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#393 WE REAP WHAT WE SOW, GENESIS 29
As we see Jacob fleeing the consequences of his sin, we find the truth of what we read in ROM 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." This is a mystery that is beyond explanation by human understanding. We see in the history of Jacob that even our sins, even the things which we have done against the Word of God, are ultimately used by the Lord for our good, if we love Him and are called according to His purpose. This is a mystery.
With Jacob, the Lord is bringing about His eternal counsel. The Lord had decreed and told Abraham that Abrahams seed would go into Egypt and be afflicted there for 400 years. The Lord would then bring them out with His mighty hand. Jacob was doing the very thing that would bring the Israelites into the bondage that Lord had decreed would come upon the sons of Abraham. The fact that Abrahams seed would go into Egypt and come under servitude was told Abraham before Isaac was born. We see a resemblance of this as Jacob goes into Padanaram. The Lord was using His chastening hand to get His people to see the sinfulness of sin. This is not to say that God causes sin to become a blessing. Rather, sin, in the end, is used for our good. Those who have not sinned and have lived according to the will of God will not have the sore servitude which Jacob had. God, however, turned Jacobs foolishness and caused it to work out for Jacobs good. God used it for the purification of Jacobs soul.
Jacob had obeyed his mother under the principle of "...Let us do evil, that good may come," ROM 3:8. Jacobs mother had told him that by deceiving his father, he could obtain the blessing. The apostle Paul tells in this verse that when we "do evil, that good may come, [our] damnation is just." We become justly condemned to hell.
How can it be, since Jacob's damnation was just, that at Bethel as Jacob was fleeing the consequences of sin, God only spoke of the blessings of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and never so much as mentioned Jacob's sin? There is tremendous significance in this fact. Jacob was fleeing and came to Bethel, and God never mentioned his sin. All God mentioned were the blessings of Abraham, which God said He would give to Jacob and his seed. Jacob saw the ladder that came down from heaven to where he lay. The way of escape was opened for Jacob, but his sin was not mentioned.
Many times in our lives, we do what we know is sinful, and it seems to go unnoticed by the Lord. We appear to prosper and have the Lords blessing, but the Lords purpose in this is to allow us to harvest what we have sown. We may still have Gods blessings. Yet, at the end of our lives, we will be able to look back and say that everything we have sown, we have harvested. When we sow wheat, we harvest wheat. When we sow barley, we harvest barley. When we sow sin unto the flesh, we reap corruption. We learn to understand the sinfulness of sin by that which God rewards us according to our sin.
The Lord didnt mention Jacobs sin, but neither did the Lord forget Jacobs sin. We see that Jacob came to Bethel, and the Lord pronounced nothing but blessings upon him. We read in NUM 23:21: "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them." How is this possible? The Lord was looking upon Jacob in Christ. That was the ladder, which came down, and teaches us that the way of escape is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord looked upon Jacob in Christ and did not behold his iniquity. Jacobs damnation was just, but in Christ, there was a way of escape. So the Lord did not bring His condemnation for sin upon Jacob, but He brought Jacob the reward of his sin. As Jacob traveled through this lifes journey, he began to reap the reward of his sin. The Lord rewards every man according to his doings.
The Lord not only promised Jacob that he would inherit all the blessings of Abraham, but God also gave Jacob blessed assurance of His protection and His blessings in the very way Jacob had chosen to go. Thats a remarkable thing. Jacob is running from Bathsheba, which is the place of rest. He has turned to go to Haran, which is the place of bitterness, hatred, strife, and jealousy. Yet the Lord said in GEN 28:15, "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."
The Lord was telling Jacob that He would allow Jacob to go back to Padanaram from whence He had called Abraham. The Lord had called Abraham out of that country and away from serving idols to serve the living God, but the Lord was allowing Jacob to return there for an education. The Lord promised, however, to bring Jacob back again, saying, "I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." Jacob was allowed to go back to the very land from which God had delivered Abraham.
Sometimes we are allowed to sin so that we may learn to understand the sinfulness of sin and what a great salvation it is that Christ has come to save us from our sins. We sometimes have to understand the bitterness of sin by learning to see how the Lord rewards us for our sin.
This blessed assurance that God would be with him sent Jacob on his way rejoicing. In our lifes journey, we many times may receive comforting from the Lord. We may take that as a token of His pleasure and His love, but that doesnt mean that our way of walking is His pleasure. He may allow us to walk in these ways for our own education.
