“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19 KJV
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 KJV
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 KJV
“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.” Hebrews 11:20 KJV
There is so much in Genesis chapters 25-35 that deeply touches me. I am thinking about the human race, believers, sins, feelings, reputation, and age. I am thinking about sons and fathers, mothers and daughters, hearts, wonder, intrigue, romantic love, lust, passion, violation, and anguish. I am thinking about pride, anger, resentment, hate, vengeance/revenge, deception, treachery, violence, destruction, fear, and so many other things. I am thinking about a cast of characters who are found in the account of one man’s life. The man’s name is Jacob, who was later to be called Israel. I am also thinking about God’s love, mercy, grace, and provision.
Where do I start? Should I attempt to write five more paragraphs and use three point enumeration? I am stumped. How do I take the glimpses of light that flickered as I read those chapters, and explain the impact they made on my heart?
I believe a brief overview would be helpful today. I do realize that it is a lot of material to cover. I started with chapter 25 and counted the pages in this average sized Bible here on my table until I got to the end of chapter 35. I believe it was about 17 pages. This is only an overview that is highlighting some events, so hopefully it won’t be too long.
Jacob was a twin. His brother’s name was Esau. Here is what the Bible says:
“21 And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord.
23 And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.” Genesis 25:21-26 KJV
Normally, the eldest son had certain honors and privileges during the time that Jacob lived, but the Lord had a different plan. The fact that He had this plan did not justify the sinful actions of the people involved, but the Lord did indeed follow through with His plan.
Jacob deceived his father and enraged his brother Esau.
“34 And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.
35 And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.
36 And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
37 And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?
38 And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.” Genesis 27:30-41 KJV
Esau was thinking about killing Jacob, so when Rebekah, their mother, found out about it she told Jacob that he must flee to her brother Laban’s home which was far away.
“42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;
44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away;
45 Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?” Genesis 27:42-45 KJV
Rebekah had no idea that the days would roll into weeks, and the weeks would span over two decades. She did not know that she would never see her son Jacob again in her lifetime.
One night during his journey to Laban Jacob had an encounter with the Lord. He had a dream and the Lord spoke to Jacob.
“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.
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.” Genesis28:12-17 KJV
When Jacob arrived in the land of his Uncle Laban he immediately fell in love with Rachel and worked 7 years for Laban, so he could take her for his wife, but Laban tricked (supplanted) Jacob and gave him Rachel’s older sister, Leah. When Jacob confronted him Laban told him that he could have Rachel, too if he would agree to work for seven more years. Jacob agreed and actually ended up working for about 20 years altogether.
Finally Jacob took his family and quietly headed back to his homeland, unaware that Rachel had stolen Laban’s household Gods. When Laban found out about all of that he pursued and overtook Jacob. Laban confronted Jacob and Jacob in turn confronted Laban. Then they made peace with each other and parted.
“ And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?” Genesis 31:36
“41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.
42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.” Genesis 31:41-42
“46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.
47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.
48 And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
49 And Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee.
51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee:
52 This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.
53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.
54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.
55 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.” Genesis 31:46-55 KJV
Once again, Jacob set forth on his way, and it wasn’t long before he had two meaningful encounters, the first was with the Lord and the second was with his estranged brother Esau. Jacob was 20 years older and in some ways wiser, but this new experience would be a transforming experience. He was about to be both humbled and exalted all at the same time!
There is so much material that I have covered today, and so much more that I still need to cover in order to explain the things that the Lord has impressed upon me that I will continue tomorrow (hopefully) in a separate post
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