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#388 THE GOD OF JACOB IS THE GOD OF ALL GRACE, GENESIS 28:1-19
If you and I were going to judge by human reasoning, wouldnt you and I say that God could justly have allowed Isaac and his family to destroy themselves? We have seen that Isaac and Jacob had so grievously sinned. Isaac preferred Esau over Jacob when he knew that the Messiah would come through Jacob. Yet, he would have frustrated the very decrees of God. Couldnt we say that if you and I were left to ourselves, we would work out our own destruction? Isnt it true that if we had our hand on the door of heaven and the Lord, at that point, left us to ourselves, we would yet find the road from there to hell. This is the marvel of the grace of God. We learn from the histories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and we see that salvation is of the Lord, who overrules all our foolishness. He overrules all our sin and all the things that we bring upon ourselves, and He uses them for our good. He uses them to bring us humble before God so that we see, know, and understand how foolish we are in ourselves.
We read in ROM 3:8 that the apostle Paul was slanderously accused of saying, "Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just." Our damnation is just when we think we can do evil that good may come of it. Isnt that exactly what Rebekah and Jacob did? They thought they could bring the blessing of God upon Jacob by deceit and dishonesty. That is the deceitfulness of the human heart by nature. Were not talking about a person who makes no profession of Christianity. Were talking about the descendants of Abraham, those who had received the promises of God. Yet, after having received the promises of God, they would use deceit to bring about a blessing. The apostle Paul says that doing evil that good may come is justly condemned.
We see that is just what Rebekah taught her son Jacobto do evil that good may come of it. She taught him to use deceit to obtain the blessing of God. (That is a common practice today. How many deceits come from the pulpit today, thinking that they are bringing a blessing to the group, while actually using deceit?) GEN 27:13 reads, "And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them." She was saying, "Do what I say." She taught him to use deceit to obtain a blessing. Wouldnt we have to say that their condemnation would be just?
We must understand that Abraham is the father of all who believe, and we see the traits of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Gods people. When we understand that, we become a little more tolerant of deceitfulness and that old human nature in those who are indeed Gods dear children. It makes us a little more forgiving when we see the corruption and deceitfulness of our own hearts. We too must look to Abraham as our father. Behold the pit from whence we were digged, i.e. the place of corruption.
As we follow the divinely inspired biographies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we begin to get a slight glimpse of why God identifies Himself as He did to Moses in EXO 3:6: "Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." This is the most marvelous wonder of all eternity when we begin to understand that God, the King of heaven, identifies Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He says I am the God of that family whose members are such corrupt creatures in their own nature.
As the God of Abraham, we see that He is the God of election unto all the elect. We have seen in previous chapters that the history of Abraham teaches us the symbol and type of the election of God because Abraham was in a heathen land, serving idols, and God brought him out. God called him to come out. God chose Abraham; Abraham did not choose God. God drew Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees and told him that He would bring Abraham to Canaan and make a great nation of him, and that the Messiah would come from his loins. God was teaching us that He is the God of election by saying that He was the God of Abraham.
Read in ISA 41:8, "But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend." It was one-sided grace. It was strictly of Gods choosing. He said, "whom I have chosen." Have you ever heard today that you have to choose Christ? God does the choosing. If you and I were left to our choice, we would only choose destruction. We would never come to the knowledge of God because by nature, we choose the things that exalt self. In the gospel, self has to be crucified. It is of Gods choosing, and God chose Isaac, "the seed of Abraham my friend."
The God of Abraham is the God of election to all those who believe. See this in GAL 3:29: "And if ye be Christ's [if you are in the election of God, if you belong to Christ], then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." The name Abraham teaches us the election of God. The God of Abraham means that He is the God of election. He is the God who chose Abraham, not because of anything that was in or on Abraham. Abraham was serving idols and living in sin. There was nothing in Abraham. It was because God chose, God called, and God brought Abraham out of idolatry to serve the living God.
When God identifies Himself as the God of Isaac, He declares unto us that He is the God of our regeneration. We must understand that you and I are all born in sin. Even if God has loved you from eternity and has chosen you for salvation, you are still a servant of sin until He works regeneration in the heart. The birth of Isaac was a miracle in which Abraham and Sarah both were physically dead as far as reproduction was concerned. Isaac was brought forth from the dead, and that is the symbol of regeneration. You and I, by nature, are spiritually dead, and the work of regeneration is the quickening from the dead. So when God says He is the God of Isaac, He is saying He is the God of regeneration. It is all of God. It is of His choosing, and it is of His work that He brings regeneration in the soul. When God says He is the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac, He is saying, "I am the God of your election and of the work of regeneration."
