Here is a summary to learn from Jacob’s life. It is like the life of many people today. As a young man, it was time for Jacob to leave home…find a wife and make a life. He is not far when God comes to introduce Himself as the God of his grandparents and parents…and to offer Jacob to walk with Him. Jacob responds with a conditional promise to God that if He really does prosper and protect him, then he will make Him his God….and even give Him a tenth of his possessions. Let’s make a deal with God! Sound familiar?
Moving on, we see that Jacob does not consult God…but becomes self-sufficient…he lives by his own wants, by his own abilities, or in compromise with other people. He uses manipulation when it works. That is called humanism…man being god over himself or others…..dependence on the work of man. Jacob goes after the big “what I want”…his beloved wife and prosperity. We have to give him credit that he is skilled, a hard worker, and he respects Laban’s authority as head of household/tribe. Eventually, there is conflict and jealousy against him in the tribe. He sneaks away with his family and possessions. His beloved wife, Rachel, sneaks and steals the family idols…thinking they will bring prosperity. While this may appear good and successful from a worldly perspective, to God this is not walking in His ways with Him.
When Jacob had left home, his brother was so mad at him that he wanted to kill Jacob. So, approaching home and in fear of his brother, Jacob again turned to his own manipulation, compromise, good works, and good gifts…to appease his brother. In great despair and fear of death, Jacob prays and holds God to His promise to protect him and deliver him. All of a sudden God is important? Could this be an attempt to manipulate God for help? Typical today also, to give God no time or thought, until things get desperate and out of control.
That night Jacob wrestles alone with God. God tells Jacob that he should no longer be Jacob, the overpowering manipulator of his own destiny, but rather be Israel, someone who wrestles with God to overcome his own flesh. Jacob walks away from that encounter with a hip out of joint…much affecting the way he walks…and now needing help from God to do his work. Jacob still has a lot to learn…change is hard, takes time, repentance, diligence, an ear inclined to God. Jacob says he will change, but doesn’t.
Jacob ends up in a bigger and more desperate situation than the past one. His whole family is messed up and could all die! He finally turns to God with his whole heart, mind and strength. He sets up an altar to worship the God of Abraham and to keep it a continual visual reminder. He has all the idols of his household buried….and he and his family cleansed and purified. This place is called Bethel meaning the house of God. When we walk with God, we become the house of God. We are changed when His Spirit lives in us! This all happened at the first place God met Jacob and offered to walk with him. Think of all the trouble that could have been avoided if Jacob would have chosen to walk with God from the beginning.
Yet, God is merciful, gracious, and full of love…ready with open arms to receive us…even after messing everything up! After Jacob turns his heart and mind and allegiance to God, his beloved wife gives birth to Benjamin, meaning son of the right hand….In Bethlehem. This is prophetic and in God’s will as it points to His beloved Son Yeshua/Jesus on His right hand being born in Bethlehem through the descendants of Abraham! Amazing isn’t it!
Are you walking through life with God the Father, His Beloved Son Yeshua/Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? Really? Genuinely? If not, come home prodigal son and daughter…He is waiting with loving open arms!!!