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#398 THE GOD OF ALL OUR SALVATION GENESIS 31:1-12
Jacob was in danger of becoming content in Haran. In GEN 30:25-28, we find that Jacob had a longing to go back to the land of his nativity. He said to Laban, "Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee. And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake. And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it."
Up to this time, Jacob had been serving for his family, but he was actually receiving nothing for wages. Jacob became discontent and could see the emptiness of Haran, so he wanted to go back to the land of his fathers, to Bethel, the place of Gods house.
Laban, however, started to bargain with Jacob, agreeing to give him an inheritance in the land of Haran. In GEN 30:43, we read, "And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses." Jacob was in danger of becoming content to live there, but God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, had purposes that had not altered.
As his wealth increased, Jacob became more and more in danger of forgetting the land of his birth, the land of his fathers, but worst of all, he was in danger of forgetting the land of promise. He was in danger of forgetting the Lords purpose in his life and that his father, Abraham, had been called out of this very place, a place of idolatry. Jacob was in danger of making an idol of his property, but the Lord did not forget.
GEN 31:3 tells us, "And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee." The Lords purpose will not be frustrated. It will come to pass, and He brings it about through His providence. Not only did the Lord come and speak to Jacob, telling him to return, but through His providence, the Lord did two things. He drove Jacob out of the land of Haran, and He led him to the land of promise, saying, "I will be with thee." The Lord led Jacob with His tender, fatherly love.
Not only does the Lord give His gospel call to remind us that we are just sojourners here, but by His providence, He also begins to wean us from our comforts in this life. We have the gospel as Jacob had his call, "Return unto the land of thy fathers." You and I have the call of the gospel: "Return unto me," sayeth the Lord. As long as we are comfortable and have all the heart could long for in this life as described in PSA 73:7 by Asaph. "Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish."
Why do we weep now? It is because of circumstances that the Lord brings into our lives to get our attention. By nature, you and I would be so settled in the things of this life that we would serve the things of this world. You and I are in danger of that even as Jacob was, but the Lord says, "Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh," LUK 6: 21b.
Verse 22 continues, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." Luke says, "Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy," verse 23. Can you picture coming home leaping and rejoicing, singing Gods praises and saying, "The Lord has blessed me today,"
Your wife asks, "How?"
You answer, "They put me out of their company. They cast out my name as vile and reproached me." That is against the flesh, but when the Lord weans us from the things of this life, we learn to realize that it is for our good. The Lord separates us from the company of the world by letting them cast us out.
This principle of blessedness, i.e., that the Lord uses the world to identify and separate His people from them, is strange to you and me. The Lords people start to have the Spirit of Christ, and the world will cast them out because it sees that they are no longer part of their organization any more. The Lords people no longer fit in their circles, and they are no longer welcome in their circles. The Lord has them cast out.
You and I can sometimes be so foolish. We can have such a desire to be friends with our old acquaintances of the world that we wont give them up. We are willing to forgive the way they have treated us so that we can remain friends, but the Lords ways are higher than our ways, Cf. ISA 55:9. He makes it so the world doesnt want you and me. They will cast us out. This is not unique to the New Testament Church. This is the gospel from Genesis to Revelation.
See what the Lord did in GEN 31:1, as He prepared Jacob to be willing to leave Haran and go back to Bethel: "And [Jacob] heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory." The Lord is using the sons of Laban to cause Jacob to realize that he has no abiding place at Haran. This slander against Jacob was to remind him that he was still in Haran, the land of envy, hatred, and a burning anger and jealousy. Jacobs wages had been changed ten times. Laban had connived and taken advantage of Jacob in every way.
Because Jacob was working for Laban, the Lord had blessed the household of Laban. Now also for Jacobs sake, the Lord would teach him another principle and that is, that Laban would receive the fruit of his sin. Jacob had to realize the principle taught in MIC 2:10, "Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction." This principle can be very painful. When the Lord rends you from your own kindred, from your own fathers house, he does it by this very thing that Jacob was experiencing. His own brothers-in-law, his own household, were demonstrating envy and hatred and slandering Jacob, "of that which was our fathers hath he gotten all this glory." This is enough to get you to move out of your fathers house and back to where the Lord wants you to be. The Lord will take you out of your fathers house and will plant you where the Lord will use you for His glory. Thats what the Lord was doing to Jacob. He was taking Jacob out of his father-in-laws house and reminding him that this was not the place of his rest. The Lord not only was telling him vocally but through His providence. The Lord used the slander of Labans sons to tell Jacob, "You have no place here."
