Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

To: en & more
From: Su Min
Subject: Genesis 31


To my beloved in England, Thailand and Singapore, together with all the saints throughout the world, grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

(This nice letter heading comes from 2 Cor 1: 1-4, while the doxology at the end comes at the tail of Jude, just one chapter in the whole book, vs 24-25.)

Praise be indeed! Amen!

Today we look at Genesis Chapter 31.

God speaks to Jacob, instructing him to return home and promising to be with him. "and I will be with you" vs 3. What a special promise. And God says the same to us today, "and I will be with you", and God always keeps his promise.

Jacob calls for Rachel and Leah (vs 4) and details how he has been cheated by Laban, yet protected by God (vs 5-13). Rachel and Leah concur and encourage him to do whatever God has told him (14-16).

So without telling Laban, Jacob gathers his belongings, and flees towards home. Rachel in the process has taken the household idols (teraphim) from Laban (vs 17-21).

Laban chases Jacob, and confronts him, but not before being warned by God not to say anything good or bad to Jacob. Laban fails to find his teraphim. They make an uneasy peace, and agree to a covenant, a pillar of stones is set as a markerpoint, a boundary, to mark where each man will not cross to harm the other. An oath is taken, a sacrifice made, a big meal is celebrated, Laban blesses his daughters and grandchildren, and departs.

We start the review of this lesson by taking a step back to see the span of Jacob's life history, in the book of Genesis. We see first mention of him in Genesis 25:21 when Rebekah becomes pregnant, vs 22 when we know that there are twins, and verse 26 when Jacob is so named. Jacob's story continues, later intertwined with that of his son Joseph, right to the end of Genesis, Jacob dying the last verse of the penultimate chapter, and buried in the last chapter of Genesis.

It strikes me that Jacob occupies more of Genesis than either Adam, or Noah or Abraham or any other of his illustrious forefathers. Why? I don't have the direct answer but it seems to me that God has much to teach us through the life of Jacob.

When I think of Jacob, I think of a twin tussling with his brother. I think of Jacob robbing Esau of Isaac's blessing. I think of Jacob's ladder. I think of him cheated into marrying Leah instead of Rachel. I think of him outwitting Laban with the speckled sheep and goats. I think of him wrestling with God and being named Israel, a name the whole nation was to take. And I think of the beautiful story of reconciliation with his son Joseph, in the house of Pharaoh. As we go through the rest of the book of Genesis I pray that God will reveal to each one of us what he wants us to learn from the life of his servant Jacob. It seems to me that Jacob was very much a man like you and me, filled with a love for God, yet human and imperfect, with many many errors in his life. Yet God chose to use him, for His purpose and to His glory. And God chooses to use us, human and imperfect as we are, for His purpose and to His glory, if only we will submit to his perfect will.

Let us pray

Love dad

For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min

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