In TIT 3:5, we read, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." We are saved by the blood of Christ. It is the washing of the blood of Christ, the washing of regeneration. The washing of regeneration means the washing from our sin. That old garment of sin must be removed and cast away. A new garment must be placed upon us. That new garment is the righteousness of Christ. This "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost" means that a new man is being worked in our soul. When God says He is the God of Isaac, He is saying that He is the author of our regeneration. He is the One who brings the Holy Spirit into our heart and works the work of regeneration by the "renewing of the Holy Ghost."
This same principle is taught in EPH 2:1: "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." By nature, you and I are spiritually dead. When the Lord said, "I am the God of Isaac," He was saying, "I am the God of your regeneration. I am the One who quickens you out of your dead state of trespasses and sin into a newness of life." It is the working of regeneration. God is teaching us that salvation is all of the Lord.
When the Lord identifies Himself as the God of Jacob, He declares Himself to be the God of all grace. In Jacob, we see the life of conflict between the two natures, wherein the new man's desire to serve the Lord gains the upper hand. Through our entire life, there is a spiritual warfare between the old man and the new man. We have in our heart the old man thats still striving and lusting after the things of this life, but we also have the work of regeneration. That new man that has been created in us is also striving against the old man of sin and striving for the washing and renewing of the Holy Ghost. We learn from Jacob that the Lord, the God of grace, gives the victory of that work of regeneration so that the new mans desire to serve the Lord gains the upper hand. We no longer serve sin. Now we live with the conquering of Christ with His feet upon the head of the serpent, crushing the head of the serpent. We live a new life in the deliverance from the power of sin. Thats the God of Jacob.
Take note of this in GAL 6:15-16: "For in Christ Jesus [i.e. if you are indeed in Christ] neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. [This teaches us that we are not going to merit salvation by our works nor are we going to forfeit salvation by our works. The evidence of the grace of God is in the new creature.] And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." The gospel today is being perverted.
It is taught that you have to believe, and you have a pardon. This is being taught without any need of repentance. This is the gospel of Satan, which he preached in Paradise when he got Adam and Eve to fall. He said, "You be as God; you decide whats right and wrong." It leads them out from under the authority of the Word of God. That is being preached today. We read that in IIC 11:14, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers [They are not even the ministers of Jesus Christ; they are the ministers of hell.] also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." They have never changed their way of life. They are still workers of iniquity.
GAL 6.15 says, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." What is it that avails? It is being a new creature. When the work of grace, the divine influence of the Holy Spirit, comes upon the heart, we have the new man that gains the victory over the old man. It says that "as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." We learn from Jacob the lifetime struggle against the power of sin and how Jacob truly prevailed in the end over the power of his own sin.
The declaration of God's identity as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and the God of Jacob accurately reveals the divine order in salvation as it is revealed in the New Testament when we rightly understand their biographies. Abraham as the chosen object of God's sovereign grace necessarily came before Isaac. God first chose, and He chose from eternity. If you and I are chosen, elect vessels of Gods grace, the work of regeneration will begin, and we will be given new desires. We have new desires because it is the divine influence of the Holy Spirit who brings a new heart. You can pronounce the gospel as the Lord Jesus Christ did, and no one will ever speak the gospel as purely and as clearly as Christ did, but the multitude hung Him on the cross and crucified Him for speaking what He did. The mere preaching of the gospel, isolated by itself, will never save a soul. It needs the accompanying of the Holy Spirit. So, the calling of election comes first.
Then we see the work of regeneration. First comes Abraham; then comes Isaac. Now, we see the work of regeneration, that is the influence of the Holy Spirit upon the heart giving new desires, working in us to will and do of His good pleasure, Cf. PHI 2:13.
