Thursday, August 31, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 14

Just because your parents are doing right, doesn't mean you will. And just because you know about God doesn't mean you'll act like a Christian. Each of us need to have our own walk with the Lord!
Jacob worshipped God and tried to do right, but his sons were some pretty rotten boys!
His oldest son, Reuben was horrible! He was acting like he was married to the servants when he wasn't!
Remember Dinah, Jacob's daughter? Well, she wanted to hang out with the other young girls in Caanan. She went into the city and got into trouble! She got with this guy whom she shouldn't be with and then he wanted to marry her.
Jacob's sons said that if they followed all their traditions that he could marry their sister. Do you think that was a good suggestion? But, these boys were just as deceitful as Jacob was when he was young!
Genesis 34:25- And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
Jacob's 2 sons were murderers! They killed all the men! And they weren't sorry for it!
Judah got into a lot of trouble and ended up with twins!
But their wickedness wasn't just on those around them!
Genesis 37:1-2- And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.  These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
These wicked brothers didn't like being told on. And Jacob made it even worse because he treated Joseph differently than the others.
Genesis 37:3-4- Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
Oh, that's not good! Jacob knew how bad his sons could be! I wonder if he ever thought they'd be evil to their own family?
Joseph was different from the other boys. Not just because of how Jacob treated him, but because God had something very special in mind for him.
Genesis 37:5-7- And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:  For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
We may wonder what this means, but his brothers knew what it meant!
Genesis 37:8- And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
They knew it meant that Joseph would rule over them. Perhaps they thought because he was their father's favorite that he would become leader of the house of Israel. Whatever they thought, they hated him even more because of it!
Genesis 37:9-10- And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.  And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
Jacob didn't understand the dreams either. Fathers don't normally bow to their sons. Jacob thought he had to rebuke Joseph for wrong. But the brother....
Genesis 37:11- And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
They hated him and envied him! And they were about to do something so wicked!
Genesis 37:12-14- And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem.  And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.  And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
Jacob's sons were out with the flocks. When you have sheep and goats you have to move them to where the food is because they eat up all the grass! So, Jacob sent Joseph to find his brothers and make sure everything was okay.
Genesis 37:15-17- And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.  And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
Joseph had to search to find them, but he finally saw where they were and went to meet them. But they weren't happy about it!
Genesis 37:18-20- And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.  And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.  Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
Woah! They hated him so much that they wanted to kill him!
Genesis 37:21-22- And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
Reuben knew that his father knew about his sin! Perhaps he was hoping that saving Joseph would keep his father from punishing him?
Genesis 37:23-24- And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
God's chosen people were not starting out too well- lies, deception, mass murder, sibling rivalry. It seems that all Abraham had tried to teach had been forgotten in just a few generations.
Fortunately for them, God doesn't forget.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 13

Genesis 35:1- And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
God tells Jacob exactly where he wants him to be. And Jacob has learned to listen to God.
Genesis 35:2- -3- Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.
Somewhere along the way, Jacob found out that there were some in his family that didn't worship God. He was going o obey God. He made an altar and promised that God would be the only one he would worship, and he was expecting that from his family!
Genesis 35:4-And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
Jacob's family obeyed his command, and Jacob buried the idols to make sure that no one would worship them.
Genesis 35:5-7- And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.  So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.  And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
Bethel was where Jacob saw the ladder with the angels going up and down. Do you remember that? Jacob has now come full circle! He left with just his staff, and he came back with so much more. God had kept the promise that was made to Jacob so long ago!
Genesis 35:9-13- And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.  And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.  And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;  And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.  And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.
God told Jacob again that his name was now Israel. And He gave Jacob the same promise that He had given to Abraham and to Isaac.
Genesis 35:14-15- And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.
Jacob knew what to do. He gave God thanks!
But now, something was going to happen that wouldn't be so nice!
Perhaps it was because God knew that Rachel wouldn't really stop serving idols. Or perhaps it was because now that Jacob was doing God's will he had to give up his will. I'm not sure why, but God knows!
Genesis 35:16-17- And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
You see, Rachel had a baby in her belly. And she was getting ready for that baby to be born. But something was wrong!
Genesis 35:18-19- And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.  And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
We don't know for sure why God took Rachel from Jacob. But we do know that God loved Jacob. We know that God wasn't being mean to Jacob.
When trouble comes our way, we need to remember that God isn't being mean to us. He still loves us. And we can still do God's will even through the hard times.
Genesis 35:20- And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.
God wasn't finished with Jacob. He had a new name. He had a new son. And now, the 12 tribes of Israel were started.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 12

