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  • And He came

  •  :  The time to meet Esau has arrived, and Jacob is testing the waters.  He sends messengers to advise Esau of his return, and finds out Esau is already on his way with 400 men.  Jacob is scared; he has his entire family plus his servants, but that's not enough to defend himself against 400 men.  He fears Esau's wrath, so to try and keep his family safe he divides them into a separate camp, in the hopes that Esau will attack only one camp and his family will be safe.  He then turns to the Lord, and prays for safety.  Jacob wants to pacify his brother, so he sends servants ahead of him with gifts of livestock:  goats, sheep, camels, cattle and donkeys, each in separate herds.  He instructs his servants that upon meeting with his brother Esau, they are to tell him that the livestock is a gift from Jacob.  This, he hopes, will appease his brother's anger.


    Application:  Even though 20 years had passed, Jacob was still dealing with the consequences of his deception.  We all make mistakes, and we should always repent of those mistakes, but that doesn't mean the consequences go away.  This is why we should strive to live a godly life, so that we can avoid problems later on in life.

    Prayer:  Father, Your Word tells me how to live, and when I live my life as You've instructed, everything works out so much better.  Life is not perfect on this earth, and it isn't always fair, but living it according to Your will is the best way to avoid the heartaches that come from sin.  Help me to live a life that is honoring to You and that will result in a better life for myself and my loved ones.  Use my life as an example for them by showing me Your ways and keeping me on Your paths.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2012

    Genesis 31

    Scripture:  Genesis 31:22-55

    Observation:  Laban hears that Jacob has left with his family and livestock, and goes after him with all his kinsfolk.  He was pretty angry, but God spoke to Laban in a dream, and warned him not to say anything good or bad to Jacob.  When he finally caught up with Jacob seven days later, he asked why Jacob had left without letting him say goodbye?  And why had Jacob stolen Laban's gods?  Jacob admits he fled because he believed Laban would have taken his daughters by force, making it impossible for Jacob to leave.  Jacob then tells Laban to search for his gods, because he didn't know Rachel had taken them.  Laban goes from tent to tent and finds nothing.  He reaches Rachel's tent, but she tells him she can't get up because it's her time of the month.  Little did Laban know Rachel was sitting on the very items he was looking for!  When he could find nothing, Jacob angrily turned and told him off.  He was angry at being accused of stealing, angry at the way he'd been treated by Laban, angry that he'd worked hard for 20 years only to have his wages changed 10 times, and if it hadn't been because God was protecting him, he'd have left Haran empty handed.  Laban knows everything Jacob has said is true, and he doesn't try to deny it, but he also doesn't ask for forgiveness.  Instead, he speaks kindly to Jacob and seeks to smooth things over by offering a covenant between the two.  Jacob agrees, being a far more forgiving man, to Laban's terms.  A pillar was erected, and stones were placed, along with a sacrifice.  They agree that Jacob will treat his wives well, will take no other wives, and most importantly, neither will cross this spot to bring harm to the other.  They feast together, and the next morning Laban kisses his daughters and grandchildren goodbye, and leaves in peace.

    Application:  Laban had been very unjust to Jacob, and Jacob let it be known.  Laban didn't ask for forgiveness, yet Jacob was willing to give it and reconcile with his uncle/father-in-law.  Rather than hold a grudge or demand an apology or restitution, Jacob found it more important to mend the relationship.  Because of this both parties were able to leave in peace.  Had Jacob continued to fight or demand, chances are the fight would have gotten out of hand, bitter words might have been spoken, and they could have remained enemies.  Jacob made the better choice.