Isaac is followed by Jacob whose biography reveals the life of spiritual conflict, which follows regeneration. We have the new desires and the new will, and a spiritual warfare exists between the old nature and the new nature. We see Gods beautiful order when He says, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." It sets forth the divine order in Gods way of salvation. God was speaking this to Moses when He was sending Moses back into Egypt to bring forth His chosen people Israel. When He said He was the God of Abraham, He was saying, "I have chosen them; they are a chosen nation." As the God of Isaac, He was saying, "I will work regeneration in them. I will give them a new desire. I want you to go and bring them out of bondage so that they no longer continue to serve in bondage. I am also the God of Jacob."
In our day, this order is as true as it was from eternity. Nothing has changed. The Lord is a God who does not change. His order in salvation is not altered. Yet, there are those who would place man as the sovereign, putting God in a helpless position to save those who will not accept. Many will proclaim from the pulpit today, "You have to accept Jesus. If you dont accept Jesus, God cant save you." That comes from the pit of hell. God is the God of salvation. Man is not the sovereign; God is the sovereign. God chooses; God works His grace through His Spirit; God makes us willing in the day of His power; and He draws us out of Egypt.
God's Word tells us that God is the Author and the Finisher of our salvation. See this in ROM 9:10-16: "And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. [Gods decree before they were born was that He had chosen Jacob and not Esau. He made that election, that choice, before they were born.] What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
Is there unrighteousness with God? The answer is no. We can understand why God did not love Esau. The mystery is that He loved Jacob. The mystery for you and me when we see God in our own salvation is, "What did God see in me?" We could understand if God had let us go on and destroy ourselves. But what did God see in me? It wasnt in me. It was the fact that God loved me through His own free choice. God might justly have suffered all men to perish. It was not unjust of God to allow Esau to destroy himself. It was not unjust if He had allowed every man to destroy himself. There is no unrighteousness with God. It is of His love that He has a chosen people that He has taken unto Himself.
We all know what it is to be married. Is the fact that you selected the mate you did unfair to her sister? You couldnt marry them both. Wasnt that your choice? May not the God of heaven choose the bride for His own Son and leave the rest? Where is there any unrighteousness with God? There is none. God had every right to choose the bride He did for His own Son. That is what God did in election. He chose the bride, the church, to be the bride of Christ, His own Son. Verse 16 continues, "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." It is not because I am willing or unwilling. These are blessed truths that we learn from the Old Testament.
As we learn to understand these beautiful Scriptural principles, we begin to see how God overrules our most grievous sins to bring about His eternal purposes. The fact that the Lord allowed Esau to destroy himself was not unjust. The wonder of heaven is that Jacob in all his deceit and sin was chosen and loved by the Lord, who overruled his most grievous sin to accomplish His eternal purposes. In ISA 55:6-11, we read, "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts."
If any person says there is unfairness in the election of God, then we must understand what it is for which we are chosen. We are elect and predestined to holiness. Can any person say it wasnt fair and that he wasnt elect to holiness? Who decided to stay in unrighteousness? Whose decision was it? The call goes to everyone. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." That call goes to every living person.
Where then do we see the election of God? It is God who "worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure," PHI 2:13. There is no man who will come unto the Lord unless the Father draws him. Thats where we see He is the God of Isaac, the God of regeneration. It is God who works in us to will and to do. Verse 8 continues, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. [God overrules the sin of His loved ones. He overrules everything they have done amiss. He overrules it and draws them back to Himself. I experienced that one time. I was in a business transaction, and I had made a commitment. I came home that evening after I had made the commitment, and I was reading my Bible. I was reading this passage from Isaiah. As I read it, it smote me, and I realized that I had entered into that transaction against the Lords will. What was I to do? If you have vowed a vow and become surety for a stranger, you humble yourself and make good your vow. How was I to get out of this mess? Thats exactly where Jacob was. All I could do was beg that the Lord would open a way out for me. The Lord inclined the man on the other side of the deal to change his mind and tell me the deal was off. That is how the Lord overruled. He delivered me from my own foolishness by moving the heart of the other man. I did not have to back away even though the Lord laid so powerfully on my heart that He was not pleased with my deal. The Lord overrules our foolishness.] For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Just as surely as the rain comes down and doesn't turn around and go back up again, so will the word that God has spoken happen. God had spoken that Isaac, not Ishmael, would be the heir, and it came to pass. God had spoken that Jacob, not Esau, would be the leader, and it came to pass.
