Approximately twelve chapters…in Genesis deal with Jacob.
What is so great about the dealings with Jacob,…. is God’s grace.
Jacob was so unworthy….he was always working things out for himself, often in unbelief of God’s promises to him…yet God was faithful and amazingly patient with him….loving him, and seeing to him.
Grace is the unmerited favor of power….and Jacob…which means schemer….by God’s grace was first called to be Israel….which means prince with God….and then finally made Israel.
(Jacob is a manifestation of the two natures within a believer….the old nature which works his own way….and the new nature which ever wants to please God.
They “fight, or lusteth” against each other Galatians 5:17….till the Holy Spirit produces His fruit within us….
…..Galatians 6:8 “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”)
God’s grace kept Jacob in all of his schemes and travels….and finally leads him into the apprehending of God’s promise to him.
It is that promise we will speak of:
Genesis 28:10-11 “And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.”
By this time, Jacob was a grown man. He was a man of the herds,…and growing things. He wanted the “birthright”….or the promises of God to Abraham about the Messiah….to come to him.
But ever, as his name implies….he seeks to get them by ungodly means. First getting his brother to “sell” the birthright, which would have come to the eldest son, for a “mess of pottage”.
Then tricking his father into giving him the blessing of the elder, which included the birthright. It was a trick….but Isaac could not retract the blessing….in fact, saw that it should have been given to Jacob and not the elder as he thought.
All this caused tension in the household…..and so,…
…Jacob was sent to his mother’s brother family to get a wife. (He was not to marry a Canaanite.)…to try and cool down tensions.
So he travels alone….the first time away from home….toward his mother’s family…in Haran.
(…and have not we done the same…..tried to work out the Lord’s will….our way!)
It is growing dark, so he stops and gathers some stones for a makeshift bed….and fell asleep.
But he dreamed.
Genesis28:12 “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.”
Here we see God’s grace to Jacob, who by his actions have distanced the affections of all but a few. Alone, and asleep.
But in this state….after all Jacob has done, God marvelously appears to him. This is grace….the unmerited favor of power. And this power comes to Jacob in the way of a promise.
The first thing Jacob sees is a “ladder”.
We know this is a picture of Christ.
John 1:51 “And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”
(This ladder is seen “set on earth”….up to heaven….showing that Christ Jesus’ earthly ministry fulfilled our Salvation and Sanctification…..He has made a way from earth to heaven…through Himself.)
The ladder reached down….right where Jacob, the schemer lay…..and reached up to heaven….where the Lord stood.
(Any time the Lord is standing, it signifies He is ready to do for us!
◦ And God in Christ reaches down to us…..right where we are….as we are…”just as I am”.)
Genesis 28:13-15 “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 lies, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
…..and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
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.”
What a promise! Everything Jacob could want….a man alone, but not alone, for God is with him…..protected by God!…wherever he goes….and guiding him there….and back again into the land God would give him…and his seed.
(The promise of his “seed” is the same promise God gave Abraham concerning the Messiah to come. (Galatians 3:16). Here, the Lord gives Jacob the blessing of the lineage of Christ!)
But Jacob…..how little did he believe! How little did he understand God’s ways! How little did he grasp the wonder and magnitude of God’s Word!
(And are we not the same? How many times God has given us a promise and we do not appropriate the grace of it!
In a promise there is the first benefit of the Word of the Most High….to us. It should instill peace.
The second benefit of a promise is to lead us to look to God…and keep looking.
The last benefit of the Word of a promise is to prove the faithfulness of God to us….personally by receiving the grace to have it….and marking when it is fulfilled….in any measure….and give thanks.)
Genesis 28:16-18, 20-22 “And Jacob awaked…..and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place;…And he was afraid and said, How dreadful is this place!….And Jacob….took the stone he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.”
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If…..”
(There was no “if” on God’s part….sadly, only on Jacob’s!)
“….If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:….
And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.”
Bargains are what Jacob was noted for….he did not praise God for His Word to him….but spoke mostly of what he will do!
But God will not desert him for his ignorance in unbelief….
…but will train and teach him…..and fulfill His Word….through many trials….(some he caused to himself)….
…this is God’s great grace….to Jacob….through all his years,…sorrows, victories, and joys.
And this same grace is to us!
The Lord will not leave us….even in our failures; but will correct and get us back in the way of blessing.
As one preacher prayed: “May the God of grace enlarge our hearts to receive His grace for today…..and may He empower us to magnify HIs grace, in our lives.”
(It is amazing the number of times in the scriptures that the “God of Jacob” is mentioned…..to encourage us.
Psalm 20:1 “The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee.”
Psalm 46:7, 11 “The Lord of hosts is with us; God of Jacob is our refuge.”
Psalm 75:9 “…I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.”
Psalm 81:1 “Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.”
Psalm 84:8 “O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
Psalm 114:7-8 “Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; which turned the rock into a standing water,…”
Psalm 146:5 “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is the Lord his God:”)