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Jacob’s History,
and Ours

18 June 2022

Just as He did with Jacob,
God works “all things
together” in our lives to
bless us in the end

In our radio program / podcast we are currently considering the matter of transformation. To illustrate what transformation looks like, we shared last week on Peter in the New Testament; we plan to use part of the program this morning to cover, from the Old Testament, Jacob’s experience of the Lord’s dealings with him. (We broadcast live in Chicago at 9:00 central time on AM 750; to listen to past episodes please visit our Podcast page.)

I have always been very touched with how J.N. Darby, in his Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, speaks of God’s dealings with Jacob. Many of us, no doubt, can see much of own history in this story, since to a certain extent we are all “Jacobs”; I certainly do.

Like Jacob, we value what God has promised, but use our own ways to obtain it. Darby states of Genesis 27 and Jacob stealing the blessing from Esau:

Heir of the promises, and valuing them, he uses means to have them, evil and low in character. God answers his faith, and chastens his evil and unbelief.

In Genesis, 28 we see that Jacob, because he sought the blessing in his own way, must leave the Good Land. This is not unlike Abraham and his experience of losing his fellowship with the Lord after producing Ishmael through Hagar (Gen. 16:16-17:1). But overall, as Darby says,

…The wanderings of Abraham were in the land of promise; those of Jacob, out of it: two things very different one from another. God, indeed, was with Jacob, and never left him, but Abraham walked with God: in the realisation of His presence he built his altar. Jacob had no altar; he was not in the place of promise. For such a path takes us out of communion. Although God in His faithfulness be with us, we are not with Him.

Jacob, however, submitted to the Lord’s dealings, and thus,

…so soon as he bows to the chastisement, destitute, and with his staff, and a stone for his pillow, God reveals Himself to him, and assures to him all the promises, not in the full revelation of communion, but in a dream.

That is, because he was under God’s discipline for his deceiving ways, God would not appear to him directly, as He did with Abraham, but only by means of a dream. Still, the dream was marvelous, and in it God assured Jacob of His faithfulness:

God would keep him in all places whither he went, and bring him back to the land, and fulfill all without fail, not leaving him till he had accomplished all.

As God in heaven, He ordered the things on the earth for the ultimate blessing of His chosen one:

God was above; Jacob, the object of promise and blessing, of the earth; but earth was all under the providential control of heaven; and the angels had Jacob for their care, ascended and descended, accomplishing the will of God.

How touching the simple statement, “the angels had Jacob for their care!”

As in the case of Jacob, we will not find it easy to pass through the difficult experiences that bring us into the reality of transformation, but like him as well, we may trust that God is over all, and arranges all things in our lives to bless us in the end:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
— Romans 8:28-30

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— 18 June 2022 —