    Prayer:  Father, it's easy to be angry when I've been wronged.  I hurt when I'm deceived or taken advantage of.  But like Jacob, if I am quick to forgive I can mend the situation and not continue suffering.  Help me to be a forgiving person, even towards those who do not ask for forgiveness.  It's hard, Father, because the hurts run deep, but I understand that by being forgiving I please You and can begin to heal.  Thank You Father for this important teaching.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

    TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2012

    Genesis 31

    Scripture:  Genesis 31:1-21

    Observation:  Laban and his sons aren't too happy.  They see how Jacob prospers and are jealous, talking amongst themselves and treating Jacob poorly.  The Lord tells Jacob it's time to go back home, so Jacob speaks to Leah and Rachel, his wives.  He points out how their father has cheated him out of his wages 10 times, even though Jacob has served him faithfully.  God has seen the injustice and has blessed Jacob repeatedly because of this, and in a dream tells Jacob to return to his father's homeland, and God will be with him.  Both Rachel and Leah realize what Jacob says is true; their father not only cheated Jacob, but cheated them out of their inheritance as well.  They agree to obey the Lord and follow their husband.  Jacob waits until Laban and his sons are shearing the sheep, then he gathers his wives, children, slaves and livestock, and sets out to Canaan.  Rachel takes her father's household gods, his idols, and packs them with her things.

    Application:  Laban behaved like a scoundrel to his nephew and his own daughters.  How shameful that he didn't protect his own family and took advantage of them!  Because of Jacob, Laban was blessed, but because of his avarice that blessing would leave him.  If I don't learn to be content with all that God has given me, I can become like Laban, taking advantage of others for my own benefit.  May the Lord never permit such a thing!

    Prayer:  Father, it is my desire to honor You with all that I have.  It isn't possible to do so if the things I have matter more to me than You do, or if I lie and deceive to acquire things that matter nothing in eternity.  I want to have that kind of perspective, Lord, one that sees earthly things as temporary and desires only that which is eternal.  Help me to view things in their proper perspective, and to elevate the Kingdom above all material possessions.  In Christ Jesus' name, Amen.

    FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2012

    Genesis 30

    Scripture:  Genesis 30:25-43

    Observation:  Jacob decides it's time to return to his homeland with his family, and let's Laban know he is leaving.  Laban doesn't want this to happen; Jacob is a hard worker, and Laban realizes that the Lord has blessed him through Jacob, so he doesn't want to lose him.  He offers to give Jacob whatever wages he wants to keep him, but Jacob asks only as wages the spotted and speckled sheep and goats and the black sheep.  Laban agrees, but separates the male and female sheep and goats.  Jacob takes specific sticks which he strips and put them in front of the watering troughs.  The animals would come to drink, would also mate, and the offspring would be speckled and spotted.  Jacob made sure the sticks were only there when the stronger animals came to drink.  It caused Jacob to have strong, healthy animals, while Laban's were all weak and feeble.

    Application:  Laban was selfish and deceptive.  God blessed Laban only because of Jacob, and when Laban tried to deceive Jacob, God blessed Jacob alone.  God will not bless covetousness, nor deceit.  It is an important lesson to learn.

    Prayer:  Father, I don't want to behave in any way that would bring dishonor to you, whether it's on purpose or by accident.  Keep me on the straight path, not the deceptive one.  Teach me to be content with all You give me, because You give me all that I need.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

    THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 2012

    Genesis 30

    Scripture:  Genesis 30:1-24

    Observation:  Seeing her sister have 4 sons brings such grief to Rachel that she tells Jacob she will die if she doesn't have children.  Jacob angrily tells her he is not God and has no control over the situation.  So she gives her maid Bilhah to Jacob as a wife, and Bilhah gives birth to two sons.  Leah does the same; her maid Zilpah also has 2 sons.  The animosity between the two sisters is even more evident when Reuben, Leah's oldest son, brings her some mandrakes, herbs believed to help with fertility, and Rachel asks for some.  Leah bitterly answers, "You've taken away my husband, will you now also take my son's mandrakes?"  Rachel agrees to trade a night with Jacob for some mandrakes, and Leah has her 5th son, followed by son #6.  She also has a daughter named Dinah.  Finally God hears Rachel and gives her a son, which she names Joseph.

    Application:  What a difference between women in Biblical times, who desired and treasured children and wanted nothing more than motherhood, and today's attitude, which sees children as a burden and must be properly timed and controlled.  Our children are a gift, and a blessing.  When we see them as such we cherish them all the more.

