Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“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…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.’”
Genesis 32: 9-11
King James Version
“The God of Our Future”
Promises You Can Depend Upon (Part I)
“Two works of mercy set a (woman) free; forgive and you will be forgiven, and give and you will receive.”
Have I experienced the gift of mercy in my life?
“Do you wish to receive mercy? Show mercy to your neighbor.”
“Mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
Psalms 85: 10
King James Version
Just let your imagination take you back thousands of years. For a few moments,
pretend you are part of Jacob’s company. With your wives, handmaidens, children, servants and herds of livestock, along with all your material possessions, you are headed home. Back to your family. Perhaps Jacob didn’t share with his family the secret he knew in his heart –for Jacob understood that the past, present, and future were about to collide –in a big way. There was a hurtle he had to get over before his future could be all God wanted for him. Jacob knew there was a fence he must mend. A fence he broke and now the consequences could not only cause harm to him but to the woman he loved and to his precious children. Zora Hurston, the author of Moses: Man of the Mountain, stated: “The present is an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.” Isn’t this a description that perfectly describes Jacob’s life. Jacob’s present movements were dictated by his deceptive behavior toward his brother in the past. Until he dealt with the past, specifically, his treatment of his brother, he could not move forward and embrace the future God had for him.
When faced with a foreboding future, Jacob did what we all should do. He went to God who had promised He would be with him. But please notice – Jacob didn’t come before God saying, “Well, I’ve obeyed all the rules. I’ve given You money. I’ve done what You said, now I’m counting on You to bail me out!” NO! Jacob didn’t say this, because just like all of us, Jacob understood that when we hold up our “good deeds” to God, they look like “filthy rags.”
Jacob knew all too well his past contained stains and splinters. He had played an integral part in splintering his family. What’s more the stains of deception had soiled nearly all his relationships. What did Jacob do? He came to God in three ways you and I can truly learn from:
1. First, Jacob reminded God who He was: “You are the Father of Abraham and Isaac.” Jacob came to God as a child would come to a loving parent. In the words of Jesus in Luke 11:11, “If a son (or daughter) shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone…If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him’ (Luke 11: 11-13, K.J.V.). When we acknowledge our relationship with our Father, like the loving parent He is, He will NEVER deny us anything that He knows is for our ultimate good.
2. Second, Jacob relied on God’s “mercy and truth.” In Genesis 32: 10, K.J.V,). Jacob told God, ‘I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth.” I find the words “mercy” and “truth” to be an interesting choice for Jacob to use. John Calvin said: “When it is a question of justification, we have to put away all thinking about the law and all our works, to embrace the mercy of God alone, and to turn our eyes away from ourselves and upon Jesus Christ alone.” When Jacob looked at his past, present and future, he needed God’s mercy! And so do we. But Jacob also used another interesting word – the word is truth. This was quite a word for someone who had lied and been lied to his entire life. Denise Lever penned in Jacob’s Ladder, “Truth, that fair goddess who confronts us at every turn, in every guise.” Jacob had to admit to himself that God, his Father, was a God of truth. And this meant, what wasn’t true in Jacob’s life had to be weeded out. He had to confront the truth about himself. And sometimes you and I need to do the same.
3. Third, Jacob thought of others rather than himself. Most of Jacob’s life, especially in his early years, he spent getting what he wanted – the birthright that he stole. The girl, Rachel, whom he saw and wanted so badly. But when faced with meeting his angry brother, Esau, Jacob asked for God’s favor not so much for himself, but for the “mothers and children.” His family had given Jacob a cause bigger than himself.
When Jacob came to God for help in moving from his present dilemma to his God-planned future he came to God as His child. Then Jacob relied on God’s mercy and truth and finally Jacob asked for God’s protection on his family who found themselves as potential pawns affected by Jacob’s past behavior.
Tomorrow, we will find out what the God of mercy and truth did to take Jacob from his present problems to a purposeful future.
“I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.”
From: The Eternal Goodness
I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.
And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed he will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.
No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts he gave,
And plead his love for love.
And so beside the silent sea
I wait the muffled oar,
No harm from him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.
I know not where his islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond his love and care.”
John Greenleaf Whittier
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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