Isaac, Rebekah, and Jacob all fell into human reasoning instead of turning in repentance unto God. Here we have godly people. Rebekah turned to the Lord when the children struggled in her womb. She inquired of the Lord and the Lord answered. Why didnt these three people turn to the Lord with their foolishness and ask Him to intervene? We see that they turned to human reasoning instead of repentance. Take note of GEN 27:46 to 28:1-5: "And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me? [She wanted Isaac to send Jacob to Padanaram. She didnt ask the Lord about that. That was her human reasoning and how she was going to keep Jacob from the consequences of deceiving his brother. One sin adds to the next. They fall into human reasoning and make a plan to send Jacob away.] And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother." Isaac sent Jacob away because of human reasoning.
It is interesting to note in these last two verses that Isaac had not forgotten the blessings that God had pronounced upon Jacob. Couldnt they have trusted that God would spare his life from Esau? Why did he have to flee? They resorted to human reasoning. They were not walking by faith. Isaac remembered that God had promised future children. He didnt have to worry that Jacob was going to get killed if only he had trusted God. He didnt have to send him away.
What an awesome thing it is to try to flee from the result of our sins instead of repenting of them and seeking a pardon. We dont see Isaac, Rebekah or Jacob turn to the Lord in repentance. The Lords time was not there. The Lord brought Jacob to repentance but after a lifetime of learning the bitterness of his sin. The Lord had it in store for Jacob that he would learn to feel and understand the bitterness of his sin. Its like it was with David. After Nathan the prophet told David, "Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house ," (2SA 12:10) every time negative circumstances took place with his children (His own son raped his own daughter. His own son murdered his own son.), David never recognized them as the reward of his sin until his own son was slain. Then he said, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" David recognized that it was because of his sin and that he should have died for his own sin. Jacob never saw that the Lord had in store for him a lifetime of eating the fruit of his sin.
In GEN 28:7and 10, we read, "And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram; And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran." Jacob obeyed. Beersheba was the place where Abrahams contentions with the Philistines were settled, and he found peace and rest. This was the place of rest where all contentions had ceased. Jacob had left Beersheba, the place where Abraham had found peace. This is very significant. In GEN 21:33, we read, "And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God." In Beersheba, Abraham planted a grove. He set this place up as his place of abode, the place of peace and rest and fellowship with his God. Jacob left this place. We must see the significance of Isaac sending his son away from Beersheba.
This planting of a grove pointed to a settled contentment; it pointed to stability and a place of abode. The word "Beersheba" is a Hebrew word, which means "a well of oath." It was a well where the Philistines had made an oath with Abraham. Here Abraham found peace and rest from all his contentions. It also means "as the sacred or the full one." It meant a place of sacred peace, a place of full rest. It was the place of the covenant. It was the place where God had renewed the covenant to Abraham and to Isaac. It was also the place where God had renewed the covenant to Jacob, but Jacob left Beersheba.
Abraham was dwelling at Beersheba when God told Him to go up to Mount Moriah to offer up his son Isaac. See how the covenant was renewed and what a blessing he received for his obedience in offering up his son. We read in GEN 22:15-18, "And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." Thats the blessing the Lord gave Abraham on Mount Moriah.
Now see where Abraham went after receiving such a blessing from his God. GEN 22:19 tells us, "So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba." It was so important to be at Beersheba because it was the place of Gods rest and His communion and union with Abraham. It was the place where all contentions had ceased. It was the place of the well of oath, the place of the covenant.
After Isaac had wondered in the land of the Philistines, the Lord brought him to Beersheba as his place of rest and abode. We read in GEN 26:19-23, "And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him. And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah. And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. And he went up from thence to Beersheba." He went from there to the place of rest, the end of all strife.
Notice how Isaac again found God's blessing, and the renewal of the covenant at Beersheba. Beersheba is a very significant place. GEN 26:24-25 states, "And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake. And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well." This is at Beersheba.
If this was all that was recorded about Isaac and Rebekah in sending their son away from the place of peace and rest, it would be awesome. Instead of bringing repentance, they sent him away. When we understand where they sent him, it is most horrible. See the consequences of sin. They sent Jacob to Haran. GEN 28:10 records, "And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran." He left the place of peace and rest.
