HOLDING ON All his life Jacob had had to hold onto & grab whatever he could get, because otherwise he would have remained empty-handed…
His father Isaac doesn’t seem to have made any plans to bless Jacob, that is why he had no blessing to give Esau. Isaac blessed Jacob, but actually gave Jacob nothing. Jacob walked out with a staff in his hand.
When he walked out of his father’s house, he had no real knowledge of God beyond what he had heard from his parents. But there in the wilderness, God sought him out and revealed Himself to Jacob. Through the 20 years Jacob had learnt to hear God’s voice, trust Him and obey Him. Gen 31:6-12
But, he still saw God as the fear of his father Isaac. Gen 31:53 Till, on the night as he prepared to meet Esau, he was left alone on the banks of the Jordan, and he sat down to think over the 20 years.
At that point he saw that people rejected, abused and exploited him, BUT GOD had never broken a promise. GOD had never left him. GOD had been faithful to him. GOD had blessed him. He understands the LOVINGKINDNESS of God and reaches out for help. Gen 32:10
Then he encountered a stranger who dislocated Jacob’s thigh with ease at the end of an all-night wrestling match. Something in this wrestling match makes Jacob feel sure that this person does not want to kill him. Unable to stand, but with whatever strength he had, Jacob holds on and asks to know the wrestler’s name & asks for a blessing… The 2 fathers in his life – Isaac & Laban had never willingly given Jacob anything… Quite a heart-breaking moment …
All of Jacob’s life, his name reminded him that he was born holding onto Esau. God blesses Jacob with a New Beginning, a New Identity, a New Purpose… Out of the brokenness of Jacob, the ‘heel’, the ‘grabber’, he rises as Israel, “a prince who prevails with God”.
Now, instead of holding onto people & possessions, Jacob would be one who held onto God. In God’s hands, the label of ‘Grabbing /Grasping’ that had been stuck on Jacob, was redeemed, and was seen to be the virtue of “tenacity of purpose, perseverance, faithfulness.”
✝The Good News of the Gospel is that as we hold onto the heel of Jesus our older brother, we are born out of Adam’s Race into the fullness of life as God’s sons.
✝In Rev 3:11 Jesus tells the Church of Little Strength to continue to hold fast to what they have. What do they have? His Word & His Name. [Rev 3:8b]
✝Jesus told us to abide (hold fast) to His love, and love others the way He loves us. As we cling to Jesus in our weakness, He supplies what we need to transform our weakness into virtue. Day by day He works in us to transform us so that our characters are changed to become more like His…
❣Isaac blessed Jacob but sent him away empty-handed. God on the other hand, picks us up as spiritual paupers, makes us part of His family, asks us to make our home in His love, blesses us, prepares an inheritance for us… for ALL eternity. _[Rf Eph 1:3-14]
Abba Father, thank You for redeeming us, cleansing us, renaming us and giving us a hope & a future. Thank You Father, that You do not give us ‘hollow’ blessings, but that You bless us with the fullness of love in Your heart. Thank You for new beginnings, new names and new life that we have received through Christ. Help us to cling to our Saviour and grow deeply rooted & grounded in Your love. In Jesus Name. Amen
Genesis Chapter 34
Do not cross the boundary
Jacob and his family had settled down in Shechem - a pagan city ( Gen 33:18-19) . Dinah's ( who must be 12-14 years) visit to the Canaanite women ( v 1) had brought disgrace upon her and her family. Her beauty had attracted the attention of Shechem , who took her and raped her @ A serious crime-- A minor girl lured , raped and abducted .
Jacob's sons were shocked and furious ( v 7-8) and they devised a plan to take revenge ( v 13-17) .
All these episodes had cropped up because Dinah had crossed the boundary of her dwelling place
Today , we are accustomed with a number of social evils and crimes because we have crossed the boundary of morality , decency and social values.
The Israelites have sinned because they have crossed beyond the boundary of God's Commandments
The proposal of circumcision addressed to the Shechemites by Jacob's sons and the willingness to go for it by the Shechemites was supercial and out of selfish ambitions ( v 13-24). Circumcision was the mark of the Covenant between the Lord and Abraham and his descendants.
To me the episodes of circumcision to a non Jews in today's passage seems to be a mark of forceful conversion to Judaism. We the Indians are aware of this allegations of Religious Conversion and it's consequences .
Dear in Christ, let us not cross the boundary of the gospel of Jesus Christ ( Mat 28:19-20) and to lure the people on account of Education and Material benefits.
Dinah had crossed the boundary of her dwelling place
Shechem had crossed the boundary of his lust
Jacob's sons had crossed the boundary of anger and revenge
Shechemites had crossed the boundary of greediness
May the good Lord gives us wisdom and the strength to stand firm in faith , and help us not to cross the boundary of His Statutes.
Glory to God
Mark Boje, ArP
Jacob became very prosperous in Laban's house with many flocks, servants, camels and donkeys.
Seeing this Laban's attitude towards Jacob changed. So Jacob decided to flee from Laban without telling him. Laban pursued Jacob but that meeting only ended in peace.
Next with great fear and distress he prepared to meet Esau his brother whom he had deceived 20 years ago. He thought Esau in rage will come and attack him and his belongings.
Jacob prayed to God and thanked him for his faithfulness and kindness to him and asked God to save him from the hand of his brother Esau.
