Jacob tells his son Joseph to go and see how his brothers were doing, Joseph journeys to find his brothers, From Genesis 37:12-17 commented by ASV and questions

You are looked after

Joseph was young, only seventeen, but he was not afraid to set out for a journey from Kiriath-arba to Shechem a two to three days travel and back, looking for his brothers. Coming there, he didn’t find them, and roamed around looking for them. There a man found him and asked what he was looking for, “I am looking for my brothers. Please tell me where they are pasturing” this was most certainly from God, a man given the information or an angel; he said, “They have moved on from this place. I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan

An order to completion

God had given him dreams, Joseph believed in his God and knew that this help was from Him, and then he continued another two days travel towards Dothan further north. Joseph was compulsory and obedient, because here he had an opportunity to turn around and travel back to his father saying, “Sorry I didn’t find them”. Nevertheless, that was not in Joseph’s mind, his father gave him an assignment and Joseph was determined to complete it.

Questions

  1. Do you give up when struggle and obstacles come your way?
  2. Do you believe God is with you in every step you take?
  3. Is God’s way the easy way?

Jacob and his huge camp cleanses themselves, gets rid of all their false gods and moves to Betel, from Genesis 35:1-5 commented by ASV and questions

They feared Abraham’s God

Jacob and his camp tried to be different from all the other tribes that lived in Canaan, they intended to believed in only one God and tried to live differently, they were not accepted of the people around them; however, the Canaanites feared Abraham’s God, now the God of Jacob.

Distress and fear

Jacob and his camp were in distress and in terrible fear, as we can see in the outcry of Jacob after Simeon and Levi had killed all the male in the city of Shechem, “Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have ruined me, making me a stench to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites! My men are few in number, and the men of the land will band together against me and attack me; I shall be destroyed, I and my household

God filled his heart

Jacob saw the disaster coming, he was deeply depressed, and I think his heart was screaming out, God, YaHaWaH, where are you? When we are in trouble, to who or where to do we turn, what is in our heart? God filled the heart of Jacob, He occupied his inner thoughts and then God came and told him what to do, He said, “Go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from Esau your brother

He looked the other way

Bethel was not far from Shechem; however, it was about 330 meters higher. Even so, the surrounding tribes could easily pursue attack and destroy Jacob there. In fact, it was impossible for him to escape the Canaanites that populated the whole land. Jacob was not a strong leader, he was swaying with the wind, and he believed in his God, his camp however believed in several Gods, Jacob had for 20 years just looked the other way, instead of cleaning up and demand holiness in his camp.

Foreign gods, not false gods

Now he knew that God was present, and he gave the order he should have given many years ago, “Get rid of the foreign gods that are among you, and ceremonially purify yourselves and change clothes”. Jacob knew that YaHaWaH was the God that protected him, however, he believed that other gods existed too, only that his God was mightier than all the other gods were, and that YaHaWaH was able to protect his huge camp. May be Jacob earlier believed that he needed more than one God; he called them foreign gods, not false gods. Now however he decided to please his God and he took all the charms, all the idols from the people and buried them under an oak tree near Shechem.

Then God acted too

Then every man, woman and child in the whole camp had washed themselves and changed clothes, they left their idols and rings under an oak tree, they were clean and ready to walk with the God of Jacob, YaHaWaH. They all knew his name, and in their obedience, they were holy in front of God. Jacob and all his camp now left for Bethel up in the mountains, they did what God told them, they acted on the word of God and then God acted too. “As they journeyed, there was a great terror on the cities around them, and the Canaanites did not pursue the sons of Jacob” What we need is not to be smart or strong, we need Jesus, and not only in distress, but also in our everyday life we need Jesus to avoid distress and emergency situations.

Questions

  1. What fills your heart?
  2. How do thoughts creep into our heart?
  3. What is deciding our doings?
  4. Is TV your friend or enemy?
  5. Do we need news?