The sons of Laban prove that our children, by nature, practice the same deceitful tactics, which they learn from their parents. See what Laban said in GEN 30:27: "And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake." The sons of Laban knew this; yet, they were saying that Jacob had taken all his wealth from their father. They understood the terms between Jacob and their father. They were there. They understood, but they were slanderously accusing Jacob because they had become envious.
The sons of Laban had not only seen how the Lord has blessed Jacob and his own substance, but they are his enemies because of the blessings God has bestowed upon Jacob. They had become bitter toward Jacob because the Lord had blessed Jacob in his labours. Do you know that it is possible for a brother to hate you because he sees that the Lord is blessing your labours? In His providence, the Lord used this means to cause Jacob to go back to the place where the Lord wanted him, the land of promise.
We read in GEN 31:2, "And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before." Countenance means the expression on ones face. Have you ever heard the expression, "If looks could kill, I wouldnt be here." Sometimes the expression on a persons face says ten times more than he would ever be able to convey with words. In this verse, we see that the countenance of Laban has fallen. We understand that the expression on the faces of Labans children tells Jacob that he is hated and that it is time to "Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest." The Lord is telling him the land is polluted, and it will destroy him with a sore destruction. The hatred of his wives brothers and father is such that it would have destroyed Jacob. The Lord spoke to Jacob by night and also through providence. Sometimes we see the Lord speaking through providence more clearly than we can hear with our ears. The countenance of Laban had turned against Jacob.
God sometimes uses the countenance of His face to show His displeasure upon our sin. We see the countenance of Gods face through providence. PSA 90:8-9 reads, "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance." You and I have sins. We also have secret sins. Iniquities here means our unrighteous judgment toward our neighbor. Laban had secret sins. He secretly plotted how he could change Jacobs wages so that Laban could take Jacobs property. Sometimes the Lord sets " our secret sins in the light of (His) countenance. [All of a sudden we see the Lords disfavor and displeasure. The Lord has removed His smile from us because of our secret sins.] For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told." We see Gods displeasure. That is the countenance of His face.
God's purpose for this weaning process is to make sin become exceedingly sinful. It is to help you and me understand the sinfulness of our sin. It draws the heart out of Haran and back to Bethel, the house of God, and the place where God meets with us, where the soul hungers and thirsts after His countenance.
Some people lay awake and tremble over the thought of going to hell. That has never been a threat to me. But I do know what it means to literally, physically tremble, thinking that the Lord would remove His countenance and His favor, that He would no longer show me His love, or that He would give me over to walk in sin. That has made me tremble.
We read in SON 2:14, "O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock [This is speaking of Gods dear ones who are in the clefts of the rock, not those who are concerned about destruction in hell.], in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely." That is the longing desire of those who truly love the Lord. They see Gods countenance upon them through providence, through all their ways of life. The Lord blesses them literally and spiritually. He gives the love of His Spirit, revealing more and more of the preciousness of Christ.
It was when Laban's countenance was fallen that the Lord lifts up His countenance. We see in GEN 31:2 that the countenance of Laban was fallen and then in verse 3, "And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee." The Lord is saying, "Return unto me." The Lords countenance now smiles upon Jacob, and He says, "I will be with thee."
In NUM 6:25-26, we read, "The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." When the countenance of God is lifted upon us, He gives us peace. There is a peace that passes all understanding, Cf. PHI 4:7. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." The Lord is so pleased when our heart goes out to Him rather than being set on the things of this life. The Lord had given Jacob great riches, but the Lord did not want Jacobs heart set upon those temporal things.
The Lord lifted up His countenance upon Jacob after Laban's countenance had fallen. While Jacob was serving Laban, and Labans countenance was lifted up, and he was showing Jacob his pleasure, Jacob was content to dwell in Haran. When it was the Lords time to remove Jacob from Haran, He, in His providence, allowed the countenance of Laban and his children to drive Jacob out. The Lord has no pleasure in a compulsory service. The Lord did not come to Jacob, telling him to return, so that he returned grudgingly because his heart was still in the land of Haran. When the Lord wants you and me to return to Him, He will wean us from the things of this world so that we no longer have such pleasure in the things of this life.
After He has weaned our hearts, He says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," MAT 11:28a. Then we come running and crawling on our knees because we have been weaned. We have no pleasure in anything that would hold us back and keep us in things of this life. In GEN 31:3, we read, "And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee." The Lord already had gone before Jacob and used the countenance of Laban to drive him out. Jacob was looking for a place of escape.