Jacob got a new name- Israel, prince of God. Does that mean that Jacob was no longer afraid? Nope. Just because we get saved doesn't mean we never fear or never sin.
Remember, Esau said that he would kill Jacob, and now he's on his way with 400 men!
Genesis 33:1-3- And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.  And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
I bet Jacob was sweating! It was probably hard to breathe and his heart was pounding ever so loudly! What would Esau do?
Genesis 33:4- And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.
By this response, Jacob knew that Esau had forgiven him. He knew that his family was safe and he could now come home without fear!
Genesis 33:5-7- And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.
After Esau met everyone, he had a question for Jacob.
Genesis 33:8-11- And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord. And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.  And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.
Now that everything was settled, Esau wanted to help Jacob get home quickly!
Genesis 33:12-16- And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee. And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir. And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord.  So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.
Esau offered to help Jacob make the journey. He also offered to leave men to help Jacob on his way. But Jacob refused. Maybe he didn't trust Esau, or perhaps he had learned to trust God!
Genesis 33:17-20- And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.  And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.  And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.
Jacob finally was back where God wanted him to be. He bought some land to build an altar to God. First, we see that Jacob realized that worshipping God was going to cost him something. He bought the field before he offered the sacrifice. Next, we see that Jacob knew who he should thank for everything that went right in his life!
Elelohe-Israel means the God of Israel. Jacob is accepting his new name and is proclaiming that God is his God.

Monday, August 28, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 11

Jacob has just got done with Laban. They made a promise that they wouldn't go to war with each other. But Jacob has one more thing he has to take care of.
When Jacob left 20 years earlier for Syria, it was because he stole the blessing from his brother and his brother wanted to kill him! Remember? Well, Esau was still alive!
Genesis 32:3-5- And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:  And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.
Jacob was hoping that Esau wouldn't be mad any more after all these years.
Genesis 32:6- And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
Esau was bringing 400 men! What do you suppose he was bringing them for? What do you think Jacob thought?
Genesis 32:7-8- Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.
Jacob  was scared! He divided his family into two groups and thought that if war broke out maybe one group would escape.
When we are scared, or worried, what do you think we should do? We should pray!
Genesis 32:9-12- And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.  Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.  And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
Jacob thanked God for the blessings that he had already given him. He told God exactly what he was afraid of, and he reminded God of the promises that God had made to him.
When we pray, it's a good thing to do the same. Thank God, tell him what's wrong, and remind him of the promises in His Word!
Does God forget His promises? Nope! But, it's nice to remind ourselves about His promises!
Genesis 32:13-18- And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;  Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,  Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.  And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove. And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?   Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.
Oh, Jacob! He's trying to manipulate the circumstances again! He thinks that sending presents to his brother will make everything better. The biggest problem Jacob has is that he doesn't really trust God.
Genesis 32:22-23- And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.
Jacob sent everyone over the brook and then he had some alone time with God.
Genesis 32:24-26- And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.  And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.  And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
Jacob is wrestling with an angel. And he won't let the angel leave until he gets a blessing from God. The angel even handicapped him!
Genesis 32:27- And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
God always takes us back to where we first disobey him. Jacob knew he was sinning when we went in to steal the blessing. That's why Esau was after him. His dad asked him who he was, and he lied.
Now, this angel wants him to get right what he did wrong all those years ago! What is your name? And Jacob tells the truth!
I think if Jacob had lied that he wouldn't have gotten the blessing that this angel had for him. How many times do we miss out on blessings from God because we don't want to admit we were wrong and get the thing right?
Genesis 32:28- And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
Jacob gets a new name! Jacob means supplanter or deceiver. But God blesses him with a new name- Israel which means Prince of God.
What a blessing! Now when people ask he doesn't have to say my name is deceiver, he can say my name is prince of God!
Genesis 32:29- And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
Jacob wants to know the angel's name. The angel wanted him to realize that wasn't the important part. The important thing was that Jacob had been blessed!
Genesis 32:30-32- And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.  Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 10

