Monday, August 03, 2020

2020.08.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 31:1–16

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Jacob hear in Genesis 31:1? What were Laban’s sons saying that Jacob had done? What does Jacob see in Genesis 31:2? What was the difference in it now, from before? Who spoke to Jacob in Genesis 31:3? What does He tell Jacob to do? Whom does He say will be with Jacob? For whom does Jacob send in Genesis 31:4? To where? To what? What does he say that he has seen (Genesis 31:5)? How does he now explain his surviving and prospering? What does he say that they know (Genesis 31:6)? What does Jacob say that Laban has done (Genesis 31:7)? What does Jacob say has kept Laban from succeeding in this? How did God stop him (Genesis 31:8)? What does Jacob conclude that God has done (Genesis 31:9)? What had happened to Jacob, when (Genesis 31:10)? Who spoke to him (Genesis 31:11)? What did He say? What did Jacob say? In Genesis 31:12, what explanation does God give for which rams “leap on the flocks”? How does God identify Himself in Genesis 31:13? What two things does He remind Jacob that Jacob had done at Bethel (verse 13)? What does God now command Jacob to do? What do Rachel and Leah ask in Genesis 31:14? What do they ask in Genesis 31:15? What do they say that Laban has done? What do they say that God has done (Genesis 31:16)? To whom do they say that the flocks really belong? What do they tell Jacob to do? 
Our God sees. Everything.

Long before Jacob “saw the countenance of Laban, and indeed it was not favorable toward him as before” (Genesis 31:2), Yahweh had “seen all that Laban is doing to you” (Genesis 31:12). This is not good news for Laban. Indeed, it is not good news for anyone who is outside of Christ. Apart from Christ, “God knows my heart” is never good news.

But for the Christian, it is great news that God sees everything that is done to us.

Because our God works. In everything. For our good.

Laban’s failure to harm Jacob wasn’t for lack of trying. And it wasn’t for Jacob’s cleverness or diligence to overcome it—no matter what Jacob at first thought about his clever breeding scheme. No, in the vision to which Jacob refers in Genesis 31:11-13, he learned the real reason, “but God did not allow him to hurt me” (Genesis 31:7).

Thus, God had instructed His chosen one. So that Jacob would not see the instruction in Genesis 31:3 as an indication that what Jacob really needed was a change of geographic location.

Our God is with us. Everywhere.

The promise attached to Jacob’s removal back to Canaan is, “and I will be with you” (verse 3). But this would not be something new. Indeed, God had always been with him.

Jacob understands that this is the message of Genesis 31:11-13, when he says later in Genesis 31:42, “Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac had been with me.” Jacob has learned that God isn’t just with His people in Canaan, or when running from Esau.

The angels had always been ascending and descending, in their continually obedient attendance unto God’s elect one. It had never been by might, nor by power, but always by God’s Spirit that Jacob had been protected and prospered in his way.

Why then the relocation to Canaan? Because it is the land of promise. This is how we are to understand, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family” from Genesis 31:3. The Lord is commanding Jacob to make his life choices as someone who clings to God’s promises, which are terms upon which God has bound Himself to him in covenant.

This is the greatest covenant promise—the one that makes all of the other ones a blessing, and to which all of the other ones point: “I will be your God, and you will be My people.”

This is what you need, dear Christian. Whether or not you can escape trouble, heal from disease, improve financial circumstances, get relief from persecution. The Lord may or may not alter your circumstances, but whether in these circumstances or new ones, here will be your purpose, your protection, your prosperity, your pleasure: “Unless  the God of Abraham had been with me…”
What circumstances/people are a threat? What is your protection, prosperity, and pleasure in it?
Suggested songs: ARP146 “Praise the Lord” or TPH257 “Children of the Heavenly Father”

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