Jacob on his way to meet Esau from Genesis 32:1-6 commented by ASV and questions

Promised to kill him

Jacob with all his camp was now on the east side of the Jordan River on the hill area of Gilead in the land which we today call Jordan. He left “Jegar-sahadutha” that Laban called it or “Galeed” as Jacob called it, both names mean “a heap of witness”. Jacob was now on his way to face what he feared most, his brother Esau who had promised to kill him.

He sent angles

Jacob was in great distress and felt small and helpless, he within a few moments could lose all his family and all what he had obtained with Laban the last 20 years. Jacob considered all this, and it terrified him. The reason he didn’t return to Haran was that God had told him to go home. However, God watched Jacobs’s heart and knew he needed help and sent angles to comfort him.

Two groups

How many angles that met Jacob it is not said, could have been many and Jacob knew that God was there with him and called the place Mahanaim and said this is Gods camp. Mahanaim means two hosts, Jacob divided his camp into two groups, and he might have thought that each group could host the angles that were with him. Now with God’s angles to help him Jacob was ready to influence his brother. Jacob was after his father Isaac had blessed him, the legitimate heir of all that Isaac had, however, now Esau owned everything and was the chief in the area.

Convince Esau

What Jacob wanted to do was to convince Esau that he had enough of all, and all that Esau had was his, with no claim from his brother Jacob. Therefore, he sent messengers to Esau saying, “Your servant Jacob says this, “I have been living temporarily with Laban, and have stayed there until now; I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, so that I may find grace and kindness in your sight”. Jacob called Esau lord and himself servant to tell him that in the mind of Jacob he was the leader and Jacob the inferior.

Love is giving

Now Jacob had influenced Esau’s mind and then he wanted to show him his love by giving him gifts to assure him that Jacob wanted a peaceful relationship with him. Jacob had learned that the love of God is giving; God showed Jacob His love and gave him everything he now had.

John 3:16

We also should know that the love of God is giving, John 3:16, For God so loved and dearly prized the world, that He gave His only begotten Son

Yes, you can

If you love someone, you should give, not only on big occasions, but also in your daily life, every day. Make it your lifestyle to be like Jesus who gave his life for you. Are you serious? I cannot find something to give to everybody all the time. Yes, you can, you can give of your time showing interest, show that you care, and you can give a helping hand when you are busy with your own thing. Giving is putting someone else first and yourself behind. Giving is also giving God your time, consider and thank Him for what He is doing for you every day.

In big trouble?

And how did Jacob’s tactic work out, humanly it didn’t work at all, “The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him” Jacob was definitely in big trouble. He knew what God had told him to return home and that God’s angles were with him, however Jacob feared Esau, nevertheless, at the same time, He trusted God. Jacob as we, was swaying between God’s promise and what we can experience with our five senses, God is spirit and we are flesh, He is strong and steady, but we are weak and fickle.  

Questions

  1. Have you been in big trouble?
  2. How did Jacob trust God?
  3. Does God tell you to do something?

The deal between Laban and Jacob, a mound of stones from Genesis 31:43-55 and questions

The peace of God

In verse 43, the anger of Laban had faded, and I think that the peace of YaHaWaH had dawned on Laban, Jacob and all the people gathered around them. Laban said that everything was his, he didn’t mean that he owed everything, he just wanted to express that he was the source, that they all were his dear family. That Jacobs’s sons and daughter came from his daughters and their maids, former the maids of Laban, and that all the flocks of Jacob came from his flocks. I think at this moment the love of God governed Laban and he included Jacob and all his in his family, Laban wanted friendship.

To climb up and watch from there

Both Laban and Jacob wanted peace between them and made a deal not to harm each other, however, they didn’t trust one another to mutually keep the deal, they needed gods to vindicate it and protect it in the future. Therefor they heaped up a huge mound of stones for the gods to climb up there and from the top of the mound be able to watch over the covenant to be kept by both parties.

Three different gods

Laban trusted in several gods, but he also respected the God of Abraham, Jacob’s God as we can see in verse 49 were Laban calls God by his name YaHaWaH and asked Him to watch over both. In verse 53 however Laban calls on three different gods, first the God of Abraham, the god of Nahor, his grandfather and then on the god of Terah his great grandfather.