Jacob had been trying to manipulate the herds and flocks to get what he wanted. But in the background, God was blessing Jacob so that he had grown in flocks and herds and riches.
But, Jacob's riches took away from Laban's riches, and Laban and his sons didn't like that!
Genesis 31:1-2- And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
Jacob knew that he didn't want to be around someone who was angry at him. What was Laban capable of? What were his sons capable of? What do you think Jacob was going to do?
Genesis 31:3- And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
God has told Jacob that he needed to go back to Canaan. He was to go to Syria to find a wife and wait for Esau's anger to go away. He was never meant to live there.
Genesis 31:4-7- And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 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. 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.
Here, we see what kind of man Laban was. Laban would change what he promised to pay Jacob just so it would make him rich! He didn't care about Jacob, and it seems he didn't care what his daughters had either. It only mattered to him what he had!
Genesis 31:8-9- If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.  Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.  
So, Laban changed his mind 10 different times about what Jacob's paycheck should be. But, each time, God made sure that Jacob got the blessing! That made Laban mad!
Genesis 31:11-13- And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.  And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.  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.
We don't know how much Rachel and Leah knew about the God of Heaven. But, I'm sure that this wasn't the first time that Jacob had mentioned Him to his wives. He was telling his wives that God wanted him to leave their father and go back to Canaan.
Genesis 31:14-16- And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's 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 children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
You know what? These ladies saw how their father treated their husband, and they noticed that he treated them differently, too. They were ready to leave their land behind and travel to Canaan with their husband.
Genesis 31:17-18- 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.
So, Jacob packed everything up and left for Canaan.
But, something he didn't expect happened. You remember when he was tricked into marrying Leah instead of Rachel? God had a reason for giving Jacob Leah. It wasn't just because he had tricked his father.
Genesis 31:19- And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.
Laban didn't worship the God of Heaven that Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham worshipped. Laban worshipped false gods and idols. And Rachel also worshipped them. She stole them from her father as they were leaving.
Why? When she knew that Jacob talked to and was blessed by the God of heaven?
You see, in her heart, Rachel didn't love God. She was selfish and wanted her way. And God didn't want that in Jacob's life! That's why He had given him Leah to marry. But, Jacob was going to have to learn the hard way what God's will for his life was.
Genesis 31:20-23- 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.  And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.
Uh oh! Laban was very mad! He gathered together an army and came after Jacob! What do you think he was planning to do?
Genesis 31:24- 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.
I don't what he was planning to do, but he forgot one thing- God was protecting Jacob! God came to Laban in a dream and told him not to harm Jacob.
Each time we step out in faith and obey God, we are protected by God. But, when we do things our way, we have to suffer the consequences of those actions- many times that means we lose the protection of God on our lives!
Genesis 31:25-30 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?  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?  And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. 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.  And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
Laban tells Jacob that he would have given him a going away party. But, you know what? Laban is a liar! He changed Jacob's paycheck ten times! And he only wanted to keep what riches Jacob had. He is going to use the stolen idols as an excuse.
Genesis 31:31-32- 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 knew that Laban was lying. He knew that Laban would have taken everything he had and sent him away with nothing! But, what Jacob didn't know was that Rachel was a thief and a liar as well!
Jacob told Laban he could kill whoever stole from him!
Genesis 31:33-35- 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. And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent. 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.
So, Laban goes searching through everybody's tent to find his idols. But, Rachel is sneaky! Not only is she a good liar and thief, but she knows how to hide things so they won't be found.
She hides the idols in her furniture and then sits on them and makes an excuse why she can't get up! And Laban believes her because she's such a good liar!
Do you think that God wanted Jacob to marry a liar and a thief? Do you see now why God wanted Jacob to marry Leah, instead? This isn't the last time Jacob is going to have trouble because he married the woman he wanted to instead of obeying God!
Genesis 31:36-37- And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? 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 has served Laban for 20 years now and he hasn't said anything back to Laban. But now! He's going to let Laban know that he knew all along that Laban was a no good cheat!
Genesis 31:38-42- 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. Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.  Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
Jacob was tired of keeping it all in! In front of all the men that Laban brought with him, Jacob told Laban off!
He had kept Laban's goods and made sure that he replaced anything that got messed up. He accepted the paycheck Laban gave him even when it wasn't what he was promised, and even when Laban changed it on him. He had been honorable when Laban hadn't!
And he knew that Laban would have kept everything for himself!
Genesis 31:43-44- And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?   Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
So, Laban admits that he believes all Jacob's stuff belongs to him. If God hadn't of showed up, he would have taken all this stuff away!
But now, he wants to make a covenant with Jacob. He wants a promise made because he knows that Jacob will keep his word.
Genesis 31:45-46, 48-49- 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 said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;  And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
So, they made a pillar, ate dinner, and started naming stuff again! Wow! They sure do name everything!
What was the promise that Laban wanted?
Genesis 31:50-53- If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.
Jacob promised that he wouldn't marry any other women. And they both promised that they wouldn't go to war with each other.
Genesis 31:54-55- Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.  And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
So, they made a promise and Laban let Jacob go. But, there was one more thing that Jacob was going to have to deal with. Do you know what it is?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 9

Genesis 30:25-26- And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.  Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.
Jacob went to talk with Laban and asked him to let him go home. He had four wives, eleven sons, and one daughter. He missed his father and mother and wanted to go see them.
Genesis 30:27-33- And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?  And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock:   I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.
Laban didn't want Jacob to go. He saw how God blessed him because of Jacob being there. Remember, that God promised Jacob that He would bless him? Well, God never changes his promises. Even though Jacob was being deceitful and trying to make deals to get what he wanted, God was still keeping his promise to bless him, and Laban wanted to keep getting those blessings!
So, Jacob and Laban come to an agreement that Jacob would work for Laban and for his paycheck he would get goats and sheep.
Genesis 30:34-36- And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.  And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
So, Jacob separated out the goats and the sheep which he knew Laban considered less desirable. These were what he would work for. He took his sons that were old enough to take care of the sheep and the goats and had them start taking care of these. Then he made sure there were three days between him and Laban. Why?
Genesis 30:37-42- And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.  And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.  And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle.  And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.  But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
Silly Jacob! He thought that he could use deceit to make the cattle conceive in his favor. Do you think he actually made those goats and sheep have less favorable babies so that he could get richer?
Nope! God is the one who makes things how He wants them. He makes people with the kind of hair color and eye color He wants them to have. And He makes animals look the way He wants them to look.
Genesis 30:43- And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
God was going to bless Jacob and keep His promise in spite of Jacob's actions. Why? Because God never breaks His promises!

