THEN JACOB ROSE UP
Genesis 31:17 ¶ Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 18 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. 19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s. 20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 21 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. 22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. 23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead. 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.
Genesis 31:25 ¶ Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead. 26 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? 27 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? 28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. 29 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. 30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? 31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. 32 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. 33 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. 34 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. 35 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.
The Lord God has commanded Jacob to finally leave Syria and his father in law’s world, to whom he had been a servant for twenty years. But when you leave people in your walk with the Lord, they resent it, and will strive to resist you. When you first come to a religious community they are happy and readily agree that you are, indeed, ‘in God’s will.’ But! Try to go away from them, even though you are still following the Lord, and they will say you are then, ‘out of God’s will!’ Religious flesh is hard to contend with!
This same thing happened with Moses and Pharaoh. Even though the exodus had been specifically, to the day, set forth hundreds of years earlier to Abraham, Pharaoh still did all he could to destroy Israel when they left! Genesis 15:12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
And the Lord also commands all believers to come out of the world’s attitudes and life styles, if we are to enjoy his fellowship. 2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
A believer’s family will not understand, nor be passive, when the believer forsakes family functions in order to attend gospel matters. This was a warning to us by our Lord. Matthew 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
And the Lord God dealt with both Laban and Pharaoh. 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.
Exodus 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so. 24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
But we must understand that the Lord’s righteous judgment upon them includes their afflictions against us! For he does not say, “If” you pass through great waters of affliction, but “when!” Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
For there will be weapons formed against us. But they shall not accomplish their intended purpose! Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
We also see that both Jacob and the Hebrew children came out of their bondage with great substance, which they did not have as they entered into these realms. Jacob expresses his thankfulness to the Lord, and states that he had nothing but his staff when he entered Syria. Genesis 32:10 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. But consider him upon his exit. Genesis 30:43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
And so did the children of Israel come out of Egypt with great wealth. Exodus 11:2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold. 3 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.
And it is in this world of trials and afflictions wherein the riches of his grace are bestowed upon all believers. For what treasure is worthy of exchange for a redeemed and sanctified soul? And how can earthly riches compare with that spiritual wealth which cannot rust, nor be stolen? 1 Peter 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For that which God requires cannot be had but by earthly trials and afflictions. God granted faith can only be purified by God ordained afflictions! Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
For even the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God learned obedience by the extent of his sufferings! Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And it was by sufferings that he became the perfect captain of our salvation. Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
And he also did so to leave us an example of the true believer’s life! 1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
But we also read that Jacob and his family left out with Laban’s household gods. This was unknown by Jacob, however, as Rachel had hidden them. For Rachel, not having been raised up under Isaac’s and Abraham’s influence, like Jacob, cannot separate from his father, Laban’s customs. We cannot fault her without condemning ourselves. For we are all the product of our previous experiences, customs, and traditions. The Apostle Peter warns us of this.
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (manner of life), received by tradition from your fathers; 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
And our Lord puts it in much stronger terms. Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. He even informs us that it is in the natural family that his sword of variance, or separation, should fall!
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
Luke 12:52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
We must be very careful, for memorials and honors to mortals, even though they be parents, can easily become idols! Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
The true believer will spend his lifetime resisting the pressures of the world, which never cease to strive to press him out into it’s image! Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. That is the believers word…trans-formed, not con-formed!
But be assured that when the Lord God calls Jacob back to Bethel – the place of his first meeting with Jacob – there can be no idols hidden among the possessions of his household! 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. 2 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:
Neither can there be any mixture of traditions and customs from our past, fleshly lifestyles. Worship is hindered by hidden fleshly affections of the heart. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. We must not only come out from among them, but get those former influences out from within us.
Pastor Gene Breed
June 3, 2016