The Fear of Isaac

Nevertheless, Jacob didn’t accept these false gods, swore only by one God, the real God, and called Him “The Fear of Isaac”. Jacob knew his God by the way his father Isaac feared Him and now by the way God had vindicated him for 20 years in Haran and here protected him in the hill country of Gilead. Jacob knew that this God was holy, mighty and reliable. Wither he thought YaHaWaH was the only god I cannot say; however, Jacob had experienced that his God was superior to all the other gods if any.  

Questions

  1. How many gods do we have?
  2. How do you know, which god is your god?
  3. How can we know God?

God makes Jacob rich with flocks and herds, camels and slaves and whatever he needed, from Genesis 30:37-43 commented by ASV and questions

To know the hand of God in what’s going on

What Jacob is doing in these verses, humanly thinking seems stupid actually, and those branches he made wouldn’t have had any influence on the color of the offspring, of course not. So why did he do it, the answer is that he communicated with God and told Him that if the offspring is not white when mating at the sticks I know that You have answered me, for this is not possible.

He knew without doubt that God made him riche

God made Jacob rich, his flocks increased and he separated them from the white sheep and goats, which he pastured. His sons looked after his own flock. However Jacob’s flocks grew bigger and bigger, and when he needed more labor he just bought “slaves” in the “slave markets” in Haran. Jacob also prepared for his travel home and bought camels and donkeys.

Not many or much

What we can learn from what Jacob did here is that when we pray to God, additional to our prayer we also have to act “put our hand to something” God cannot bless what we don’t do. What we say is not too important; you don’t need to use many words, and not many people to pray for you.

First step

What is of much more importance is the condition of your heart; in your heart, your spirit and soul are located. First step is to change your spirit, throw your old away and install a new one; 2 Corinthians 5:17. Now you are ready to change, but in the physical, nothing has happened.

Second step

Second step is to change your lifestyle, from a life with the world, to a life with the Word. You have to conduct what is influencing your brain, your way of thinking. You have to turn off all the information from TV, from your friends, from the medics, all? Yes all because in the beginning you are not capable of selecting and filter the info being thrown at you.

Not want to, but need to

Then you need to open up for the Word to move your brain to think like God, you have to dig deep in the Bible, slowly, deep, and chronically, from the beginning to the end. After being baptized in water and in the Spirit you need to discipline your body with all your 5 senses, instead of saying I want, your saying should be; “I need to”

Expose the lie

 It is not hard work; in yourself, it is impossible; you need Jesus by The Holy spirit to help you, every day? Yes every day, shutting the doors, where the devil can slip in. He is slippery as a snake; however, The Holy Spirit will expose the lie and give you the truth.

Questions

  1. Do you have the new spirit in your heart?
  2. Do you understand that the Word is Jesus?
  3. Do you think your body is your friend?
  4. Do you need some of the Bible or the whole Bible?
  5. Do you need some of your body or the whole body?

Jacob had been 14 years with Laban, Laban tries to cheat Jacob again, the deal. From Genesis 30:25-36 commented by ASV and questions

No more dept. ready to bargain

Now Jacob had been with Laban for 14 years, he had labored for both Leah and Rachel, he bought Rachel on credit, and however, now she belonged to him, fully paid for. Jacob wanted to go home to Canaan to his family there. Laban however wanted him to stay and pasture his goats and sheep. Nevertheless, this time he had to give Jacob salary and asked Jacob what he wanted for the work.

Nothing

This deal between Laban and Jacob is not easy to understand, and Hebrew is not always easy to translate, however if we get the keywords it could be done. Jacob answered Laban, “You shall not give me anything. But if you will do this one thing for me I will again pasture and keep your flock:” This was the essence of the agreement; that Laban shouldn’t give Jacob anything, only agree and do what he proposed.

Greedy

Jacob wanted to separate all the not pure white goats and sheep and give them to Laban and that was what they did. Laban took all the speckled, spotted and dark among the sheep and goats and gave them to his sons. Laban left with Jacob only the pure white goats and sheep. For Jacob to earn salary those white goats and sheep had to produce “not white” offspring, Laban knew that this was impossible, he was a greedy human and the deal pleased him.