First he sent his servants with a gift of many animals to pacify Esau. They told him that his brother Jacob was following them.
One night Jacob was all alone after he had sent all his belongings across the stream. That night he wrestled with God and God changed his name from Jacob to Israel.
Jacob then lifted his eyes and saw his brother coming. With great fear he bowed seven times and approached his brother.
Esau had no grudge. He ran, embraced his brother Jacob, kissed him and both wept. Esau had forgiven Jacob for deceiving him.
Jacob insisted that he should accept his gifts. Esau forgave Jacob for stealing his Birth right and Covenant blessings. They were RECONCILED.
Self check for the day
Do I have any grudge or bitterness against any one?
With the grace of God given to me am I willing to forgive and embrace those who have deceived me
True Reconciliation brings PEACE that passes all UNDERSTANDING.
Mrs Caroline Chellappa
Reflections... *Food from my Kitchen Table
Take a Break with Jesus☕
Ben-Oni to Benjamin after the second Bethel Experience..... Genesis 35:18.
✒Jacob returns to Bethel the place where he had a God encounter on his way to Laban's home, Genesis 28:17. The Stone he rested on for the night became the Pillar.
✒He Returns to Bethel a Second Time after God speaks to him in Genesis 35:1, after God's Promises were Fulfilled just as He said, in his Dreams, in Genesis 28:12-16. In Genesis35:3, Jacob gives the reason why he would build an Altar. It was the place where God answered his prayers in distress.
✒In First Visit, The Stone Pillow became the Pillar. On his Second Visit, the Pillar became the Altar. The Stone Pillow became the Foundation for the Pillar, The Pillar becomes the Solid Structure for the Altar. The Stone became a Pillar and the Pillar became the Altar.
✒God will take us through a Process from using a Stone he gives, to get us to the Place where we Build Our Altars, so that We can become the Living Sacrifices, Romans 12:2
✒God will not Bypass the Process to get us to our Destination.
He will ask us to Lay our heads on Tough Stones to make us Tough to Lay on the Fiery Altar as We Grow from Faith to Faith, Strength to Strength and Glory to Glory.
✒It is the Hallmark of Christian Maturity when we can become Living Sacrifices on the Altar God has asked us to Build. It can be anywhere, anyplace where He has Planted US...From the Comfort of our Kitchen to the Market Places, to the Mission Fields and Combat Zones.
✒After building the Altar Jacob buries three people, Deborah the Nurse, Genesis 35:8, Rachel his beloved wife, Genesis 35:19, and his Mentor Father Isaac, Genesis 35:29.
His Worship was followed by Three Funerals. God will always empower us to face different kinds of dilemmas in life.
✒Jacob once a deciever by nature changes the destiny of his newborn son by renaming his son Benjamin from the child's original name Ben-Oni.
✒Rachel went into labor as Jacob’s family was moving and was traveling along rough roads. She developed complications during labour and she was dying.
Fortunately, she gave birth and it was a son. Her midwife said, that was another son, and she should have been very happy.
But Rachel began to think....
“I did have a son, but I am dying now. How sad he will be without his mother! How painful it will be!”
When she thought of her son’s future, it was so miserable so she named her son “Benoni" meaning, son of sadness, son of sorrow or son of my struggle and pain, and she died.
✒Jacob saw all of this taking place. Rachel thought after her death it would be the end of everything for her son. It will be a life full of sadness and pain.
However, in Jacob’s heart was God. God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give them many children like the stars in the sky and the sands of the sea. Therefore, this son was also part of the process of this promise becoming fulfilled, Genesis 35:11-12.
“If so, then how is he a son of sadness? There are times of sadness and pain in life, but this child is not Benoni.”
Jacob changed the child’s name to “Benjamin meaning the son of my right hand” From then on "the son of sadness" changed into the “son of my strength”
Had the name of the son of sadness remained as Rachel had given, that child would have always carried that title of sadness in his name as self prophecy.
✒Imagine the stigma of a name with negative energy. You are what you think. Proverbs 23:7.
Growing up without a mother is bad enough but to be reminded that he was the cause of it is even worse. Benjamin was the only Child to be born in the Promised Land. Out of the Tribe of Benjamin came the Greatest Apostle of the New Testament Saul who was Paul.
✒After a Bethel Experience A Benjamin is Born! House of God's Presence and The Right Hand of God is what we need. Turn every tough stone into an altar so that Bethel Experience will be a Reality for the Benjamin Generation, the Children of the Promised Land in Christ Jesus....Amen
What is your name?
*32:37 God asked his name and he said Jacob*
Does it mean God is not aware of his name?
God delights when a man understands and confess his true state.
Jacob means cheater, deceiver, trickster......
God blessed them when they confessed their true state:
David said I am as a dead dog, a worm
Isaiah said I am a man of unclean lips
St Paul said I am a wretched man
St Peter said I am a sinful man
What do you say about yourself?
What made Jacob to understand his true state?
32:24 Jacob was left alone.
That speaks about the prayer life. Before Jacob confessed his true state he had the experience of prayer.
No one can understand his mistakes unless he is left alone that is unless he has the spirit of prayer.
Beloved God is asking you today, what is your name?
Let's confess our true state unto God privately before He rebukes us publicly.