"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

April 15, 2015

One lengthy edition of Wednesdays in the Word

I love this verse:
"Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
whose hope is in the Lord his God." ~Ps. 146:5
It intrigued me that it wasn't the God of Abraham or the God of David or somebody a little more awesome than Jacob listed here. ; )

Jacob usually just reminds me of a guy whose name meant 'deceiver' who ended up reaping what he sowed over and over.
What I didn't realize before, is that God actually 'met' him 6 times and helped him in his greatest times of need! I love that!

The first time was in a dream after he deceived his father for the blessing that was rightfully, Esau's, and everyone thought it would be better for him to leave home. He went to his Uncle Laban's in search of a wife and a new life.
God met him in a place that became so special that Jacob named it 'the house of God' or Bethel. God spoke a promise of his destiny to him and a promise of protection for him. How great is that when you are starting a new life in a new place?! 
He learns that his descendants will be "as the dust of the earth" and that "in his seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed." "I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go...I will not leave until I have done what I have spoken to you." Now that, is reassuring!
(I get a kick out of the fact that Jacob was still a guy with a lot of nerve and makes the Almighty a conditional pledge in return. "If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on....then the Lord shall be my God." -Alrighty, then!)

The next time God met Jacob was in a dream when he's been used and abused by his father-in-law, Laban. God spoke comfort to him and gave the next steps in the plan for his life. He said "I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. (Love that!) I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. (I guess it was more than a pledge after all -LOL) Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family."

The approaching reunion with Esau, took two heavenly encounters for Jacob to get through it. ; ) Genesis 32:7 says that he was "greatly afraid and distressed."
On his way, "the angels of God met him" and when Jacob saw them he said "This is God's camp" and named the place a word that meant "Double camp."
That night, at another location, the famous heavenly wrestling match took place. Jacob wrestled with all he had within him for a blessing from God. God gave him a new name and a blessing! The 'deceiver' became a 'Prince with God.' He said 'you have struggled with God and with me, and have prevailed." And "He blessed him there." Then Jacob named the place Penuel, which means "Face of God."

Encounter number five happened at a very low point in Jacob's life. His family members had succumbed to idolatrous worship. His daughter had been raped and in retaliation, his sons deceive, murder, and plunder an entire city. God told Jacob to go back to Bethel! He's told to basically get his family right with God and they do. Then God blesses Jacob, reaffirms his previous promise and reaffirms his new name! (probably a needful reminder that God still had a plan for his family)

The final time, God 'met' with Jacob was at the end of his life. Everything that took place in his son, Joseph's life, (as a result of being sold by his brothers) had just been revealed. The brothers had been forgiven and Joseph was second to Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. Joseph planned to take the entire family to live there so that he could continue to provide for them during the famine. - It can't be easy to move to a foreign land at the age of 130. ; )  So God graciously spoke to him again and said "I am God...do not fear to go down to Egypt." Then he reaffirms that 'great nation' promise and says the best news of all: "I will go down with you to Egypt..."

You see, all along his life's journey, I don't think that Jacob realized that 'heaven' was going WITH him, as promised! He seemed to think he just happened to stumble into these heavenly places! (as evidenced by the names he gave them)
We see that at every twist and turn in Jacob's life, God met him and reassured him of who he was, and what the plan was for his life. And we see that with that plan, came God's protection, provision and best of all His presence! Hallelujah!

So, I get it now: Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help. Amen!


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