Jacob's heart had yearned for his father's house when he was in adversity before. We see in
GEN 30:25, "And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country." Jacob had tried to leave one time before, but he had been enticed to stay by a promise of wages.
At that time, the Lord allowed Laban to convince Jacob to remain. The Lords ways are higher than our ways, and our time is not His. Jacob desired to leave and go back to the house of his fathers, but the Lord allowed Laban to entice him to stay. It was not the Lords time.
GEN 30:27 states, "And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake." Laban saw that the Lords blessing upon the labours of Jacob brought him profit so Laban wanted Jacob to stay.
Now Laban must learn, also by experience, that the Lord would reward him according to his deceit against Jacob, and that this too would be for Jacob's sake. The Lord does not always reward the wicked in this life for their deceit, dishonesty, and wickedness. We read in PSA 73:4 about the wicked, "For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm." Therefore, they say, "How doth God know? And is there knowledge in the most High?" But when they sin against one of Gods people, then the Lord, for their sake, will bring that to light.
In GEN 31:11-12, we read, "And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee."
The Lord was going to reward Laban and allow him to see that the Lord would bless Jacob, but take away from Laban the blessing that he had received for Jacobs sake. It would be given to its rightful owner. Thats why it wasnt the Lords time for Jacob to leave. The Lord wanted Jacob to be vindicated of the wrong of Laban. In the Lords providence, every time that Laban and Jacob came to new terms, Jacob was blessed. Laban had to see that God had given Jacob all that was rightfully his, all that Laban had taken deceitfully through Jacobs service. The Lord was rewarding Laban for his doings. To bring this about, he allowed Jacob to make a deal with Laban to receive his wages.
While the Lord blessed Jacob with much temporal blessing, yet the Lord remained faithful to His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He did not allow Jacob to return permanently to the land of idolatry from which He had called Abram. Abram was called out of the land because of their idolatry. Now in the third generation, God was not going to allow Jacob to have returned and remain there.
In GEN 31:13, we read "I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred." God spoke to Jacob through providence and also spoke to him personally.
As has been stated before, the Lord has no pleasure in a compulsory service. God could have merely come to Jacob in a dream and said, "Jacob, now return," even as you could take the gospel trumpet and walk down the street, telling people, "Return unto the Lord." People are so satisfied with what they have in this life that they would look at you as blowing a tinhorn. But the Lord came in His providence, and He thrust him out. Jacob's heart must first be weaned from all his luxuries in Haran before it would be his desire to leave.
The Lord wants you and me to serve Him out of a motive of love. He wants us weaned from the things of this life so that it becomes our desire to serve Him. The Lord was calling Jacob to return to Bethel, which was none other than the house of God. Jacob had strayed away from the house of God, and he had served in the land of Haran, the land of contention and confusion. The Lord had allowed him to go through all this confusion, but now was telling him to return.
It was also necessary that Jacob convince his wives that they might desire to go as well. Jacob had gone to Padanaram, married two wives, and had a family. Sometimes when you move into an area and get settled, your wife doesnt necessarily want to give up everything and move. She has her friends and her people, and who says that the family is going to want to move? Jacob had to go out and do a little public relations work. He had to talk to his wives and convince them that what was happening was the right thing and of the Lord. He did not want them to go out of compulsion. He didnt want them to go because "Jacob said so." He wanted them to become willing to go.
GEN 31:4 states, "And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock." He was going to talk to Rachel and Leah about the dealings of their father. It is very important that we understand this point. Children are to honor their fathers and mothers, but fathers are also responsible for their own results when they provoke their children to just wrath. There is a just wrath, and we must watch that we do not provoke our children to this just wrath.
In EPH 6:2-4, we read, "Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." This is where Laban had sinned. Laban had not nurtured his children in the admonition of the Lord. Laban was not a God-fearing man. He was a deceiver, and had deceived Jacob, changing his wages ten times. He had used his children. He had sold his daughters for service, for dollars. He had provoked them to a just wrath. We may not slander our parents or speak evil of them. Jacob had to follow this godly principal while he spoke to his wives, the daughters of Laban.
Jacob explained to his wives how their father's frowns had provoked the Lord's smile. Notice the foundation upon which Jacob builds his case with his wives. In GEN 31:5, we read, "And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me." Jacob was saying that the countenance of the Lord was with him. He then went on to qualify that remark. Jacob was not speaking slanderously about his father-in-law. He was speaking very truthfully in order to maintain his own integrity.
