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#400 THE LORD SHALL BE MY GOD GENESIS 31:13-55
As Jacob complained to his wives of the cloudy countenance of Laban, he could also direct them to the Lord's countenance upon himself. 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."
We will notice as we go through this lifes journey that the countenance of man will change. The Lord may hide His countenance, and He may show us His displeasure when we sin against Him, but the Lord alters not. In spite of all that Jacob had done in moving to Haran, the land of jealousy, hatred, and bitterness, in spite of all the confusion that the Lord brought upon him, and in spite of all of Jacobs sin, the Lords countenance had not faltered. Jacob said, "the God of my father hath been with me." The Lord does not forsake the work of His own hand. The Lord does not forget the covenant He has made with His people; the Lord remains their God.
God's smiles are our best support under man's frowns. When we go forth in this life and have to entertain the frowns of our fellowman and the fallen countenance of the world, then we notice that Gods smiles are our best support. David said in PSA 56:11, "In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me."
The Lord empties us from vessel into vessel, Cf. JER 48:11. This saying uses the illustration of making wine. Grape juice is put in a bottle. It begins to ferment, and the sediment settles to the bottom. As the fermentation takes place, and the sediment settles out, it is emptied into a new vessel. The sediment is left behind. Each time this is done, the sediment becomes smaller and less. Yet, it must be emptied again and again because each time the sediment is left behind, and the result is sweet wine.
This is a most beautiful illustration of Gods work of sanctification. As He begins to work sanctification and puts us in His vessel, we see that the corruption of our heart begins to come under the furnace of affliction. The Lord begins to remove some of the dross and empties us into another vessel, having delivered us from the power of a given sin, only to discover that there is more sin. That sin is in there intermingled with everything that is sweet and is still part of our fallen nature. As the Lord brings us through another trial and another, each time He empties us from vessel into vessel. Each time He empties us a little further because the sediment in the bottom becomes less and less. Sometimes it comes to the point when the Lord begins to empty us that we begin to wonder how empty we can get. The Lord empties us to where there is nothing left of man.
The Lord has said by Davids mouth in PSA 56:11-12, "In God have I put my trust. [All of our confidence in the flesh is taken away.] I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee." David made vows, and Jacob made vows, but the Lord also made vows in the covenant that He made with Abraham and the promises to Abraham that were now bestowed upon Jacob. The Lord put His vows upon Jacob. We may also understand that to mean the vows that Jacob made unto the Lord.
The Lord also laid Jacob's vows upon him to urge him on to obedience. The Lord said in
GEN 31:13, "I am the God of Bethel," to remind Jacob how the Lord came and showed him that ladder, coming down to the place where he lay to show him the way of escape through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord also let Jacob know that He sat above that ladder. "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 [the Promised Land]." God was calling to Jacob to remember his vows. The vows that Jacob made were being called to his remembrance to urge him to obedience. God wanted to see if Jacob was going to live up to his vows.
Jacob may well have saved himself all the anxiety about his wives willingness if he had trusted the Lord to roll away the stones from his path of obedience. The Lord had given him the command to go and reminded him of his vows and of the obedience that he must render to his vows. Jacob wouldnt have needed to use all the diplomacy and salesmanship with his wives if he had just been able to have a heart that was truly prepared to obey the Lord and perform his vows. If Jacob had only gone forth in simple obedience, he would have had no need for all his subtlety in the way he spoke to his wives.
Take note of GEN 31:4-7. "And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, And said unto them, I see your fathers countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me." See what Jacob is doing wrong here. The Lord Jesus said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you," Cf. JOH 15:12. The Lord Jesus covers our sins. Jacob did not have to take the sins of his wives father and lay those sins before them. All he had to do was tell them, "The Lord appeared unto me, and this is what the Lord commanded me to do. This is the vow that I have vowed, and the Lord has said to perform my vows." Instead, Jacob takes the nakedness of their father and exposes it.
