Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Genesis 28, 29, 30, 31

Have you ever heard someone say,” The Bible is not relevant today”?  Answer them with:  “Have you ever lied?  Have you ever felt unloved?”  The Bible is reality.  It teaches us how we can make the most of our situations.

God disciplines us to build our character.  Jacob lied 5 times in the previous chapter.  It takes a lie to sustain a lie.  But God forgives and give Jacob a renewed heart.  Growing up in a Christian home is not enough.  You have to experience it for yourself.  Jacob received the promises that God gave to his father and grandfather that all people would be blessed through him.  The Messiah would come from his descendants.

Genesis 28

Jacob had to leave home to escape Esau.  Isaac blessed Jacob before he left with the same blessing that God gave Abraham that his descendants would receive the promised land of Canaan.  Isaac told him not to marry a Canaanite woman, but to go to Paddon Aram to the house of his mother’s brother, Laban to take a wife there.  During Jacob journey he had a dream where God spoke to him.  God gave the same promises that He had given Abraham and Isaac.  Jacob promises that he, too, would serve God.  That’s why we call God the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”.  Jacob really wanted this blessing even though he used wrong methods to try to get it.  God gives His blessing where He wants and to whom He wants.  We cannot earn it.

Principle:  God meets us where our sin has led us to reveal our solution – Himself.

God pursues sinners.  Have you experienced God coming to you as a sinner? 
Has He showed you love? 
Can you say I’ve been redeemed? 
What is God revealing to you about Himself? 
Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for Him? 
How do you feel about Jacob getting blessings after he lied 5 times?  - None of us deserve the blessings we get.

Genesis 29

Jacob arrived and saw shepherds in the field watering their flocks from a well.  Then here comes Rachel.  Jacob sees Rachel and seems to love her at first sight.  Jacob’s mother, Rebekah had used a well in chapter 24 where she watered Abraham’s servant and his camels.  Soon after, Rebekah married Isaac.  Laban probably remembered the wealth he received from Abraham’s servant when he took Rebekah for Isaac’s wife in chapter 24.  So Laban invited Jacob to stay in his home probably hoping he would marry Leah or Rachel.  Jacob asked to marry Rachel, but Laban had him work for 7 years first.  He worked very hard while he stayed with Laban.  After the 7 years Laban arranged the wedding, but Laban was deceitful and gave him Leah, the oldest daughter instead.  The bride wore a veil and Jacob did not realize that it was Leah he had married.  When he did realize it, he asked Laban what he had done to him.  Laban explained that it was the custom for the oldest daughter to be given in marriage before the youngest.  But Jacob loved Rachel so he worked for Laban 7 more years for Rachel.  Now he had 2 wives and each wife had a maid. – Gen 29:1-30.  Just because something is recorded in scripture doesn’t make it God’s will.  With many wives there is always conflict in families.

Do you ever feel like Jacob? 
Do you fell stuck in your job or your marriage?

Take heart, because God was with Jacob was with him the whole time.  God has a purpose for you.  God is with you the whole time.  You may not have to wait 14 years or maybe you will wait even longer.  No matter how long it takes things will change.  God is with you.

God watched over Jacob and his family as He had promised.  Jacob never really loved Leah, but accepted her as his wife.  God knew that Leah was not loved so He helped her to have several children.  She had 4 sons:  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah.  Then she stopped having children. – Gen. 31-35. 

If you are living unloved, God knows your pain.  Jacob’s family was filled with jealousy.  Leah grew in faith with the births of her sons.  God comforts her through her children.  She is known as the mother of Israel.  Through her son Judah’s line would be Jesus.

Principle:  God will develop our character through personal hardships as we trust in Him.

How is God disciplining you?
What longing would you be willing to surrender to God in your Pain?

Chapter 30

It was very difficult for Rachel to have children so she gave her maidservant to Jacob so she too could build a family of her own.  The maidservant bore 2 sons, Dan and Naphtali.  Then Leah gave her maidservant to Jacob and she had 2 sons, Gad and Asher.  Then Leah had 2 more sons, Issachar and Zebulun.  Later Leah had a daughter, Dinah.  Then God remembered Rachel and she had a son and called him Joseph.  That makes 11 sons for Jacob.  Then in chapter 35 Rachel died in childbirth with another son, Benjamin making Jacob with 12 sons.

Jacob was a good servant to Laban.  He respected his authority even when Laban was deceitful and unfair.  Jacob obeyed his rules and worked 14 years for Rachel and Leah.  There is a lesson for us in this story.  We as Christians are to be honest and should always work hard and obey the rules of those in charge even when they are not watching.  We are to work as if working for the Lord.

Jacob wanted to leave Laban and return home, but Laban persuaded him to wait.  Laban offered to pay Jacob for his work.  Laban continued to cheat Jacob, but God made Jacob wealthy. – Gen. 30:25-43. 

Genesis 31

Finally God told Jacob to leave Laban so Jacob and his family left without saying goodbye to Laban.  When Laban heard he had left, he chased Jacob and caught up with him.  God intervenes to take care of His people.  He warned Laban in a dream to not force Jacob to return.  Laban knew he could not win against God and that God would protect Jacob.  Laban and Jacob made a covenant together not as friends, but that they would stay apart and that their sons would not fight each other.

Principle:  God keeps His promises in spite of human opposition and failure.

How do you respond when your obedience is opposed?   Obedience will be opposed.  The journey is not easy.  We all make mistakes and we get disappointed by people.

Three truths about God:
God’s commitment is who He is and not what you do.
God will discipline those He loves to build character.
Rest assured - God will bring each one of His children safely home.

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