Hard work for nothing

Laban knew that Jacobs God was YaHaWaH and that this God blessed him because of Jacob, Laban believed in many gods, but those gods hadn’t blessed him as Jacob’s God did. Laban used God’s name, however he didn’t know Him, Laban was happy with the deal to give Jacob “nothing” for the hard work, as it was to pasture goats and sheep in all kinds of wetter. 

Timing

However, God had prepared Jacob for this deal; God had given him 4 wives, 11 sons, and one daughter, some of them old enough to help looking after the flocks. Jacob had been patient and understood God’s timing, the wives worked in the camp, looking after the small ones and made the food ready when Jacob and the boys came back from the field, everything was in good balance, and Jacob was prepared to receive from God.

Questions

  1. Are you ready to receive from God?
  2. Does the preparation of being ready take time?
  3. Do you detect what God is doing for you?
  4. When you ask God for help and He helps you, do you end up saying, “look I did it” or “we made it”?

Jacob talks to Rachel, Jacob kissed her, Laban runs to meet Jacob at the age of 120, from Genesis 29:12-14 commented by ASV and questions

She was exited, left her sheep, run to her father with this shocking news

Jacob told Rachel of him being Rebekah’s son and Rachel must have been shocked, she probably had heard a lot of her father’s sister that went south to marry someone in the family, and now her son was here talking to her, this was great and exiting news, and she left the sheep and run to tell her father.

Merchandise of 12 to 14

Rachel was just a girl, according to tradition at that time, girls married at the age of 12 to 14, and their fathers decided whom to marry and a part of this was how much they could gain for their daughters. Daughters were merchandise at that time and they had no say on the matter.

Shepherds in good shape at the age of 120

Laban, Rachel’s father became exited too, he had not heard from his sister in about 100 years and now her son was here to visit him, he run to meet him. These people were shepherds, they walked every day, looking after their animals and they, because of all the walking were healthy and strong. Laban must have been about 20 when Rebekah went to marry Isaac and that makes Laban about 120 when Jacob came to Haran.

Saving bills and trouble

Laban was 120 and run to meet Jacob, he was in good shape; we should walk a lot more than we do, saving medical bills and much trouble.

The blessing, ready to pay

Family meant a lot to the Terah descendants and they knew that the God of Abraham was strong and mighty, they knew His name YaHaWaH but had no understanding of Him being the only God, Laban worshipped several gods and the God of Abraham also, he said to Jacob, “You are my bone and my flesh.” Then Jacob worked for his uncle a month, Jacob did his best looking after his uncle’s sheep and he noticed how blessed he was in his work. Jacob came with nothing and could not pay Laban for Rachel to be his wife, but in his God, he saw a possibility. Laban also noticed the blessing over Jacob’s work and was ready to pay Jacob to stay longer.

Questions

  1. Do we understand the times of old, the times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?
  2. Did the world change when Jesus came down?
  3. Did the women benefit from the words of Jesus?
  4. How would you describe Laban?
  5. How would you describe the human nature?   

Jacob meets God in Bethel, the house of God, from Genesis 28:18-22 commented by ASV and Questions

Bethel

God can be everywhere, however it might be that Jacob didn’t knew that, and thought he had found God’s home on earth and called the place Bethel meaning the house of God, may be God was home when he returned here? Jacob sanctified the place by erecting the stone he used as a pillow and anointed it with oil. Jacob had nothing now, so everything he later had he believed God had given him and he promised to give tenth back to God of all he was given.

Pay back

God has given us all that we have, without him we don’t have it, even if it seems that we have, if praising him for it, all we have become a blessing to us. God had just told Jacob that He would protect him and bless him, however it seemed as Jacob needed to confirm it and made a deal with God, if God would give him what he needed and bring him back to his father’s house in safety, Jacob would pay Him back.

Preaching

Jesus is protecting his people, and the word should be preached for His people to extend and we need to pay to support the preaching of the Word, Jacob promised to God to pay for what he got, do we?

