Taking the Word to the World

Archive for January, 2014

Is God in Your House of God?

Laban, Jacob’s father-in-law made a big deal about a lot of little gods. Why? First of all, it is an indicator of where He placed his confidence. In a polytheistic society there were gods that took care of just about any and every aspect of life. Beyond, the father’s household gods were important to the inheritance. In that area and time, a son-in-law could appear in court and claim the estate of his father-in-law.

Jacob at Bethel

“And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother” (Genesis 35:7).

  • God often takes us back to the altar; that special place of meeting Him.
  • Bethel: the house of God. El-Bethel: God of the House of God. There are a lot of places that claim to be Bethel or the house of God. The question is does God dwell there? Is His presence there?
  • We don’t take much comfort and confidence from Bethel: the house of God. But, we do have comfort in El-Beth-el: the God of the house of God. Being interpreted as, “the strong God, the house of the strong God.”
  • Is God in your house of God?

The Prayer Battle

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. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 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. 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. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:24-30).

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Take a few lessons from Jacob:

  • You may feel alone: press on and press through. God is right there.
  • Persevere or wrestle in prayer.
  • Wrestling demonstrated Jacob’s faith. He had an unshakable confidence and trust in a divine promise.
  • We are called upon to be in spiritual warfare.
  • Don’t give up until God blesses you.
  • God answers prayer. Jacob asked for a blessing. He got it!
  • God may not change your name, but He will change your circumstances, or give you the grace to see you through.
  • Jacob became a prince with power. We are a royal priesthood.
  • He walked away with a limp. This showed his dependence on God.

“God meets us at whatever level He finds us in order to lift us to where He wants us to be. To Abraham the pilgrim, God came as a traveler (Genesis 18); and to Joshua the general, He came as a soldier (Joshua 5:13-15). Jacob had spent most of his adult life wrestling with people — Esau, Isaac, Laban, and even his wives — so God came to him as a wrestler. “With the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd” (Psalms 18:26, NKJV).” (The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament © 2001-2004 by Warren W. Wiersbe).

Prayer: The Short and Sweet of It

“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” (Genesis 32:9-12).

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Jacob provides one of the earliest examples of prayer in God’s Word. Here’s what I noticed:

  • It is short, sincere, and straight (focused on getting an answer).
  • It is considered one of the greatest prayers in Scripture.
  • It was prayed by a man weak in faith.
  • It was prayed in desperation and fear. Both should drive us to our knees.
  • It was an appeal to God as standing in a covenant relationship.
  • It rested totally in God’s character.
  • It exposed his knowledge of God’s ways.
  • It encouraged him through remembering what God had already done.

One of the merits of pleading the promises is “the best we can say to God in prayer is what He has said to us.” God’s promises “furnish us with the best petitions, so they are the firmest ground of our hopes” (Matthew Henry).

Looking at the Wishing Well

“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” (Genesis 26:18).

“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” (Genesis 26:24-25).

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Water is essential for life. In ancient days people either lived near a river or a lake or dug a well. Wells provide for a man, his family, and his livestock. But, it also indicated he was going to stay in that location for some time.

Well Name – Geror
Well Meaning – “Dragged off.”
Where has God dragged you to? Do you feel lonely, lost, helpless and hopeless? Isaac went back to the proven wells his father had dug.

Well Name – Esek
Well Meaning – “Contention.”
What contentions are you facing? Instead of moaning and groaning keep traveling on knowing that God is with you.

Well Name – Sitnah
Well Meaning – “Strife.”
Are people mistreating you and you don’t know how much more you can take? Don’t allow these distractions to blind you from what God can do for you.

Well Name – Rehoboth
Well Meaning – “Wide Places.”
God has a place of rest for you.

Well Name – Beersheba
Well Meaning – “Well of an oath.”
Build an altar and offer your sacrifice. Spend time with God. Call on Him. He will answer you. Pitch your tent. Realize you are right where God wants you. (Same well as below).

Well Name – Shibah
Well Meaning – “Oath.”
God will be with you and bless you. (Adapted from a study on Genesis 26:14-33 by David Humpal.”

The wells Isaac and his servants dug were symbolic. From them we can learn lessons of how to survive through life’s circumstances; especially adversity. They show us that we should be willing and ready to move on to new areas of our lives.

photo credit: Gwenaël Piaser via photopin cc