    Prayer:  Father, I'm so thankful for my children.  You gave me a tremendous gift, and yet I have complained about them at times.  I do cherish and appreciate these precious children, even when I get frustrated or agitated.  They are wonderful, and I pray I can raise them as You have called me to, in Your admonition.  I pray that I will serve as an example to them, and show them how important they are to me because they are a gift from You.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

    TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2012

    Genesis 29

    Scripture:  Genesis chapter 29

    Observation:  Jacob arrives in Haran and meets Rachel, his uncle's younger daughter, at the well where she's come to water her sheep.  He introduces himself, and she runs to her father to tell him the news.  Laban immediately invited him to his home.  Laban decides it's only fair that Jacob get paid for the time he spends working, and asks what Jacob's wages would be.  Jacob asks for Rachel's hand in marriage.  Laban has two daughters, Leah who is the oldest, and Rachel who is the younger and more beautiful, and Jacob pledges to work 7 years for her because he's in love with her.  Laban agrees, and once Jacob's 7 years of work are completed, he asks for his bride.  But Laban has other plans.  After partying and drinking for the wedding, Laban sends Leah instead of Rachel, and Jacob sleeps with her.  He is understandably upset, and demands an explanation from his uncle, who claims he cannot allow his younger daughter to marry before the eldest.  He says he will give Rachel to Jacob for another 7 years of labor, and Jacob agrees, but it causes grief, because Jacob is not in love with Leah.  Leah has 3 sons and hopes it will make Jacob fall in love with her.  She realizes it doesn't, and when her fourth son Judah is born, she praises the Lord for him.

    Application:  What Laban did was cruel and unloving.  His excuse of not wanting his younger daughter to marry before the oldest was pitiful.  He wanted to guarantee Jacob would stay, since he was a hard worker, and he wanted to ensure Leah got married, because she was plain and unattractive.  He got both, but at what price?  There would be unhappiness for his daughter because she is unloved.  There would be animosity between him and his nephew because of his deception.  Was it the best course?  As parents we are to make wise decisions for our children, biblically sound decisions and not just what sounds right to us.  A bad decision, even with the best intentions, can bring heartache to our beloved children.

    Prayer:  Father, I love my children so much, but I recognize that You love them more than I ever could.  You are their Creator, their Father and their God.  I want to do everything to point them to You, but if I make decisions based on my own thoughts instead of Yours, if I don't verify with Your Word that I'm doing what's right, I'm setting a terrible example.  I don't want to do that!  Give me answers for my children that are in accord with Your will, Father, so that my children will be encouraged by me to stay on Your paths.  In Jesus' precious name I pray, Amen.

    MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2012

    Genesis 28

    Scripture:  Genesis chapter 28

    Observation:  Isaac, in agreement with Rebekah's wishes, sends Jacob to Paddan-aram to his uncle Laban to find a wife.  He blesses is his son as he sends him off.  Esau notices this, and realizes that his parents are displeased with his choice in wife.  To make up for it, he marries one of his uncle Ishmael's daughters.

    On his way to Haran, Jacob stops to sleep and has an amazing vision of a ladder that reaches heaven, with the angels ascending and descending it.  The Lord stands above the ladder and speaks to Jacob.  He blesses Jacob and promises to be with him, giving him the land He promised Abraham.  Jacob awakens and, recognizing this to be a very special place, names it Bethel which means House of God.  He vows to the Lord that if He takes care of him as He promised, Jacob will be loyal to the Lord and give him one tenth of all he earns.

    Application:  I was intrigued by Esau's apparent solution to his wrong actions in marrying Canaanite women.  Rather than fix the marriages he already had, he chose to take on yet another wife, the one that would have pleased his father in the first place.  Sometimes, when we make mistakes, we can go back and fix the error.  Other times, we need to accept that we were wrong and try to work with the situation already at hand to make it better.  Jacob chose to obey his parents and honor them, and for this God blessed him and promised to be with him always.  God treasures obedience above all.

    Prayer:  Lord, it would seem that makes everything easier.  You tell us what to do in Your Word, and we are to obey.  It should be cut and dry.  Yet disobedience abounds, even when I want to obey and honor You.  My sinful nature comes into play and distracts me from Your purpose.  Help me to continue to grow spiritually so that my old nature can completely disappear and all that is left is the new creation that You have made, one that brings glory to Your Name.  In Christ Jesus I pray, Amen.

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