When you are slandered, whether by your father, your mother, your wife, or your children, you may tell the truth to vindicate your own name even though it sounds slanderous toward them. The sons of Laban had accused Jacob of having stolen from their father. GEN 31:1 tells us, "And (Jacob) heard the words of Labans sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our fathers; and of that which was our fathers hath he gotten all this glory." They slandered Jacob, and he had to talk to his wives about their father. He had to honour his father-in-law, but he had to tell the truth.
When Job was slanderously accused, he maintained his integrity. Notice JOB 19:1-3, "Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?
These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me." Job would vindicate his own name. He said, "Youve slandered me." Job was allowed to vindicate his name.
When Jacob spoke to his wives about their father, he was not slandering their father. He was maintaining his own integrity. He was justifying his decision to leave. This is different than slandering. GEN 31:6-7 says, "And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. [They would know because they were there. He was living with them. They saw his daily walk. They knew Jacob had served their father with all his heart and soul, and that he had been upright.] And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me." When he told his wives that their father had deceived him, he was speaking the truth.
God not only would not let Laban hurt Jacob, but He overruled all his craft for Jacob's wealth.
He was so crafty. He saw a few brown cattle in his herd, maybe one in a hundred, and if Jacob said, "Let the brown cattle be my wages," Laban would say, "Sure, thats fine." But the Lord allowed those brown cattle to be the ones that conceived, and they became Jacobs cattle. So Laban would change his wages. Hed say, "Well, take the speckled animals," because there were just a few of them. In the Lords providence, He again overruled Labans craft and used it to make Jacob wealthy.
Notice how Jacob reasons with his wives and establishes in their minds that in fact, their father had deceived him and changed his wages. GEN 31:8 records, "If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked." Jacob was showing his wives how the wages that their father had allotted had been honestly and justly earned. Jacob had not, as had been slanderously said, taken all that was their fathers. The Lord gave it to him. In Gods providence, God had overruled the wickedness of their father.
Jacob's pleading with his wives was not based only upon the deceitfulness, and injustices of their father, but also upon God's clear intervention. He not only explained to them about the deceitfulness of their father, but he was convincing them that God had intervened. He was convincing his wives that the Lord was blessing him because of Labans deceitfulness. This was his evidence that God was calling him to depart.
Jacob's argument centers and concludes upon God's clear intervention and directive. Take note of GEN 31:9-12: "Thus God hath taken away [He didnt say that he had taken away as was slanderously reported.] the cattle of your father, and given them to me. [He was vindicating himself. He had not stolen the cattle.] And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. [He was pleading that not only had he seen this literally, but also in a dream.] And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. [The Lord was saying that He had intervened, and Jacob was telling this to his wives.] I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred."
Notice the word now. Years earlier when Jacob had talked about going back, it was not the Lords time. But now, it was the Lords time.
Jacob was explaining all this to his wives to convince them not to side with their father and brothers with the result that he would go out empty. He wanted to take his wives and children, his belongings, the cattle that the Lord had given him, and he was convincing his wives that this indeed was of the Lord.
Jacob had convinced his wives that this God of Bethel was a God of providence. It is so important that you and I learn to see that the Lord is a God of providence. He is not only the God of our salvation to deliver us from hell and take us into heaven, but salvation includes what the Lord does for us in providence. Salvation includes more than just literally saving our soul. When the Lord loves us, He looks upon what men do to you in providence, and He puts His hedge around us. He does not allow them to do more than what is His will for us. He allows them to frown and thrust us out, but he will not allow them to destroy us. Jacob convinced his wives that the God of Bethel was a God of providence, and thereby, their hearts were in one accord to go with him; even against their father's will.
We see in GEN 31:14-16, "And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. [Labans daughters, Jacobs wives, are convinced. They see that their father has sold them for money, and that he has devoured everything that they had.] For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do." They had to understand in their own minds that what Jacob said was justified. He did justify his conduct in the hearts, in the eyes, and in the understanding of his wives and children.
Women must submit to their husbands, but not under a tyranny. It is our job, as husbands, to convince them that what were doing is right and just so that they can live in submission with a heart thats right before the Lord because they must submit unto their husbands "as it is fit in the Lord," COL 3:18. When a woman submits to her husband in the Lord, that means as long as what her husband is doing is according to the Word of God, she must submit. If a man were to tell his wife that he wants her to prostitute herself so that she can earn money for him, she has a right to say no because thats not in the Lord. Thats not the type of submission a woman owes her husband. A woman must submit herself to her "own husband, as it is fit in the Lord." It was Jacobs duty to convince his wives that what he was doing was of the Lord, that it was right.
