible given that there is no positive outcome? Only one thing makes sense…

Consider it a Warning

Examining Jacob’s actions (and inactions) we wonder how he could be so ignorant and lackadaisical; the answer to which we will never know. But it should give us pause and reason to reflect upon the things we allow our children easy access. Suffice it to say, the consequences for the choices our children make are ultimately their own, but what affect did our indifference or ignorance have on these decisions—what was our role? Please consider this short story I took off the web a while back—it’s quite thought provoking. It is attributed to Joy Innes and is called…

The Stranger


“A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger? He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.) Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them.
Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home … not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.
My Dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex.
His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked … and NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you were to walk into my parent’s den today you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name?
We just call him TV.”

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Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:24-28The Story Behind the Picture

Have you ever seen the portrayal of a shepard carrying a lamb upon his shoulders? Typically, tender hands are seen fixed upon front and hind legs with the animal positioned around his neck as a stoll. What you might not know is that in reality the scene depicts a shepard carrying the lamb of whose legs he has just purposely broken. That lamb was a habitual wanderer and for his own good he was afflicted. The seemingly brutal shepard will now carry the lamb until he is fully healed and in so doing the lamb will come to love his caretaker and never leave his side.

The Lamb Afflicts the Lamb

In this saga from Genesis we see Jacob grappling with a Man, and that Man is Jesus. Ultimately, Jesus will inflict an injury so severe upon Jacob; he will carry the scar and the limb for the rest of his life. It might cause us to ask the questions, “If God is love (and He is), why would He purposely hurt Jacob? And why does God purposely bring pain into my life?” Thes story of the shepard and the lamb only scratches the surface.


Sanctification is nothing more than a fancy word which describes the refining process we go through so that we might be set apart for God’s good pleasure and purpose. God has specific intentions for us that align with His plan and here in our story he has similar purpose for Jacob. But first some things are going to have to change.

What is Your Name?

That’s the question God asks of Jacob—it is confession time. God knows with whom He is wrestling, but before the blessing is bestowed Jacob must take ownership of his offenses. If you recall, the last time Jacob was asked his name was when his blind father Isaac posed the question. At that time Jacob lied and said he was Esau so that he might steal the blessing. When Jacob tells God (here) that his name is Jacob, he is essentially confessing that he is a liar and a thief. As a result Jesus pronounces that his new name will be Israel; or ‘governed by God.’

So Why the Busted Leg?

A combination of reasons come to mind. First, Jacob was a runner (like the lamb) and as a result of this encounter, his running-away days are over—thanks be to God. Secondly, his limb will now serve as a reminder of his life up unto this event—Jacob now has a testimony that he will recall with every hobbled step he takes. Thirdly, like the Apostle Paul he will possess an infirmity effecting remembrance of the Father’s truth, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The reality is that God purposely inflicts or knowingly allows affliction because it is a part of the sanctification process. 1 Kings 6:7 provides a wonderful picture that facilitates much hope. It reads, “And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built.”

That passage is an illustration of the sanctification process. The Bible tells us we are the stones in the walls of the His temple. We are being prepared currently in an earthly quarry with the promise that hammering and chiseling, the sounds of the refining process will not be heard in Heaven.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

If you are still struggling with the notion of a loving and hurting God, then perhaps you should go have something to eat—understanding and insight can be had at the Lord’s Table in Communion.

…And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24

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So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flock, and said to them, “I see your father’s countenance, that it is not favorable toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me…Yet your father has deceived me…” Genesis 31:4-5, 7aMirrors Do Not Lie

Jacob was not lying—the portrayal and disclosure regarding his father-in-law was an accurate one. But I submit to you that Jacob’s aptitude for recognizing character flaws came easily because his subject’s behavior was merely reflective of his own. Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew gives us further insight.

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ’Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

When we examine the original language in which this text was recorded we discover that that the speck so easily identified in others is actually a splinter of the same piece of wood we possess. Did you get that? That speck is not similar to our portion; it is the same exact thing only smaller. No wonder recognition is effortless!

That’s Good News!

Our propensity to identify imperfection (in others) is inevitable—how we use the talent is what Jesus desires we consider. We are being told that when we experience the judging urge we should liberally purge. Judging others is not necessarily inappropriate mind you, but who would listen to a diatribe concerning alcohol abuse (for an example) if the professor were stinking drunk.

The Speck in Your Eye

A lot of the time we find ourselves on the receiving end of these declarations. When this occurs there are two things to mull over. First, your accuser might be on to something and we should not summarily dismiss the indictment because he is stinking drunk (for an example). The second issue is to be cognizant that your petitioner might have a larger problem. Suddenly the tables have been turned and we find ourselves in a position of restoration. How should we proceed? Consider wise council…

Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

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…And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. Genesis 28:11b-12Recognition

Beating ourselves up for our sinful ways is something I suspect we all do it from time to time and running away to hide is as old as the first practitioners of the behavior, Adam and Eve. As a practice of self-imposed chastisement for believing we are contemptible, we deny ourselves niceties–Adam and Eve opted for itchy fig leaves and here in our story Jacob chooses for his pillow a stone.

We need to stop. It might seem prejudicious or discriminatory, but what was acceptable for Jacob is not satisfactory for us. Remember, Jacob did not have the direction of the Ten Commandments as we do—that magnificent road sign that tells us who we are (sinners) and to Whom we need to go (Jesus the Christ). When we run, when we hide, when we beat ourselves up, we are essentially denying the genuineness of the truth we already know—Jacob did not yet possess such a luxury.

Jacob Sees Jesus

And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:51

What happens next in Jacob’s life can be likened to what occurs in our lives when we acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior—the recognition of being saved by God and for God! Qualities and activities emerge from Jacob’s experience that can best be categorized as the characteristics of a new believer.

The Born Again Disposition

When a Christian comes into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ—when there is recognition of God’s presence, provision, and promise in a life, certain traits exemplified by Jacob begin to appear. Oh not by way of fleshly endeavors, but rather works of God–supernatural occurrences enabling us to function unselfishly and with Divine focus and purpose. While not an exhaustive list, these three elements will be apparent:


Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. Genesis 28:18

There is just something about being rescued that brings out the best in a person–the greater the liberation the larger the gratitude, but when these events occur in the worldly arena, in time appreciation tends to fade. Not so with salvation in Christ Jesus—the ramifications of salvation are immeasurable and the homecoming is inevitable.
We rejoice.


…And of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You Genesis 28:22

A saved Christian knows that nothing done in the flesh got him to this point—the work of salvation was finished by Jesus on the cross. With that knowledge and as we gain insight to God’s will, we begin to function in response. Christian service and stewardship is really nothing more than Spirit-guided gestures that acknowledge God’s dominion and authority.


So Jacob went on his journey…Genesis 29:1

With the narrow path comes the expectation and hope of forward progression. Despite occasional stumbles, retreats, or seasons of idleness, the born again believer will be in the practice of advancing towards a common goal with like-minded believers—a plan orchestrated and designed by God and for His good pleasure.

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