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Jacob’s Love

June 25th, 2014

So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

Genesis 29:20

There is in these few words a picture of genuine love of a man for a woman. This is wholesome love, not unholy lust that misuses the term “love.” He loved her deeply and worked seven years for her. The rest of the story turns out not so good for all, because of Laban’s trickery Jacob ended up being married to Leah, the sister, and not Rachel. He had to work another seven years for Rachel, and then he entered into a polygamous relationship with both sisters being his wives, as well as having other children through their handmaids – whence the twelve tribes of Israel.

But consider this love in its purity, for sacrificial love is the highest thing a human can aspire to. First, his love was based largely on grace. He loved her because he was attracted to her, the mysterious feelings we have for some people, not for what she had done. Second, his love was redemptive, in nature, as all true love is, helping someone become something that they are not yet. Love does not demand that people be perfect before we love them, rather love lifts them up to help them become a better and a finer person. Third, his love cost him something, but the price seemed insignificant to him. True love does not lament the cost paid for another’s happiness and fulfillment. True love has the power to dismiss failures and not hold them over someone’s head. While we cannot condone polygamy, and the original creation of Adam and Eve clearly pictured husband and wife living in equality and in love – the two became one, and we cannot honor this scripture or the plan of God with several spouses, yet we can admire the love that Jacob had for Rachel.

As all true love does, it mirrors the love of Christ for us. Christ’s love is grace-based. He loves us because He does. The love of God for the world originates within His heart and not within our own worthiness. “While we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8), declares the scripture. Second, Christ’s love is redemptive. He lifts us from the dunghill of moral and spiritual defeat and places us in exalted positions. “God raised us up with Christ and sated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6-7). Third, His love cost Him something. Christ died for our sins and in heaven, though fully glorified, He is still seen in light of His wounds on our behalf.

No doubt young Rachel was encouraged about herself by the love of Jacob – a man who worked fourteen years for her. But a much greater One that Jacob loves you and me, Christ Jesus Himself, who loves us and gave Himself for us (Gal. 2:20). Let His love have the desired effect on your soul – see yourself as loved of God, for that is exactly what you are.

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The Lord Is in this Place

June 24th, 2014

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

Genesis 28:16

This little gem of Scripture teaches us a truth that we should always keep before us – God is with His people. Those who have trusted in Christ, who have heard His eternal call through the gospel to believe and receive Christ, have this reality in our lives from now on, as our Lord said, “Behold, I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Jacob, after his father Jacob’s death, fled from his brother Esau in fear of his life. His mother Rebekah sent him to her brother Laban, to live and to work, as a safe harbor. She was also, undoubtedly, so displeased with the choices of wives that Esau had made – he had married two Hittite women who were idol worshipers – that she also took comfort in the thought of Jacob, her favorite, finding a wife among her own people.

But these human inter-connections could not have supplied Jacob with the true peace and sense of calling that his soul required. God gave him a special revelation one night as he slept with his head upon a stone. The image was of a staircase or of a ladder between earth and heaven, and angels descending and ascending – coming and going – from heaven to earth. The Bible teaches us that angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Heb 1:14), so what could this mean other than that the angels were coming to this earth with a mission from God and returning to heaven to report to Him.

As with many things in Scripture, this image conveys an important thought and we should be careful not to limit its meaning to us by the impression given in some Renaissance painting we might have seen. “Ladders” and “staircases” are not the important matters, but rather the thought that God is active in this world.

God reaffirmed His call and purpose for Jacob: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac” (Gen. 28:13). In our hearts the Spirit also witnesses to us and He identifies Himself to us as our Savior, and as our Lord. He assures us of His love and presence, of the plans He has for us, and of the hope He has called us to. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, zealous for their spiritual progress, and assured them of God’s plan for them. He prayed that they “might know Him better” and that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you” (Eph. 1:17-18).

In your situation now, let the Lord speak to you through His Word and by His Spirit. Quiet your heart before Him and realize that He is in that place, that He is with you His child, and that He has a high purpose for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. You will never be alone. Let God assure you today of this truth.

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