The word "haran" comes from the Hebrew root word "charar," which means "to glow, to show or incite passion: to be angry, a burning of anger: a sore displeasure, wrathful." They sent him from the place of worship and fellowship with God, the place of love and unity. They sent him away in bitterness to burn in the anger of his heart against his brother. The law of love was being violated. Jacob went there to live in a land of bitterness and hatred. The greatest reward that the Lord sends us for our foolishness is confusion. Think of the confusion into which Jacob was sent. This was Isaac who was sending his own son, the promised son who held the promise of the coming of the Messiah, and he "went toward Haran," a place of burning anger and passion and hatred, sore displeasure and wrath. The principle of the gospel was violated. Esau said he would destroy Jacob, and Jacob became bitter.
In their human reasoning, Isaac and Rebekah sent their son, whom they both agreed should be the heir of all the covenant blessings, to depart from the place of God's fellowship to a place where he would experience bitterness and burning anger. In NUM 32:23, we read, "But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out." We cannot run from our sin. We all offend in many things. We all sin daily, but we cant run from our sins. We have to confess our sins and turn from them. We must come back before the Lord and plead for mercy. If we run from the place of Gods fellowship to escape our sins, we end up with a heart filled with bitterness. What is more horrible than the Lord giving us over to a heart of bitterness and a burning anger? The Lord leaves Jacob to learn the bitterness of sin.
These awful truths are born out by the biography of Jacob's life as we see in GEN 45:25-26: "And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father,
And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacobs heart fainted, for he believed them not." In Jacobs old age, his own sons came to him and told him that for the twenty years he had thought Joseph to be dead, they had deceived him. He was deceived by his own children and still harvesting the fruit of his own sin. The Lord was allowing him to see the bitterness of that sin.
Can you imagine the scene when they came and told Jacob that Joseph was still alive? What a meeting that must have been! Jacob could then confess to his children that he had deceived his father with the coat of his brother, and Jacobs sons had deceived him with Josephs coat. The Lord allows us to reap the reward of our own sin. Think of the bitterness that Jacob must have experienced after spending twenty years believing Joseph was dead. Can you imagine how he realized the bitterness of his own sin in deceiving his father? These are awful truths. We dont sin cheaply.
Where did the Lord bring Jacob to renew the covenant with him? Jacob has been notified that Joseph is still alive. The Lord did not forsake His covenant or alter His electing love, but He allowed Jacob a lifetime of eating the bitterness of his own sin. In GEN 45:28-46:4, we read, "And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.
And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba [Jacob at the end of his life returned to Beersheba.], and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. [Jacob is brought again into fellowship with the God of Isaac and Abraham, the God who had elected him from eternity and who had worked regeneration in his life, the God who loved him and brought him through this life of conflict. And Jacob offered sacrifices at Beersheba to the Lord God of his father.] And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation." God restored and renewed the covenant at Beersheba. After a lifetime of fleeing the consequences of his sin, and after God brought him to see the sinfulness of his sin, Jacob came back to Beersheba where the covenant was renewed.
Even though the Lord reserved Jacob's whole lifetime to teach him the sinfulness of sin, yet God's ways are so much higher than our ways, and He did not forsake His fleeing son. Even though Jacob was fleeing from his sin and thought he could run away from that sin and lived a lifetime harvesting the fruit of his sin, God did not forsake him. We read in GEN 28:11-15, "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. 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. 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 liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
That is one of the most remarkable passages in Scripture in the whole history of Jacob. We need to see what it teaches. Jacob is fleeing. The Lord has a lifetime of misery in store for him, teaching him the sinfulness of his sin. But here while he was fleeing, the Lord never mentioned his sin. Sometimes, in spite of our sin, it seems like we still have the Lords nearness. Ive had a minister tell me, "The Lord is still so near to me. How can it be that I sinned?"
I said, "You havent studied the life of Jacob." The Lord, in His providence, is leading Jacob to learn the bitterness of that sin to bring Jacob to where he came to Peniel and said, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me," GEN 32:26.
The question came in verse 27, "What is thy name?"