In GEN 29:1, we read, "Then Jacob went [he lifted up his feet, as it is rendered in the margin] on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east." Lifting up his feet implies that Jacob was lighthearted. He went on his way rejoicing. Jacob's journey had begun only the day before with much grief and anxiety. When Jacob left his parents for Padanaram, he was fleeing for his life, away from the consequences of his sin. That very first night, the Lord appeared to Jacob and gave him the consolation, "I will be with thee." Jacob had a lot of fear in his heart, and the Lord gave him that blessed assurance, "I will be with thee in the way that you go." Jacob was very encouraged and very lighthearted. He lifted up his feet and went on.
Do we not have a blessed assurance in the gospel where our Lord says in MAT 28:20 "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." As we go into trying circumstances where we are much perplexed and at our wits end, not knowing where to go, isnt it a great consolation to have the Lord speak this verse to us? The word Amen in this verse means, "so let it be." The Lord Jesus Christ gives His church the blessed assurance that in all our trials and tribulations, He will be with us. How often the world would swallow us if the Lord were not on our side. How often we would destroy ourselves by our own foolishness if the Lord werent with us, overruling all our foolishness for our good.
If our hearts could draw from that blessed promise the consolation it was intended to convey, would we not be able to "lift up" our feet as we journey through this wilderness journey? Wouldnt we feel encouraged and able to go on rejoicing when the Lord comes with a blessed assurance in our hearts and says, "I am with thee always," especially in a time of trial, sickness, or sorrow and bereavement, a time when everything seems to be weighing on our hearts. It is our unbelief that separates us from the blessed consolation we have in Christ.
Nothing is recorded of the five hundred-mile journey Jacob made through the wilderness, but here we have a striking proof the Lord went before him and made all crooked places straight. The Lord told Jacob, "I am with thee." In GEN 29:2-6, we read, "And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place. And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. [Jacob knew he had found the right place. He had found Haran, the place to which he had wanted to go.] And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep." The Lord went before Jacob and brought him to this very place. It was Rachel who came forth with the sheep. Rachel was the wife that he loved, the one he came to seek. In the Lords providence, the very first acquaintance was the bride for whom he was looking. This was of the Lord.
When Abraham's servant went to seek a wife for Isaac, he sat at the well and prayed that God would send the woman He had appointed for His servant Isaac. This is exactly what the Lord did with Jacob. The Lord did go before Jacob, and He was with Jacob. The Lord sent the very one he had appointed for Jacob.
GEN 24:15 reads, "And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder." While Eliezer was sitting there praying, the Lord sent forth the one whom He had appointed for Isaac. Before Eliezer had finished praying, Rebekah came. Notice that Laban, Rachel's father and the brother of Rebekah, acknowledged the Lord's direction in the matter after Eliezer explained it to him how he had sat at the well and prayed and everything happened exactly as he had asked the Lord to provide. We see in GEN 24:50, "Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good." This shows us that the Lord indeed went with Jacob, went before him, and made his journey prosperous.
The Lord governs all things. It was not an accident that the Ishmaelites passed by just when Joseph's brethren were about to kill him. There are no coincidences with the Lord. The Lord has all things timed. Jacob came at the very time when Rachel was coming with the sheep. Nor was it a coincidence that the Ishmaelites were heading toward Egypt. It was the Lords decree that Joseph must go to Egypt. It was the Lords decree that all of this was timed so exactly. The Lord caused Joseph to go to Egypt and be sold as a slave.
Our life's journey through this world is not a game of chance. In Gods providence, He uses some of the most trifling things to bring about some of His greatest designs. There is no experience in our life that just happens by chance or that we bring about accidentally. This is especially true in the lives of those who are Gods people, those to whom God has said He will be with them unto the end. Our lives are governed by the eternal decrees of God. When we have the faith to understand this, we can look back on the greatest riddles that have been resolved in our lives and see that they were of Gods decree. It was Gods decree that the Ishmaelites came there at just the right time and took Joseph to Egypt. Joseph said, "God did send me before you to preserve life," GEN 45:5. The Lord had a very great reason for Joseph to go to Egypt. It seemed coincidence that everything happened just so. No, it was of the Lords sending.
There are no chance meetings. It was not by chance that Jacob met Rachel at the well. It was not by chance that Eliezer met Rebekah. Every meeting is of the Lords decree. There are no chance happenings. Nothing "just happens." The Lord tells us that theres not one hair falls from our head apart from the will of the Father. The Lords decree governs even such minute things. There are no chance delays. We have plans, but for some reason, it seems like were off schedule. Wed like to be haying in July, and we cant do it until August. That didnt happen by chance. The Lord had His reason for that. We see so many delays, but they are not by chance. There are no chance losses. Many times, we have severe losses. We lose things that are very near and dear to us, but MAT 10:29-30 tells us, "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father."
