Saturday, September 05, 2020

2020.09.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 32:1–12

 Read Genesis 32:1–12

Questions from the Scripture text: Who met Jacob after he departed from Laban (Genesis 32:1)? What did Jacob say when he saw them (Genesis 32:2)? What did he call the name of the place? Who sends messengers to whom in Genesis 32:3? Where does Jacob say he has been (Genesis 32:4)? What does Jacob say that he has (Genesis 32:5)? What does he hope to obtain? When the messengers return, whom do they say is coming (Genesis 32:6)? And whom else? How does Jacob feel about this news (Genesis 32:7)? What does he do with all of his people and livestock? What is his reasoning (Genesis 32:8) for this? Then Whom does Jacob address in Genesis 32:9? What does he call Him? What does Jacob say about himself in Genesis 32:10? With what had he crossed over the Jordan? What is his condition now? For what does he ask at the beginning of Genesis 32:11? What does he say that he feared from Esau? Of Whose words does Jacob remind God in Genesis 32:12? What had God said? 

Jacob had just escaped Laban’s ill intentions toward him, when he is about to come into the country where Esau had settled down. To prepare Jacob for this, the Lord permits him to see beings (Genesis 32:1) whom he recognizes from his vision in Genesis 28:12.

This is a reminder not only of how much the Lord has blessed Jacob (Genesis 32:4-5Genesis 32:10b), but also of the circumstances of that previous encounter—running for his life from Esau! Jacob realizes that Esau will be curious and maybe even (understandably) suspicious of all this company coming through his territory, so he sends a delegation ahead to explain (Genesis 32:3). But the news they bring back is that Esau is on his way with a force larger than that which grandpa Abraham used to defeat the winning coalition of a world war (Genesis 32:6, cf. Genesis 14:14).

It can be quite profitable to our souls to be brought from one extremity into another. And Jacob has certainly gone from the frying pan to the proverbial fire. His immediate reflex is to come up with his own plan in Genesis 32:7-8, but even this does not seem like a pleasant prospect—that half of his family and property might face annihilation.

Having just seen the angels in Genesis 32:1, he now remembers the promise that the Lord had made him the first time he had seen God’s angels (Genesis 32:9Genesis 32:12). Suddenly, he seems to realize that God has already done for him far more than he had any right to ask or hope (Genesis 32:10). But, rather than making him shrink from asking, this lesson in the character of God actually drives the plea of Genesis 32:11.

God is graciously loving and reliably faithful. When you have come to know that God shows steadfast love to those who are unworthy of it, you respond by pleading your own unworthiness as you ask Him for steadfast love! When you realize that God has perfectly kept His Word thus far, you plead His promises back to Him and ask Him to keep them all!

Now, dear Christian, haven’t you discovered that God is the God who shows unfathomable love to you, in direct contradiction to your unworthiness? And haven’t you learned that it is especially in Christ and for the sake of Christ that He keeps all of His great and glorious promises to you? Whether or not He has brought you into a season of extremity you are able to say with Jacob, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant.” Call upon this God in your day of trouble!

What undeserved mercies has the Lord shown you? In what current trouble do you need more?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH23A “The Lord’s My Shepherd”

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