When David had insight into the blessed covenant God had made with him he said "...for this is all my salvation, and all my desire..." 2SA 23:5. We must understand that Gods salvation includes His salvation in providence. The prophet had just told David of the great things that God was going to do for him and his children for generations to come. In Gods providence, He would fulfill these promises. David said, "for this is all my salvation, and all my desire." We must see that the things in Gods provision and in His covenant promises are part of His salvation. The Lord had blessed David and had given him a covenant. The Lords covenant promises are all a part of our salvation.
When the Lord said, "I am the God of Bethel," in GEN 31:13, he spoke of all Jacob's salvation. At Bethel, Jacob saw the salvation he had in the Lord Jesus Christ. He saw the ladder came down to the very spot where he lay. At that ladder, we see the blessedness of the salvation we have in Christ, but that isnt all Jacob saw. When we talk about the God of Bethel, we are talking about all his salvation. In GEN 28:12, we read, "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."
To find our part in Christ's blood for a pardon is not all of our salvation. As the Father looks upon us in Christ, He also becomes our God of providence in Christ. We must understand how God the Father stood above that ladder. That ladder became the conduit or channel through which all the other covenant blessings flow. In Christ, we receive all the covenant blessings. Everything is through Christ. We must see that all our salvation includes all the covenant promises.
GEN 28:13-15 states, "And, behold, the LORD stood above it (the ladder), 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 [This is part of his salvation. When he looked at the God of Bethel as the God of all his salvation, he not only saw the ladder, but he saw that this covenant blessing, the blessing of Abraham, which included the land whereon thou liest, was his covenant promise. That covenant promise flowed to him through the channel that was in the ladder.]; 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. And, behold, I am with thee [This is another of his covenant promises. This is part of our salvation. When we speak of all our salvation, we are speaking of the Lords nearness.], 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 God of Bethel was the God of all Jacobs salvation. His salvation centered in Christ, in the blessed atonement. The blessed atonement is that channel through which all the covenant blessings become ours. This includes a God of providence.
People have told me, "Its time you learn to separate your business from your religion." I cant separate them. When I have a business that does not correspond with my religion, Ive got either a wrong religion or a wrong business. I cant go on my knees and ask the Lord to bless me when I go to work in a bar. Ive got a wrong business. If I have a business about which I can go on my knees and ask the Lords blessing, then I cant separate my religion from my business.
Jacob saw that he received his land and his cattle from the Lord, and they were all part of his covenant blessing. He was to "spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south." The Lord was going to enrich Jacob and make him a man of prominence. That was all part of the covenant blessing that he received in Christ.
When the Lord said in GEN 31:13, "I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me," He was not only speaking of the ladder, but of all His salvation. The Lord continued, "now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred." The return to the land of his kindred was part of that covenant promise.
Jacob's God of Bethel is a God of covenant and promises. God had covenanted with Abraham, and the covenant blessings of Abrahams became Jacobs. It was all part of Jacobs salvation. God reminded Jacob of Bethel to bring his eyes back unto the promised land which God had promised him over twenty years before.
The Lord also reminded Jacob of his vows and promises to the Lord, "...where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me." Not only did the Lord remind Jacob of his covenant blessing, but He also reminded him of his vows. What was it that Jacob had vowed?
GEN 28:20-22 tells us, "And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, 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 [His god would not be the cattle or wealth, not the great empire which Jacob had built. He was not to live in a land of idolatry. He was not to make an idol of his wife, his children, his family, or his property.]: 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." The Lord reminded Jacob of his vow. He had vowed that the LORD would be his God. To remember that the Lord was God of everything he had been given, he vowed, "I will surely give the tenth unto thee." He would also use that pillar as the place of Gods house, a place of worship.
Jacob must not return to Canaan with all his great wealth to promote his own interest. Jacob's heart must not be set upon his wealth. His vow was, "...then shall the LORD be my God [not my wealth]."
Jacob could flee the consequences of his sin. He could bring many grievous afflictions upon himself. Jacob may live a life of confusion for many years, but the Lord is not the author of confusion. Jacobs sin was the author of all the confusion. The Lord is a covenant God of whom we read in ISA 55:8-11, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. [Jacob could flee and do all these things, bringing all this confusion, but he couldnt alter the purposes of God.] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 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."
Watch the rain come down. It doesnt turn around and go back. Just that surely, God says that His Word goes forth and will not return to Him void. That which God has spoken will take place. In Gods providence, He brought Jacob down to the point where He wanted him back in Bethel. God wanted to remember the covenant He had made with Abraham, with Isaac, and the covenant He made with Jacob at Bethel. "And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers." Now was the Lords time, and this is an important part of all His salvation. 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.