One time when I went to visit my father, he said, "Well, youve got two little sparrows in the grill of your car." My heart at that time was so tender before the Lord. I looked and said, "Yes, it was the Fathers good will that two sparrows fell to the ground." I saw that it was God, the Father, who had allowed those two sparrows to perish on the front of my car. Verse 30 continues, "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." Every hair on your head is numbered. Nothing happens by chance.
After his long journey, as Jacob was talking with the shepherds, he was greatly delighted to see the daughter of Laban. We read in GEN 29:9-11, "And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she kept them. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept." For Jacob, this was such a blessed time. Jacob found that the Lord had met him at Bethel. The Lord was with him on his journey through the wilderness. The Lord prospered his way, and now he had met the one he loved. He lifted up his voice and wept for joy. His heart was so filled with joy.
In the beginning there seemed to be nothing but love, peace, and joy. This sometimes becomes such a riddle in the lives of Gods people. I had a spiritual brother tell me one time, "I cant believe the Lord is dealing with me for my sin because I have His nearness and such evidence of His love."
I replied, "Oh, but youve forgotten the history of Jacob." The Lord sometimes gives such blessing and nearness of His love, but the circumstances through which He is bringing us allows us to see the bitterness and the sinfulness of our sin. Jacob was experiencing such nearness, love, and joy. We read in GEN 29:12-14: "And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father." [It was such a time of rejoicing.] And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month." They were feasting; they were making merry; they had such a good time. They were so thrilled, so filled with rejoicing at what the Lord had done.
It seems as though the plan of Jacob's mother worked well! Jacob had the blessing. He stole it. He fled from his brother, Esau, but the Lord was with him. His mother told him to flee to Padanaram. He fled there, and everything was going so well. It would appear that the plan of Jacobs mother was working well. Esau was left behind. The journey to Haran had gone well. The Lord had seemed to direct him to his mother's household. Rachel had received Jacob's affectionate greeting well. Everything was working so well. All seemed to be love and peace, and God had not even slightly reproved Jacob for his sin against his father. Would God's Word fail? Sometimes, this is such a mystery. It appears that God is blessing so abundantly, and He has not mentioned sin. Would Gods Word, as we read it in PRO 13:15 fail? "Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard."
"The way of transgressors is hard." Jacob had arrived at Haran. Haran comes from the Hebrew word Chara meaning "jealousy, to be angry, displeased, to be incensed, very wroth." Yet, in Haran, it seems as if everything was going so well. In GEN 29:4, we read, "And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we." Jacob was in Haran. God's ways are so much higher than our ways, Cf. ISA 55:9. God had not mentioned Jacob's sin, but Jacob had now enrolled into the school of Christ where we learn the sinfulness of sin.
We learn the sinfulness of sin when we understand that we have sinned against the love of God. We sometimes will first experience much love from God. The Father gave His Son, and the Son gave Himself. We see the blessedness that there is in salvation. Then we also start to see the bitterness of the sin that crucified our Saviour. GEN 29:15 reads, "And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?" The first cloud of misery arose upon Jacob's horizon when he entered into the service of Laban. Jacob was about to begin reaping what he had sown.
The purpose of Jacob and his mothers deceit against his father and his brother was to obtain the portion of the firstborn, in order that Esau would serve him rather than Jacob should being the servant. The first thing Laban said was, "Why should you serve me for nought? What shall your wages be?" Jacob became a servant. He had thought he would be served, and for that reason, he stole the blessing. GEN 25:23 states, "And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." Jacob had a vision of being served by his brother. Now he enters into service.
It is very striking that after Jacob had been entertained as a guest for one month, the first words of Laban pertained to service. How crafty! Rather than having his brother as a servant, Jacob sells himself to serve his uncle Laban. "And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be," GEN 29:15.
The first lesson God was teaching Jacob was humble submission, but the second was the bitterness of his own sin of supplanting his brother. Supplant means to impersonate someone. When Jacob said to his father, Isaac, that he was Esau, he was supplanting or impersonating Esau. How did the Lord teach him the bitterness of supplanting? Jacob received the wife for whom he had laboured seven years. There was a big wedding and feast, but in the morning, he had a different woman than he had married.