Friday, August 25, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 8

Jacob now has two wives. One wife he wanted and worked for fourteen years to get. The other one he was tricked into marrying and he didn't want her.
God sees everything, and he knows what's best for us. We should ask him to show us His will for our lives and then do what He tells us. But, Jacob was going to have to find this out the hard way!
Genesis 29:31-35-  And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.  And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
Poor Leah! She knew that Jacob didn't love her. She knew that Jacob didn't want to be married to her. But God knew that she was the one Jacob needed to be married to. So, God gave Jacob children thru Leah. Leah had four boys! But, Rachel didn't have any children, and this made her very mad!
Genesis 30:1-2- And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
Rachel was so upset that she decided to get children another way! This is another reason that God didn't want Jacob to marry Rachel. Instead of going to God and asking for his help, or trusting that God knew best, Rachel did things her way.
Genesis 30:3- And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.
Oh dear! Rachel wanted Jacob to marry her servant so that she could have children that way. Do you remember someone else who suggested that? That's right! Sarah wanted to have children that way. Was that what God wanted?
Genesis 30:4-8- And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.  And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.  And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.
Wow! Jacob now had three wives and six sons. Do you think he was happy with that? I don't know. But, the ladies were now about to start getting crazy!
Genesis 30:9-13- When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.  And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son.  And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.  And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
What in the world is wrong with these women?!?! Jacob now has four wives and eight sons! When was it going to end? And why does Jacob keep telling his wives okay when he knows that's how Abraham got Ishmael and that Ishmael was sent away because he wasn't what God wanted for Jacob!
Genesis 30:14-15- And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes.
Oh boy! Now the women are bargaining for Jacob like he was a piece of fruit! I'll give you this if you give me Jacob.
Genesis 30:16- And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
It seems like Jacob just didn't want to argue. He did whatever his wives wanted to make them happy! Is this what God wants? No. God wants a man who will do God's will for his life no matter who says otherwise. God doesn't want a man who would disobey God just to make his wife happy!
Genesis 30:17-21- And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.  And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.  And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.  And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.  And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
Wow! Leah now has six sons and one daughter. Her servant has two sons, and Rachel's servant has two sons. So, Jacob now has ten sons and one daughter and four wives! But what about Rachel?
Genesis 30:22-24- And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.  And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
Lets add one more son to those numbers. Jacob has now been with Laban a very long time! He got there with nothing but the clothes on his back and now he had a large family! But, Jacob was missing his home.
Genesis 30:25-26- And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.  Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.
Jacob went to talk with Laban and asked him to let him go home. But what would Laban say?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 7

Jacob has fled from his family because his deceit has caused his brother, Esau, to want to kill him! He is going to Padan-aram to his mother's family.
Genesis 29:1-1-5- Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.  And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place.  And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
We don't know how long it took Jacob to get there. In those days, everyone walked or rode on camels or horses to get where they were going. But, Jacob finally arrived and he knew he was there because the people at the well knew his uncle.
Genesis 29:6-8- And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.  And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.  And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.
As Jacob was asking the people of his uncle, his cousin came out with her father's sheep. And the people were explaining that they would gather around the well and wait for everyone to get there, then they would remove the covering from the top of the well and water the flocks.
This covering was probably a very heavy stone top. It was meant to be a little hard to move so that debris and people wouldn't fall into the well.
Genesis 29:9-10- And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them.  And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
When Jacob saw Rachel, something in him made him want to help out. Probably because she was so beautiful that he had to show off how hard a worker he was. Or perhaps, he knew he was going to need a job while he was there and he wanted to show his skills. We don't know why exactly, but he certainly made an impression.
Genesis 29:11-14- And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.  And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father. And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.  And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
Rachel ran to tell her father about this stranger who claimed to be part of their family. Laban ran out to meet this boy. It had been years since he had seen his sister, and we don't know if he had heard how she was doing or anything like that. So he was really excited to get to know this stranger.
Laban brought Jacob to his house and asked him all about his family. After this conversation, Laban is convinced that Jacob is his sister's son. And Jacob moves in with Laban and his family.
Genesis 29:15- And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?
Jacob has now lived with Laban for a month and has been working for him. Laban realizes that he should probably be paying Jacob for his services. So, he asks Jacob what he would like for a paycheck.
Genesis 29:16-18- And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
Jacob had been around Rachel for only a month, but he was convinced that he loved her and she was the one for him! He makes a deal with Laban that he would serve for seven years and get a wife as a paycheck. The only problem is that Jacob never asked God what he should do. Jacob was acting like Esau and thinking only about what he wanted.
Genesis 29:19-21- And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.  And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
Jacob served Laban for seven years. Not once in those seven years do we see anything about him talking with God or asking God what to do. It seems that Jacob has forgotten what was really important. Do you think God forgot?
Genesis 29:22-25- And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.  And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.  And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
Uh oh! Jacob was mad! He had worked for seven years for Rachel, and yet when he woke up to see his beloved wife in the morning, it was actually her sister! Well, Jacob went to Laban all in a huff!
Genesis 29:26-27- And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.  Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
Laban tells Jacob that he couldn't marry Rachel until Leah had been married because that was the custom in their country. So, Jacob makes another deal to work for seven more years and get Rachel for a wife also.
Again, we see that Jacob doesn't ask God, he just goes about trying to get what he wanted.
You see, God hadn't forgotten Jacob's deceit. Remember that Jacob deceived his father when he couldn't see? Well, Laban waited until it was really dark at night to switch things on Jacob. God made sure that Jacob paid for his sin of deceit.
But that wasn't all. God didn't want Jacob to marry Rachel. God wanted Jacob to marry Leah. Leah was the one who would be the good wife. Leah was the one who would believe in God and serve him. But Jacob didn't care. Jacob wanted his own way and not God's way.
Genesis 29:28-30- And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.  And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.  And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
Now, Jacob has two wives. God never intended for a man to have more than one wife. Jacob was out of God's will! But Jacob didn't care because he had what he wanted.
But we can't do our will and have our way without paying the price. Jacob was going to find out that not asking God and making deals to get what he wanted was going to cost him a whole lot more than he wanted to pay!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 6