Jacob continues in verse 6, "And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me." Jacob is instilling a wrong attitude in his wives toward their father. Whatever the conduct of their father, it remained Rachel and Leahs duty to cover his sins rather than to expose the shame of their father as Ham did to Noah, his father. When Ham uncovered the shame of his father, his two brothers put a blanket on their shoulders and walking backward, covered his shame. We are not to uncover another mans shame. We are not to uncover the shame of our brother. We are to go forward trusting in the Lord and doing the will of God. We are all guilty in these matters. Jacob was so foolish to talk to Rachel and Leah and expose the shame of their father, causing them to do the same. Jacobs conduct caused them to err.
In GEN 31:14-16, we read, "And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our fathers house? Are we not counted of him strangers? For he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our childrens: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do." Jacobs conduct toward his wives caused them to start unveiling the shame of their father. Jacob acted foolishly in these things. What his wives said may have been true, but Jesus said, " love one another, as I have loved you." The things that Jesus covers with His blood are also true. Even though a complaint against our fellowman may be true, that doesnt mean it is to be held out before the world. It is to be covered. Thats the love that Christ has for His church. Jacob acted foolishly, and in response, his wives are acting foolishly. What they are saying may be ever so true and still ever so wrong. It violates the principle of the law of love. Instead of heaping coals of love upon Labans head, they are revealing his shame.
Afterward, the wives conclude in verse 16, "now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do." In other words, "Since we have agreed to strip our father naked before the world, now then do whatever God commanded you." Why did that have to be revealed? We have to do "whatsoever God hath said unto thee." When Peter came to the Lord Jesus Christ and said, "and what shall this man do?" the Lord Jesus answered, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me." The Lord Jesus is teaching us the principle of covering each others sin, not exposing it.
When Jacob started stirring the fire, it riled up the hearts of his wives, and between the three of them, they were sitting there, as a man told me once, having roast pastor for supper. That is a grievous sin. We all offend in many things. We all come short, but the work of grace in the heart is to teach us the law of love, and that includes covering each others sins.
Notwithstanding their father's fault, Rachel and Leah's words, "...Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?" echoes the same attitude as the prodigal son, not the spirit of the law of love. Two wrongs dont make a right. A wrong attitude had been instilled in the wives of Jacob. They are going to obey the Word of God with a wrong attitude. Do you see where confusion comes from and why there is so much confusion in the world and in the churches of God? It is because there is a desire to do the will of God, but it is in the wrong attitude.
This attitude of "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our fathers house?" was certainly not reverent or a demonstration of honour for their father. We are to honour our father and mother. It doesnt say to honour them providing they are perfect. I was in the army, and I was part of a group of ten people to disarm a man who had taken a knife to kill someone. After we had taken the knife away from him and had him subdued, he said, "I realize my mother is a prostitute, but it is still my mother. And the name he called me disgraces my mother." A man who made no profession of religion still concealed the sin of his mother because he honoured his mother. The children of Jacob were being sent the wrong message by their parents.
A wrong attitude ("Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our fathers house?") was the attitude of the prodigal when he turned and left his father. Prodigal meets prodigal in the way of the cross recounting the blessings of their father's house as they come back on their knees crying, "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?"
You and I have left our heavenly Father. Our motive is "Is there any inheritance left?" Thats the argument of natural man. But we come back on our knees, crying, "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our fathers house?" When you and I have truly learned to understand who we are, then that very question comes back with a complete different attitude. It becomes a question that we are pleading before the Lord: "Is there yet any inheritance left? Have I forfeited it all? Do I deserve any blessing?" The same question has a completely different attitude. That same question with a right attitude would have come across well. If you and I come before the Lord and say, "Lord, is there yet any portion or inheritance for (me) in (thy) house," we would be pleading as the prodigal when he returned.