Questions

  • Is it possible to sense the presence of God?
  • Does Jesus by The Holy Spirit protect the world from all evil?
  • What will happen if The Holy Spirit leaves the earth?

Isaac blesses Jacob, Jacob leaves for Paddan Aram, Esau went to Ishmael, From Genesis 28:1-9 commented by ASV, and questions


A wakeup call

Now Isaac saw the big picture that Jacob was the one to carry the hope of his family to fulfill the promise God gave to his father. He called Jacob, blessed him, and told him to go to the house of Bethuel to find a wife there, one of the daughters of Laban, Rebekah’s brother.

The power of a blessing

Isaac was the only one of the sons of Abraham that could fulfill Gods promise of becoming a nation and nations, however, it seemed to be a long process, and now Jacob was only one to carry on the hope. However, the faith lived on and Isaac said, May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, so that you may become a company of peoples.” 

The Promised Land

Now Isaac was back on track, saw the fulfilling of the hope through the descendants of his son Jacob, and blessed him with God’s promise to inherit the land they had been sojourning in, the land promised to his grandfather Abraham.

The best environment

Jacob kissed his father and mother goodbye and left for Paddan-aram where the Bethuel family lived. It is easy and common to think that Jacob was a young man when he left, but he was actually 77. The blessing and all the words from his father Jacob kept in his heart, and he knew the name of God, but he had no personal relationship with Him. He now was on his own, and being on our own is very often the best environment to start a personal relationship with God.

Esau wanted to please his parents

Now Esau also wanted to please his parents and went to the Ishmael family to find more wives for himself. The difference between his way of doing it, was fulfilling the desire of his flesh, follow his own thinking contrary to seek the spirit of obedience. However Jacob listen to his mother who remembered the words given to her from God, she had first-hand information directly from God when she in her pain asked God why it is like this when you answered our prayer.

Patience and consistency

Rebekah had “a word” from God, she kept it in her heart and never forgot it and acted on it and Jacob obeyed her, the power of the word made it break through the obstacles of the devil. It is no difference today, if you have received a word from God, keep it, believe it and act on it, it is the most precious treasure you have, however, remember that patience and consistency makes it pay off. 

Questions

  • Do you see God’s plan for your life?
  • Do you have a daily relationship with God?
  • Do you feel an inner confirmation in your heart when seeking God?    

Jacob cons his father, and Isaac blesses his younger son, from Genesis 27:1-29 commented by ASV

Of the flesh

Isaac was now blind and he felt old and close to dying. It now was time to give Esau his blessing as the first borne. Isaac believed in his God, however he was very much a man of the flesh, of his five senses. He called Esau and told him to go hunting and make him a tasty meal so Isaac could feel good and then bless him.

The witness

Esau went hunting to get his blessing; he didn’t bother to mention that he had sold his birthright to Jacob, and that the blessing did not belong to him anymore. It was no problem to Esau, because this deal with Jacob had no witnesses, however, Esau forgot about God, God sees and hears everything that goes on.

Crafty

Rebekah heard it when Isaac talked to Esau, and she knew what to do because God had told her that the older should serve the younger. I believe that she had learned to be crafty when she grew up alongside of Laban her brother. Rebekah called Jacob and told him what to do to con his father to gain his blessing as the rightfully firstborn.

The Holy Spirit

Jacob went to his father disguised, and said he was Esau, but Isaac doubted, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” And later he asked, “Are you really my son Esau?” Isaac didn’t know what to believe, but The Holy Spirit must have been there too, and convinced Isaac that this son of his was the first borne, entitled to his blessing. 

Blessing and curse

Isaac blessed Jacob, not just for Jacob, but most important for his descendants, Jacob was the son of promise and his blind father said,

Now may God give you of the dew of heaven
And of the fatness of the earth,
And an abundance of grain and new wine;

29 May peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you;
Be lord and master over your brothers,
And may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed,
And may those who bless you be blessed.”

Questions

  1. How would you describe Rebekah’s personality?
  2. Who in this small family had faith in God?
  3. Where does the blessing come from?