We already learned that Jacob stole the blessing from his brother, and his brother was now planning on murdering him because of it! Rebekah didn't want this to happen so she went to Isaac.
Genesis 27:46- And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
Rebekah not only wanted to save Jacob's life, but she also wanted him to find a wife that loved the Lord and would serve Him. Isaac agreed with this decision.
Genesis 28:1-5- And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.  Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother.  And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;  And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.  And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.
So, Isaac sends Jacob away to get a wife from Syria. But, Esau hears about this and he is mad! I guess Esau thinks that Isaac should punish Jacob for being deceitful.
Genesis 28:6-9- When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;  And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram; And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;  Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.
Esau is so mad that he takes one of Ishmael's daughter to be his wife! Remember, Ishmael was sent away because he wasn't promised from God. Again, Esau is doing what Esau wants to do without asking God what he should do.
Jacob, on the other hand, obeyed his father's command. God takes notice of everything in our lives- our deceit, our obedience, and even our desires. God can see that Jacob desires the important things.
Genesis 28:10-15- And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.  And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;  And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
This is the first time the Bible mentions God speaking to Jacob. Perhaps Jacob grew up hearing how the Lord had made a promise to Abraham and Isaac. I'm certain he knew that God promised a family as many as the stars of heaven and the sands of the sea to both his father and his grandfather. But, this may be the first time that God spoke this promise directly to Jacob!
Genesis 28:16-17- And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
Jacob woke up and thought that God spoke to him because he was in a certain place. But, what Jacob must not have realized was that God is everywhere! The Bible says in Psalm 139:7-10- Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
God spoke to Jacob because He knew it was time Jacob heard what all the birthright and the blessing contained! Not because Jacob was in a special location.
Genesis 28:18-22- And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.  And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:  And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
Jacob tries to make a deal with God. He says that if God blesses him and brings him home again that he will give God 10% of all that he gets. It's kind of silly to think that we can make deals with God, because He already owns everything! But Jacob is so use to getting what he wants through deal making and deceit that he doesn't even stop to think that God's promises are unchangeable!
Did you know that God's promises are unchangeable? God makes some promises to us! He promises to give us salvation. He promises to provide our needs. He promises to never leave us. And God doesn't go back on His promises!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 5

Genesis 27:1-4- And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I. And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.

This may seem odd to us, but back then that is how things were done. Isaac was getting old and he wanted to make sure that everything was taken care of before he died. So he called his eldest, who was suppose to get the birthright, and told him to make him a venison dinner and that he would bless him.
Now, remember, Esau had sold his birthright to his brother, Jacob. Did Isaac know about this? We don't know.
Genesis 27:5- And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
Rebekah heard what Isaac had said, and she wanted Jacob to get the blessing. What do you think she should have done? She should have trusted God! But, did she do that?
Genesis 27:6-10- And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.  Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth:  And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.
Uh oh! She was planning something deceitful! She must not have been trusting God at that moment. Perhaps, she wasn't keeping her friendship with the Lord.
Genesis 27:11-12- And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:  My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.
Jacob knew what she was planning was wrong. He was afraid that he would receive a curse instead of a blessing!
Genesis 27:13- And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.
Rebekah says that if they are found out that she will bear the curse. Guess what! This is one of the last times she ever gets to see her son whom she loves so much! She does end up bearing the consequences of her deceit.
Genesis 27:14-17- And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:  And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
Wow! She had really thought this out! She dressed Jacob in Esau's clothes. She put the goat skins with the hair onto his arms and neck so that he would feel hairy, and she sent him with the venison and bread to Isaac.
Genesis 27:18- And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?
I bet when Isaac asked who he was, that Jacob felt a little flutter in his stomach! He knew he was doing wrong. He knew he was lying and that he shouldn't.
Genesis 27:19- And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
Jacob decided right then and there that he would deceive his father and steal the blessing from his brother. He went against what he knew was right and decided to take what he wanted his own way without waiting to see what God would do.
Genesis 27:20- And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.
Oh, Isaac thought something was wrong! Now begins the questions. Have you ever noticed that when you're doing something wrong someone is always there questioning you? That's God telling you that you're doing wrong!
Genesis 27:21-24- And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him.  And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
Jacob is now so wrapped up in this lie that he can't get out now!
Genesis 27:25-29- And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank. And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:  Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:  Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.
Whew! Jacob got away with it! I'm sure for a few moments there he thought he would be found out. But he was anxious to get out of there because he didn't know when Esau was going to come back!
Genesis 27:30-31- And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.  And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me.
That was close! But what about Esau?
Genesis 27:32-36- And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed. And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.  And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
Here Esau was crying and begging his father to bless him, but his father couldn't. You see, once a blessing has been given it can't be taken away or changed. Esau knew this, but he was hoping that there was something left for him.
Genesis 27:37-38- And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son? And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
Oh, Esau now realized the value of his birthright. He regretted giving it up, but there was no getting it back! No matter how much you beg and plead and cry, sometimes, you just can't make sin disappear. You now have to live with the consequences of your actions. And Esau was very sorry!
Genesis 27:39-40- And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
Isaac wanted to bless Esau, so he blessed him as a man. He couldn't leave him any possessions or positions. But he could give him the blessing of a bountiful life. Do you think this made Esau happy? Nope!
Genesis 27:41- And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
Esau hated Jacob! He hated him so badly that he wanted to hurt him! He not only wanted to hurt him, he wanted to kill him!
Genesis 27:42-45- And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;  And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away;  Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?
To save her son, Rebekah had to send him away. She knew Esau would really kill him. For her deceit, God made it so that Rebekah never saw her son after this. That was her punishment.
But what about Jacob? What would he have to pay for this sin?