In true repentance, the prime concern is not whether there is hope for the vile or the lost, but is there hope for me? Can I re-enter my father's service? That was the only concern of the prodigal son. Would his father receive him back so that he could come back under his fathers service even if it were as a hireling. We read in LUK 15:18-19, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." When we start to understand the sin and plague of our own heart, the question and desire is, "Lord, is there yet a place for me in thy service? May I return to thy service?"
The question, which arises in the heart, "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?" In other words, "I am no more worthy to be called thy son," Cf. LUK 15:19. There may have been a portion, but "is there yet...," or have we sinned it away? Sin crystallizes into habit. I find myself so guilty when I think back in raising my own family.
I remember, as little children, sometimes things would be done and called a sense of humor. We laugh and we think its funny. Thirty years later, I watch that same laugh, only it has become the character of that person. Sin crystallizes into habit and character. After we have strayed so far away and have sinned grievously for so long, and the sins of our heart have formed our character, we wonder, "Is there yet any inheritance? I am no longer worthy." How often we have to examine our own heart and pray, "Oh Lord, if it would just be thy will to give me a right attitude." We find ourselves slipping back into a wrong attitude so often on this or that. We have to say again, "Is there yet, after all these years and all these habits which have formed our character, making us who we are, a portion for us?"
"Is there yet..." after the door has been so often barred against the Man of Sorrows, after the gospel message has so often sounded on our ears to a locked door? David said in PSA 51:3-4, "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." When the Lord enters judgment, were going to find that theres only one place of mercy, and that is when we come to Him and say, "I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me."
Have you ever found when discussing a subject with someone and your own conscience tells you that youre wrong, how difficult it is to come out and confess, "Im wrong; youre right." The Lord wants each of us to come before Him and say, "I acknowledge my transgressions." Our conscience may convict us, but the Lord wants us to confess our sins and say, "Lord, I acknowledge my transgression; I was wrong there; I had a wrong attitude. I sinned against that brother." Then we must come before that brother and acknowledge our transgression. David said, "My sin is ever before me." Thats a contrite heart. Contrite means crushed and ground to powder. There is nothing left upon which we have any standing.
The Lord does reward every man according to his deeds, but we are not to sit and judge another man's heart. This is what was wrong with Jacobs approach to his wives. They were passing judgment upon Laban. Let the Lord be the judge. The Lord knew Labans heart. The Lord knew the thoughts and intents of his heart as well as the exact motives on which he had acted. There have been so many times in my life when I have felt I was suffering wrong, but the Lord gave me the grace to give it to Him and accept the wrongful suffering. In very short time, I would see the Lord come back and reward that very individual with that exact situation. Let the Lord be the judge and rewarder of every man according to his deeds. We are not to uncover each others nakedness.
The Lord did reward Laban for his indiscriminate, uncaring, unloving attitude toward his children. Even though what they did was wrong, yet in the Lords providence, He allowed it to come to pass to reward Laban for his attitude. The Lord also rewarded Laban for an unnatural conduct in using his daughters as merchandise. See how it rent his heart that they left without recognizing him as their father. Laban had wrong attitudes and a lust for wealth, but he still had a natural fathers heart of love for his children.
GEN 31:26 records for us, "And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?" We can see how he felt about the way in which his daughters had treated him. It rent his heart that he had lost the love and affection of his children. Sometimes, you and I have to examine our hearts and the attitude our children have toward us. Is it a reflection of the attitude we had toward them when they were young?
Jacob stole away without giving Laban a chance to bid his children or grandchildren farewell. Laban went to shear his sheep, and while he was gone a three-days journey away, we read what happened in GEN 31:17-22: "Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's. And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead. And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled."
Imagine if your children treated you that way. When Jacob left Laban and his family, it was with the understanding that he would never hear from them again because in those times, there wasnt transportation as there is now nor were there telephones or mail communication. It touched Labans heart to see an unloving spirit in his children and grandchildren as they fled from him as though fleeing from being held captive in war. What an empty place that must have left in Labans heart when his family had departed, knowing he would probably never see them again and that was the love they had toward him.