We find in GEN 29:16-28, "And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. [Jacob served for Rachel, but he got Leah.] Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. [We must see the subtlety of Laban. Dont forget that Laban was a brother of Rebekah. It seems that some of these traits run in a family. Rebekah taught Jacob how to be a trickster and a deceiver. Her brother was a greater trickster than she was.] And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? [Jacobs father, Isaac, couldnt see because of old age, and Jacob stole the blessing that Isaac was going to give to Esau. What did Laban do? It was dark on the wedding night, and Jacob couldnt see until morning that he had the wrong bride.] And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn." Laban didnt tell Jacob that when he started serving his seven years. Jacob starts to feel deceit.
To deceive someone is one thing, but to really understand what it is to be deceived, someone must deceive you. Jacob got a taste of deceit. He had laboured seven years for Rachel, but the morning after the wedding, behold, he had Leah. Can you imagine how his heart sank and how it pained him to realize that he had been deceived? *** He asked Jacob, "Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?" ***Laban had an answer, "(You cant) give the younger before the firstborn."
The principle, which Jacob had disregarded with his brother, was his first painful lesson with regard to his wages as a hireling. GEN 29:27 continues, "Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also." Jacob had overlooked "the firstborn." He had stolen the position of firstborn. He didnt await the Lords timing, the time when the Lord would give it to him. He ran ahead of the Lord. Now he had to wait another seven years.
Jacob could not wait for God's time to perform His promise to Rebekah, but God was teaching him patience. GEN 25:23 says, "And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." When we receive a promise from the Lord, sometimes we run ahead of the Lord and we want to help the Lord fulfill His promise. The Lord had promised Jacob that the elder would serve the younger, but he didnt wait for the Lords timing. He started running ahead of the Lord, and the Lord put him where he would learn patience.
Jacob's impatience brought about a lifetime of frustration and trouble. Now he lived in Haran. He left Bathsheba, or the place of rest. In Haran, there was strife and contention. He had contention with his father-in-law and his own wife and children, and with the brothers and sisters of his wife. There is nothing but contention, the fruit of running ahead of the Lord. He left Bathsheba because he couldnt wait for the Lord to bring about the promise that the elder would serve the younger. He obtained the blessing by deceit. The Lord lets him see the bitterness of what lay in Haran.
Notice what Job's friend told him in JOB 4:8: "Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same." Iniquity means unjust dealing with your brother. Jacob had unjustly dealt with his brother and his father. "They that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same." Jacob was now receiving unjust dealings at the hand of Laban.
This principle that our reward is according to our doing is marvelously illustrated throughout the pages of Holy Writ. King Pharaoh commanded in EXO 1:22 that every son of the Israelites should be drowned, and in EXO 14:28, we read that Pharaoh and all his host were drowned in the Red Sea.
When the Israelites caught Adonibezek, they cut off his thumbs and great toes. Then he confessed as we see in JDG 1:7, "And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died." Thats a heathen king. He had cut the thumbs and great toes off of threescore and ten kings, and now the Israelites had cut off his. This principle is very strong in Scripture.
Ahab caused Naboth to be slain, and we read in 1KI 21:19, "And thou shalt speak unto him [The Lord was telling the prophet Elijah to go speak to Ahab.], saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine." The principle of reaping what we sow is throughout Scripture.
We want to notice the other side of this same principle. Turn to ACT 10:1-4 and see that same principle in the gospel: "There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God."
Turn to HEB 6:9-10: "But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister." We see that principle of sowing and reaping is also on the positive side. When we walk according to the will of God, and when we do the things that Jesus commands us to do, that is also rewarded. HEB 6:9 speaks of the things that accompany salvation. Those things that accompany salvation are, "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister." As surely as God remembers the sins of Jacob, so he surely remembers our labours of love.
Returning to Cornelius in ACT 10:4, it says, "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God." Alms are those deeds of mercy, love, and kindness to your fellowman. Iniquity is dealing unjustly with our fellowman, but alms is when we go the extra mile, when we see someone in need, and we minister to their need. The Lord is not unrighteous to forget. He says of Cornelius, "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God." He didnt forget those. Note what happens in ACT 10:5, "And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter." Cornelius was not of the circumcised; he was of the uncircumcised. He had no knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord called for Peter to tell Cornelius what he needed for salvation. ACT 10:34-35 continues, "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
How remarkable this is! Cornelius was a man of alms. He went out to do the law of love. He laboured ministering to the needs of men, and it was called up for a memorial before God. God sent Peter to Cornelius, and the first thing Peter said was, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him [having a holy reverence for His will, standing in awe of the authority of Gods Word], and worketh righteousness [obedience to the second table of the law of loveto love your neighbor as yourself and to do unto others as you would that they do unto you], is accepted with him." What blessed consolation this is, and what an encouragement to live according to the law of love!