Monday, August 21, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 4

Isaac and Rebekah were trying to raise their boys in a land where the Most High God was not honored. It must have been tough for these boys to see all the trouble the people of Canaan caused Isaac.
Genesis 26:12-14- Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.
Isaac was seeing God's blessing on everything he had. But, some times when God blesses us people get jealous. That's what envy is, it's jealousy. It's wanting what someone else has! Envy is a weird sin. It's one that not everyone can see on the outside, but it makes you feel mad and angry on the inside. It also makes you think things that aren't true and do things that aren't smart!
Genesis 26:15- For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.
The people of the land were destroying the wells. Back in those days, people had to go to wells, which were deep holes dug into the ground, and they had to drop buckets down into them to get their water. They didn't have sinks or faucets like we do. It was a lot of trouble to dig a well!
Why would the Philistines destroy something that could have been a blessing to them? They needed water, too. But, it was envy that made them act in a silly manner.
Genesis 26:16-18- And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we. And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
The king of the land asked Isaac to move. Maybe he was also envious?
Isaac wanted peace. He wasn't out to harm anyone. So, he moved along, like the king asked. He moved back to where he grew up as a boy, and digged the wells that he probably helped his father dig as a boy.
But, guess what? Jealousy never goes away. Isaac started to have problems with the people who lived near where he moved.
Genesis 26:19-22- And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.  And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.  And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
Wait a minute! They had destroyed all the wells that were there before, and now they wanted to claim the new ones as their own! Was that fair? No! Some times, jealousy makes people think they deserve things that they don't. Some times, it makes them take things that aren't theirs.
But, Isaac didn't fight. He moved on until he found a place they didn't want to fight over. And guess what? The Lord took notice of his actions.
Genesis 26:23-25- And he went up from thence to Beersheba. And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake.  And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well.
God saw that Isaac was trying to do right, and God came and told him that he would bless him. This is the 2nd time the Bible mentions God talking to Isaac. And Isaac did a very smart thing- he praised God. You should always praise God when you get an answer to prayer.
Another thing about people is that they realize when they make mistakes. Remember the king that sent Isaac away? Well, he was realizing that he was actually better off when Isaac was around! Perhaps he saw that the Lord's blessings helped him out, too, when he was good to Isaac.
Genesis 26:26-29- Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army. And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?  And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;  That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.
Well, the king showed up asking for a treaty, of a sorts. He wanted Isaac to promise that he wouldn't hurt him or his people. Why? He saw that God was blessing Isaac and that Isaac's family would one day become a strong nation. What do you think Isaac did?
Genesis 26:30-31- And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.  And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
They ate! That was their way of saying, "Ok, we can have a treaty."
Genesis 26:32-33- And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water. And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.
Look! Isaac did what was right, and he received another blessing. Did you know that Beersheba is still around today? It is!
But, just because our parents are doing right, doesn't mean that we will. IF we don't have our own relationship with the Lord, we could end up sinning. And that's exactly what Esau did.
You see, Isaac made an agreement with some of the people. But Esau decided to marry some of the people. A people that worshipped false gods. A people who didn't honor or obey the God of Heaven.
Genesis 26:34-35- And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:  Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
There are some strange verses in the Bible. One of them says "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Romans 9:13. Why did God hate Esau?
First, because Esau didn't care about the future or doing right. Esau only cared about what he wanted right now! Second, Esau never asked God what His will was. Esau only ever did what Esau wanted to do.
We can bring a lot of consequences on ourselves, not only by being jealous and envious, but also by doing things our way instead of God's way! God's way is slow and it requires patience, but it ends in a blessing!
Our way is quick, but also rebellious, and it ends in a curse!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 3