Fleeing is not unbecoming to God's saints when they are fleeing a land of idolatry. They were fleeing a land of idols, but that didnt take away Labans pain. Laban is a type of the world, and Jacob was fleeing as the saints of God must flee from the things of this life and the servitude of this world. In the eager effort of Laban to retain Jacob's service, we see the spirit of the world in its effort to hold us as bondservants to sin and its pleasure. Labans pursuit was to try to cause them to return. He had talked them into returning once. He wanted them to remain in the land. This is the way the world is when you and I withdraw ourselves from the world. The world wants us to remain as part of its operation.
We read in GEN 31:23, "And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead." How hotly Laban pursued them. This teaches us how the world will pursue us.
But for God's restraining grace, the world would overpower all our good intentions and draw us back into its service. GEN 31:24-26 reads, "And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead. And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?" Neither Jacob nor the world gives up its prey easily. Satan will hotly pursue us and attempt to snare us, trying to bargain with us or in some way get us to compromise. If he cannot have our wholehearted service, he wants our divided heart. He will accept us serving him and Christ too, because he knows whom well end up serving in the end. He wants as much of our service as he can get.
God's restraining grace forbids the world to forcefully exercise its rule over His people, but the world pleads with them to be content to abide with it. If Satan cant forcefully come and destroy us on the spot, hell plead with us to compromise. GEN 31:27 says, "Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me..." There is a pleading. Why is it that you cant dwell with us or be part of us? Why do you do this?
The world will profess its willingness to make our religion palatable by mixing it with their own mirth. Laban wanted Jacob to come back and enjoy mirth with him. He says in GEN 31:27, "Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?" Today, the world wants to get its dancing and music into the churches. The world wants us to compromise. The common feeling is that we dont want to lose our young people, and if we dont let them do this, theyll go to another church or quit going. So in order to save our young people, we compromise. That is the tone of the world.
The world will also plead its feelings and our cruelty in obeying God's will. The world will say we are unkind and have trampled upon their feelings. The world today will tell you that if you dare to scold a child or discipline that child that it is child abuse. Theyll tell you that you are cruel when you obey Gods will. You have to allow the child to do his/her own thing if you want to live peaceably with the world. Laban continued in GEN 31:28, "And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing."
The world also uses threats to intimidate God's people. If we cant win you and we cant destroy you, and if we cant get your attention any other way, well try to scare you. Note what Laban said in GEN 31:29: "It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad." Laban wanted him to know it was in his power to harm Jacob. Thats the intimidation that well receive from the world. If you and I give them the faintest inkling that we are afraid of what they can do to us, they are all the braver.
If you act afraid of a barking dog, it has all the more courage. I had a dog jump at me. He was three feet off the ground when he hit the end of his chain, growling at me. Two minutes later I was petting that dog because the dog saw that I was not afraid. Every time hed jump at me, Id pat my leg and talk to him. I talked nicely to him and kept coming closer. Within two minutes, the dog was lying on its back, and I was stroking him. Thats the way it is with the world. They will come to you with such threats and let you know that they can "do you hurt," to intimidate you and cause you to move away from your principles of obedience to the Word of God.
The world will also jeer us for our sudden refusal to serve it after so many years of being content with its company. Youve been content with the world for so many years, and now, all of a sudden, youre a goody-goody. We read in GEN 31:30-32, "And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house..."
The world will reproach us for our inconsistency, making much of serving our God while harboring some hidden sin. If the world can identify sin in your heart, a weakness that you have, it will do so to discourage you. The world will call you a hypocrite, saying that you think youre so much better than they are that you cant come to their parties, but you can commit some particular sin. Laban said in GEN 31:30-32: "And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?" In other words, Laban was saying, "You want to go to Bethel where you can serve the Lord because you have vowed that the Lord will be your God, and yet, you stole my god to take along and serve there." See the confusion. The world will try to make you understand that you say one thing but do another. You see why our walk of life is so important. We bring blasphemy on Gods name when we steal their idols, when we worship the idols of the world.