Peter went on to tell Cornelius and all those together with him, "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; [John preached the baptism of repentance.] How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him," ACT 10:36-38. Peter is speaking of that image of Christ that we have when we go about doing good.
Notice that the principle of sowing and reaping is on both sides. You must never have the impression that God never pays any attention to what you do that pleases Him. I have found, in my own life, one of the most blessed things to ever experience is when the Lord comes with His Spirit and in His Word and gives you a token of His pleasure because of something you have done to please Him. I dont know anything that has a greater tendency to melt your heart than to have the Lord say, "You have done something that pleases me."
One time when I was just a child, I was walking down the street in Great Falls and saw a man playing an accordion. I began to realize he was blind. His wife was standing next to him, and they were singing a hymn. I looked closer, and I noticed there was a tin cup wired to the front of that accordion. I understood that they were asking for alms. I was just a young man, and I had a $20 bill in my pocket. That was the only money I owned. I walked past them, but I turned around and came back. I went on by them, unnoticed as I put that $20 bill in their cup. When I returned a minute or two later, those two people were standing by the wall of the building, and they were praying. They were praying for two things. They were thanking the Lord for the provision, and they were praying for the giver.
Years later, when I was under attack, and people were telling me what an deceiver I was and that the Lord was going to allow me to go to my own destruction, I read PSA 112:7-10: "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. [Then it says why.] He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor." When I read that, even though it had been forty years earlier, that scene came back before my eyes and I saw those same two people praying by the wall. What does it say? "His heart is established, he shall not be afraid." All the judgement pronounced on me ran off like water off a ducks back. I had such a blessed consolation because the Lord showed me how pleased He had been that I had given to the poor.
Verse 9 continues, "his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away." What blessed consolation when the Lord tells us we have done something pleasing to Him. The sowing and reaping are on both sides of that principle.
The most striking example of reaping what we sow is in the history of Jacob himself. Jacob deceived his father into thinking the younger was the elder, and his father-in-law deceived him into thinking the elder was the younger. There is such perfect harmony between the tricks he pulled and the tricks that were pulled on him.
Jacob manipulated Esau to get his birthright, and Laban manipulated Jacob in his wages. In GEN 31:41, we read, "Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times." Laban manipulated Jacob at every turn of the hand. Jacob learned to see the bitterness of his sin. That is just as true to principle as it is when the Lord comes with His Spirit and applies His Word and shows you the blessedness of having done something that has pleased Him. The Lord comes with His reward and says, "His horn shall be exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away; the desire of the wicked shall perish," PSA 112:9-10.
Jacob received Rachel, the desire of his heart, as his wife, but it only brought bitterness. The sweetness was so mixed with bitterness. We begin to realize that Jacob lived in Haran, i.e., a land of jealousy, anger, and displeasure. We read in GEN 29:29-30, "And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah [See where strife sets in.], and served with him yet seven other years."
The Lord also saw the grief of Leah who had been manipulated into a marriage with a man who did not love her. GEN 29:31 reads, "And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren." Jacob has nothing but misery.
Jacob's sin now turned into jealousy and strife in his own house. GEN 30:1-2 tells us, "And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?" We see strife, contention, jealousy, bitterness, hatred. Jacob lives in Haran.
Oh, how much better it would have been if Jacob had not run ahead of the Lord to receive the very blessing God had already promised. The Lord has already promised him that the elder would serve the younger. Why couldnt he, by faith, have waited on the Lord? As Jacob fled for his life, he left the land of rest and peace. Oh, what a pitiful record we have of Jacob in GEN 28:10: "And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran."
The apostle Peter leaves us with a blessed consolation as we see Abraham as the father of all those who believe. How much can we trace in our lives to being the sons of Abraham? We can see in our own lives how God brings us to feel the sinfulness of our own sin. We read in 1PE 1:3-7, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope [Doing evil that good may come brings just damnation. You and I must confess that our damnation is just. But here, God gives us hope.] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead [If you and I are to be raised with Him unto that newness of life, we are to turn from our evil ways.], To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [As the result of our sin, we must understand what it is to face many temptations.] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Amen
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