We start to see how Isaac and Rebekah grew their relationship with God. They no longer had Abraham to ask, so now they relied on their own personal friendship with God for answers.
Genesis 25:20-21- And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
Isaac and Rebekah wanted to have children. But, just like Sarah, it didn't seem like it was happening. So, Isaac went to ask God. Isaac knew that his relationship with God was good enough to be able to ask him for things that he wanted. When our relationship is good with God, we know that we are able to ask God for our wants and needs.
God answered Isaac's request and allowed Rebekah to get pregnant. But something was up!
Genesis 25:22- And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
Rebekah had a lot of movement. Now, pregnant women can feel the baby moving in their tummy. Have you ever had your hand on a pregnant woman's belly and felt the baby kick? Well, Rebekah's baby was kicking a lot! And she wondered about it. So guess what she did?
She went to ask God. It's not good enough for just a husband to have a relationship with God. A wife needs her own personal friendship with God. God wants to hear from boys and girls all about their problems, and their needs, and their wants.
Genesis 25:23- And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
Guess what? God answered Rebekah, too! Both Isaac and Rebekah had a good enough relationship with God that they could not only talk to God, but also hear God answer them.
Did you understand God's answer? God told Rebekah that there were 2 nations in her tummy.
Genesis 25:24- And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
Twins! That's why there was so much movement! Boy, they must have been fighting a lot! You see, these boys would both have a lot of children, and those children would become nations- 2 nations were born that day.
Genesis 25:25-26- And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
So, one was all hairy with red hair. He must've looked like a Scotsman! And they named him Esau.
The other was also a boy and they named him Jacob. And guess what he did? He grabbed his brother's heel. They were just born and they were fighting! Do you think they fought a lot growing up? I bet they did!
Genesis 25:27- And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
Two brothers were never so different. Esau was an outdoors person. He liked to hunt and run through the fields. He probably had clothes that were worn out and ripped. But, Jacob was an indoors person. He learned to cook, and I bet his clothes were always nice because he could probably fix them.
Genesis 25:28- And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Uh oh! These two brothers kinda made a split in the family. Isaac loved Esau. They were probably out in the fields together a lot. And whenever Esau hunted for food, he shared some with his father. But, Rebekah loved Jacob. He was always around her in the house. He probably helped out a lot, and I'm sure she appreciated that very  much.
Not only were these boys different in their likes and dislikes. But they were different in what they valued. Esau liked the outdoors. He could go where he pleased. He didn't really have to answer to anyone. If he wanted to hunt, he could. If he wanted to lay in the field and look at the clouds roll by, he could. Perhaps, Esau didn't like responsibility.
Jacob, on the other hand, liked to be inside. He probably liked order and took responsibility for keeping things just so.
These differences were about to play out in a life changing way. We don't know how old the boys were, but they were about to make a deal!
Genesis 25:29-30- And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
Jacob was at home, as usual, making a pottage. Esau had been out somewhere and I guess he wasn't successful that day in catching something. So, he comes home very hungry! He sees Jacob cooking and asks for some food.
Jacob knew that Esau was going to get everything that their father had. Esau was the firstborn, and by the laws back then, everything went to him! But, Jacob knew Esau really didn't want that responsibility. Jacob wanted it, so he proposed a deal.
Genesis 25:31- And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
I can just see Esau now! He's smelling that pottage and he's feeling the grumbling in his tummy and he's thinking, "I can't eat my birthright!"
Genesis 25:32-34- And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
Do you know what lentils are? It's kinda like a small bean. Esau just sold his house and all his possessions for bean soup! Do you think that was a smart deal?
The Bible tells us that God was not very happy with Esau.
Hebrews 12:15-17- . Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
God says to be diligent. Do you know what that means? It means to be responsible for your actions by doing things right and in a timely way. Esau wasn't diligent. If he had been, he wouldn't have sold his birthright for bean soup!
But, what else does God say about this? He says he wanted it back and he even cried about it, but he couldn't change what he had done. You see, sometimes the consequences of our actions are so bad, that even though we cry and beg we can't change them!
Esau could never get his birthright back. We need to make sure that we are diligent with the blessings that God gives us. For we never know when we'll be tempted to throw those blessings away for bean soup!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 2