Verse 31 continues, "And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them." Jacob was not aware that Rachel, the one that he loved, had stolen the gods of her father. We must watch our walk of life because the least semblance of hypocrisy brings blasphemy upon our profession.
Laban is willing to turn every stone to prove his charge against Jacob's honesty. Laban is willing to search the tents of Jacob and his wives as well as his handmaids. Jacob had told Laban to search through all his things, and if there was one sheep, one ram, one goat, one thing that belonged to Laban, identify it and set it before the brothers that it might be judged. Jacob said in verse 37, "Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both." Jacob didnt know that, in fact, Labans gods had been stolen and were among his goods. In the Lords providence, He did not put Jacob to shame even though there was sin in his house. Likewise, Jacob and his wives should not have been putting Laban to shame even though there was sin in his camp.
You and I have sin in our camp. There is no man that sins not. There was sin in Jacobs camp, but the Lord did not allow it to be revealed. Jacob stood there and said, "Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both." Then Jacob went on to vindicate himself, "This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes." Jacob was pleading his integrity.
Think of the shame it would have brought upon Jacob if the Lord had not covered that sin. It is so urgent that you and I understand the principle of covering one anothers sin. We are all too guilty in these things. Laban went in and searched and hunted, but the Lord concealed it. Laban was not able to identify Jacobs sin even though he tried. The Lord says, "I have not beheld iniquity in Jacob," Cf. NUM 23:21. We must remember that with our fellowman.
How little did Laban realize that the hypocrisy and idolatry he taught his own daughter brought about her dishonesty and her curse! Laban had taught so much hypocrisy and dishonesty by his own example. Those traits, instilled in the heart of his daughter, brought about her curse. And what was that? Jacob had said, "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live," verse 32. Jacob, in the integrity of his heart, said this, but Rachel died before they got to Bethel.
The vow of Jacob at Bethel had been, "And the Lord shall be my God." Rachel, knowing that God was bringing him back to Bethel to perform his vows, still stole Labans god. She was still going to serve her idols, and she did not live to see Bethel. The Lord took her away before Jacob got back to Bethel because the Lord did not allow the hypocrisy of Laban to remain in his camp.
Note the hypocrisy that Rachel used. GEN 31:34-35 tells us, "Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched but found not the images." The Lord allowed Rachels hypocrisy to cover the sin of Jacobs house.
The ways of the Lord are so mysterious. It becomes so urgent that you and I understand that what the Lord is performing here, using this or that person, may have great ends. The Lord allows sin. He allowed the sin of Rachel, deceit and hypocritical lying to her father, to cover the sin of Jacobs house in order that Jacob would not be brought to shame before his brother when he asked, "What hast thou found?" The Lords ways are so much higher than our ways, Cf. ISA 55:9.
The Lord had laid Jacob's vows upon him. GEN 31:13 reads, "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." What was that vow? We see that vow in GEN 28:20-21: "...then shall the LORD be my God." The Lord would be Jacobs God, but the god of Laban would be Rachels god, but Rachel did not live to see Bethel.
Rachel was aware of that vow. Jacob had told Rachel and Leah that the Lord had commanded him to return unto "Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me," GEN 31:13. Who could question that they were aware of that vow? Yet, she had to take her fathers gods.
Rachel heard Jacob tell her father Laban in GEN 31:32, "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them." It is so important that we understand the sin of Rachel. When Rachel heard that curse pronounced upon her by her own husband,
instead of confessing her sin she concealed it in a hypocritical way. If she had come to her husband and to her father and said, "I have sinned; I have stolen your gods," she could have turned from serving Labans gods. We see how she concealed it in GEN 31:35: "And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched but found not the images." She used the excuse that "the custom of women is upon me," as though that was the reason she couldnt rise up. She couldnt rise up because the gods he was searching for were underneath her. She was sitting on them.