"My name is Sinner." Thats the first time we read in Holy Writ that Jacob confessed his sin before the Lord. The Lord didnt forsake him. In spite of his sin, the Lord was pronouncing all the blessings of Abraham upon him while he was fleeing. The Lord allowed him to see his portion in Christ. He saw the ladder on the earth and the top reaching unto heaven with angels ascending and descending which was a type of Christ. Jacob left Bethel with great blessings. The Lord never made one mention of his sin because, "Be sure your sin will find you out," NUM 32:23, as you start receiving the Lords reward of that sin. That sin becomes grievous. When your children come and say, "Joseph is yet alive," you very well relate it back to your own sin. You start to see that the Lord has rewarded you according to your sin and has brought you to true remorse for that sin.
The Lord was the God of Abraham. He had chosen Jacob. He was the God of Isaac. He regenerated Jacob. But even in the state of regeneration, he had not been brought to full deliverance from his sin. That is the process of a lifetime journey that the Lord uses to deliver us from the consequences of our sin.
Jacob may be permitted to flee from his sin; yet, God's love is unchangeable. Notice God never spoke one word of reproof to him, but only words of comfort. GEN 28:15 reads, "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." God would keep Jacob in all the places he would go, but God would also bring him back. After Jacob reached the point where he knew that Joseph was still alive, the Lord brought him back to Beersheba. But, oh the miles that lay between! Think of the life of heartaches that lay between this point and Beersheba. But God said, "I will bring thee again into this land." The Lord is faithful, and the Lord will not alter His covenant. The Lord will not alter His unending love, but He does teach us what it means to be weaned from our sin.
God said to Jacob, "I 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."
God stated this for two reasons. First, God was allowing Jacob to enter a land of contention and deceit. Jacob left Beersheba which meant the end of all contention, and God allowed it in order that Jacob would learn the bitterness of his sin. Secondly, that ladder was the type of Christ. Notice in JOH 1:51 the words of our Lord Jesus : "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." Jacob saw angels ascending and descending upon the ladder. That ladder was clearly a type of Christ. This blessed ladder extended right down to where the fugitive lay in his sin, and extended right up to God Himself.
Thats the consolation that you and I have in Christ. When we learn to see the deceitfulness of our heart and that the Lord is weaning us of our sin, leading us through trials and circumstances to bring us to recognition of the sinfulness of sin. The consolation we have is that the ladder comes right down to our feet. That ladder came right down to where Jacob, the fugitive, lay in his sin. If you and I had to wait until we had first cleansed ourselves from our sin, we would never get on the first step of that ladder.
The ladder came right down to where he lay and right up to heaven itself; right up to where God was. The blessed Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ, came down in our flesh. He came down and "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," HEB 4:14. He never yielded to temptation, but He was tempted with pride and every evil nature, yet without sin. Now we must come "boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need," HEB 4:16, because Christ came to that exact spot. He came to redeem us out of that sin.
We see the blessed effect of this revelation of God to Jacob's soul. GEN 28:19 records, "And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first."
The name "Luz" is a Hebrew word that means "separation." Jacob was fleeing. He felt the separation between himself and God that was caused by his sin, and he named the place Luz. But in the morning, he named it Bethel, and the name "Bethel" means "the house of God." It means the place of reconciliation with God.
As Jacob lay down in his distress, he sensed how his sin had separated him from his God, but when God revealed Himself in His covenant love to Jacob, we read in GEN 28:17-19, "And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first." Jacob realized that he had separated himself from the place of peace and rest, and that he was fleeing from the consequences of his sin.
Are you a heaven seeker because youre fleeing the consequences of your sin and you want a pardon to escape hell? If that is all your religion amounts to, you are no better off than Jacob was before he saw that ladder. He had to be delivered from sin. We have to be delivered not only from the consequences of sin but also from sin itself. We must come to repentance and understand what it is to be a new creature, a new man with a new desire to forsake all sin. That is salvation.
Salvation is as we read in MAT 1:21, "thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins." It doesnt say He will save His people from hell. It says, "he shall save his people from their sins." If we are saved from our sins, hell is no threat, because hell is the reward for sin. If we have been saved from our sins, we have salvation. It is beautiful to read in GAL 6:16, "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy." The rule spoken of here is that circumcision avails nothing; nothing we do avails anything, "but a new creature," verse 15. That is being renewed by the Holy Ghost. That is where we see the salvation of God. He called the place "Luz" at first, but now it is called "Bethel." May it be our portion to come to Bethel, to the place where our sins are removed, and we are able to come into union and communion with God. Amen.
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.