Genesis 25:1- Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
Abraham was lonely after Sarah's death, so he remarried.  We don't know if he asked the Lord about this or not. We don't know where his new wife was from. We only know that he had more children.
Genesis 25:5- And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.
Abraham knew that God's promise was through Isaac. So, Abraham left everything to Isaac. This wasn't how it was done back then. Everything always went to the firstborn. Ishmael was the firstborn, Isaac was the second. But we see that many times in human history, God doesn't choose the first because the first usually is what the world offers. God chooses His way.
Genesis 25:7-8- And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
Abraham was 175 when he died. That's really old! No one today lives to be that old!
Genesis 25:9-10- And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
Abraham had other children, but the Bible only mentions 2 of them showing up for his funeral- Isaac and Ishmael. They bury Abraham in the cave of Machpelah, where Sarah was buried.
Now, Isaac and Rebekah were alone. They had to rely on their own personal relationship with the Lord to know what to do and where to go. If we don't have a relationship with God, then we are going to mess up. We can't call our parents up and ask "What should I do now?" We need to be able to ask God ourselves.
Isaac was about to be tested.
Genesis 26:1-6- And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;  And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;  Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.  And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
Here, we see that God speaks directly to Isaac. I'm sure that Isaac heard the story many times from his father about how God promised to make a great nation of them. But, perhaps, this is the first time that Isaac heard the promise from God himself!
God warns Isaac to stay in the land of Canaan. I'm certain it's because God didn't want Isaac making the same mistake in Egypt that Abraham made. But the funny thing is, that we usually make the same mistakes our parents made.
Remember what Abraham did in Egypt? He told the people of the land that Sarah was his sister because he was afraid they would kill him. I guess Isaac heard that story, too, because he is going to make the same mistake!
Genesis 26:7- And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.
God had spoken to Isaac and promised to make a great nation of him, yet Isaac wasn't willing to trust God to protect him. He was going to give in to his flesh and lie!
Genesis 26:8-9- And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.
Uh oh! The thing about lying is you will always eventually get found out! Isaac was tickling Rebekah and the king realized that she wasn't his sister at all!
Genesis 26:11- And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
Isaac was in a nation who didn't believe in the God of heaven, and yet these people knew what was right and wrong! Even when we are among people who don't serve God, God can still protect us. God's power can follow us wherever we go, and His protection will care for us!
We need to make sure that we stay in God's will. Many times we put consequences upon ourselves that we shouldn't have to bear because we did what we wanted to do. Adam did it! Abraham did it! And even Isaac did it!
We must always pray and ask God to direct us. Then, we should always obey the answer God gives us, even when we don't like it. It's the only way to avoid the consequences of sin.

Friday, August 18, 2017

God's Chosen People- Part 1

Sarah had died, and Abraham was now really old! Abraham wanted to make sure that Isaac was taken care of. He wanted Isaac to get a good wife.
Isaac is now 37 years old, much older than most people today when they get married. We can learn a good bit about how to find a good spouse when we look at Isaac's example!
First off, Abraham is the one who works out finding a wife for Isaac. We should let our Heavenly Father bring our spouse to us. Many times, Christians get impatient with waiting on God to bring their spouse and they decide to "help" him out. The problem is that the devil will put his will for a spouse in our path- this may not be a bad person, but it will hinder you from fulfilling God's will for your life.
Genesis 24:1-4, 7- And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:  And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.
Abraham asked his servant to go find a wife for his son in his homeland. The Bible says in II Corinthians 6:14- Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Abraham knew that the women in Canaan didn't believe in the God of Heaven. He wanted to make sure that the wife Isaac got was willing to follow God.
Many times, people pretend to be Christians so they can get a good spouse, but they don't really want to serve Christ. That's why you must pray and let God choose, because God knows the heart.
So, the servant got ready and went to find Isaac a good wife.
Genesis 24:10-12- And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.  And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
Here, we learn something very important. The servant also had faith in God. He was praying that God would lead him to the right person for Isaac. He asked God to show him who she was.
Genesis 24:13-14- Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
You know what God wants? He wants you to pray for His will! When you are willing to do His will, He will guide you!
Genesis 24:15,17- And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.
Remember, the servant was a stranger! He was speaking to someone who didn't know him. But, he had a God who knew everthing!
Genesis 24:18-20- And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
Rebekah was a hard worker. She was kind and thoughtful! God had led the servant to the very person He had in mind for Isaac.
Genesis 24:26-28- And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren. And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother's house these things.
The servant thanked God! That should always be our response to answered prayer. We should remember that it's God who answered.
Now, the servant has found the woman that God wanted for Isaac. But there was one little thing left. The woman must be willing!
The servant went back to Rebekah's house and explained everything that had happened with Abraham. He told about Sarah's death, and about Isaac's need for a wife.
Genesis 24:56-58- And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth.  And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
Rebekah was willing to go to a strange country to marry a man that she had never met. When God shows you His will for your life, it may be something that you have never done before. But, you will have complete peace about it. If you don't have peace about something, then God doesn't want you to do it! It's that simple.
Psalms 119:165- Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
So, Rebekah and the servant made the long journey back to Canaan.
But, what was Isaac doing while all this was going on?
Genesis 24:63- And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
He was praying for God's will and doing his father's work. That's what we should do. When we do what God wants first; He will send us the desires of our hearts.
Matthew 6:33- But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
When we do our will first; the devil will send us the desires of our hearts. The question is, do you want God's will or your own?
Genesis 24:66-67- And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
Isaac loved her. She was what he needed for a help meet. She was God's will for his life, and because he waited for God's will he found all his desires were met.
How long did he have to wait? Well, he was 37 when Sarah died. Remember?
Genesis 25:20- And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
He was 40 when he married Rebekah. That's 3 years! For 3 years he waited for God's will.
Are you willing to wait for God's will? Or do you want your way NOW! God's way takes time. He has to prepare you and your spouse for His will. The devil's way is quick and will keep you from God's will. Which will you choose?