All of her deceit and hypocrisy was not as big a sin as her continued worship of the idols of her father in the face of her knowledge of Jacob's vow that the Lord would be his God. The Lord could have and would have forgiven her deceit, hypocrisy, and theft. He would have forgiven all of this. The reason she had no place in Jacobs God was that in the face of his vow that the Lord would be his God, she was, by lying and stealing, going to keep the gods of her father and serve them. She was not going to submit to the vow of Jacob, "The Lord shall be my God."
How many people in modern Christendom serve idols? How many truly trust in the Lord as their God? How many people today truly serve the Lord? We have so many things in which to trust. We can trust in insurance, in medical care, in a thousand things. But whom are we serving as our God? In PSA 144:15, we read, "Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD." Thats what Jacobs wife, Rachel, did not have. Thats why the curse came upon her, not so much for her deceit, theft, and lying. It was because the Lord was not her God. She served the gods of Laban.
Not only had Jacob vowed that the Lord would be his God, but God will be glorified throughout eternity as the God of Jacob. The Lord cannot have a divided heart. The praises that are sung before the throne of God in heaven call our Lord the God of Jacob. PSA 46:4-7 reads, "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."
The God of Jacob is the praise and glory of the eternal songs before the throne of heaven. The God of Jacob is the refuge for His church. Jacobs vow, "The Lord shall be my God," became the songs of eternal glory. We cant have a divided heart. The Lord must be our God. "Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD." You and I cannot serve two gods. We must serve the Lord as our God.
We must not only learn to know the God of Jacob as the refuge for His church, but as our personal refuge. We read in PSA 91:2, "I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust." See the personal pronouns I and my. If you and I are going to stand upon that sea of glass, Cf. REV 4:6, and sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb, that song will be, "The Lord is my God."
The sin of Rachel was so grievous that in spite of the narrow escape, she didnt come and confess, saying, "Im wrong. You can have it Laban. You can take it back with you. I will serve the God of Jacob. The Lord will also be my God." She didnt do that. She never saw Bethel.
Our Saviour said in MAT 12:37, "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." This principle of being known by your words is so important. It clearly identifies the distinction between Jacob and Laban by the names they gave to the heap of stones that were heaped up for a witness between them. They both agreed that the name of that heap was going to be "a witness between me and thee," i.e. a heap of witnesses. Yet, they both gave it an entirely different name. The one was the name of a Chaldean word, and the other one was a Hebrew word. They both meant the identical same thing, but we want to notice that "thy speech bewrayeth thee," Cf. MAT 26:73. Who are you serving by your tongue, by the words of your mouth? What you say tells who you are. Laban identified himself as a Chaldean, while Jacob identified himself as a Hebrew merely by the name that they put upon this pile of stones.
GEN 31:44-48 reads, "Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.
And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed." Galeed, in the original, means a "heap of witnesses," and the Chaldean word that Laban used means a "heap of witnesses." In that, they were in agreement, but their speech told who they served.
The name chosen by Laban was Chaldean, which shows he spoke the language of heathendom, while Jacob called it Galeed which is Hebrew. Is it not true today that our speech tells whom we serve? Have you ever gotten into a conversation with a man, and in the very first slip of the tongue, you hear him taking Gods name in vain? You dont have to ask him who he serves. His speech betrays him. Does our tongue betray us?
See what happened in MAT 26:71-75: "And when (Peter) was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. [The first thing Peter did to remove the betrayal, the barrier, of his speech was to lower himself to speak their language.] And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly." There was repentance. He returned to the Lord. There was remorse over his sin, but what was it? It was the barrier between him and the worldhis language. They could identify him by his language until he started using their language. Amen.
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