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Jacob's Victory

 

Genesis 46:2, 3 - The Lord said to Jacob: "Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again."

The voice of God with the promise of victory revived the spirit of Jacob. That was all he needed to proceed on with his journey and to accept the invitation of Joseph and the Egyptian Pharaoh to move the entire family to the land of Goshen.

Jacob's life had not been easy. At age 77 Jacob had to leave mother Rebekah and father Isaac behind, after trying to obtain the blessing of the birthrights by fraud from his almost blind father.

When Isaac was 60 years old, wife Rebekah gave birth to tween brothers: Esau came forth first, and then Jacob. The birth rights were to be given to the first born; but in this case Esau grew up with no interest on religious duties or a life close to God, to the extreme that one day, feeling hungry, Esau offered Jacob his birthrights in exchange for a tasty bowl of lentils. (Gen. 25:29-34)

Rebekah remembered the angel who said that the older shall serve the younger and insisted that Jacob should be chosen, by fitness of character, to receive the honor and privileges of the birthrights (Gen. 25:23).

One day, when Isaac was 137 years old, on his own, he decided to give to Esau the prescribed blessing. And Rebekah who heard the proposition, at once put in action the plan to divert the blessing to Jacob. (Gen. 27) Jacob got the birthright by fraud, deceiving and sinning against his brother and father. Apparently, by this time, Esau was not indifferent any more to his rights, and full of anger, in his mind, looked for a day to slay his brother. Jacob had to flee to Haran, from whence his mother had come from. A bitter remorse came to Jacob's heart and painful consequences follow his journey away from home.

The first seven years Jacob worked gladly for uncle Laban to obtain Rachel, the love of his life. After the wedding festival came the darkness of the night when Laban brought the bride to Jacob's tent. In the morning, a painful surprise shook Jacob when he discovered Leah in his bed instead of Rachel. (Gen. 29: 20-30)

During the next seven years Jacob was tangle up with the poligamist influence of the time and place to where he came. Four women gave him eleven sons and one daughter. To that blessing was added the jealousy and rivalry between mothers and their children.

The last six years Jacob worked for Laban, who changed his wages ten times; but every time Laban assigned the least producing compensation to Jacob, God changed it to the greatest producing compensation for Jacob. (Gen. 31: 7-13) "And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservantas, and menservants, and camels, and asses." (Gen. 30:43)

After 20 years, Jacob was returning to the land of his fathers, with a large herd of cattle and a great number of servants. Among his children was Joseph, a child 6 years old.

Going back to the beginning of those twenty years, on the second night running away from Esau, Jacob felt the darkness of the night on his soul. Pressing hard on his mind was the thought of the sin against his brother and father. Could that sin cut away the hand of protection from the Lord, his mercy and guidance? Asking forgiveness with deep remorse and heart contrition, he took a stone for a pillow and fell asleep. The Lord didn't abandon Jacob to the temptation coming to his mind. He sent a dream of hope and assurance: "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." (Gen. 28:12-15)

And now, 97 years old Jacob, on the way to return, heard the news that brother Esau was coming with 400 armed men to meet him. Strategically, Jacob planned the encounter, but foremost he will seek the Lord. Alone again, Jacob emptied himself with a most sorrow and repentant heart, and prayed: "Oh 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 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..." (Gen. 32:9-12)

In the middle of a dark night, while humbling himself to the ground, someone hand grabbed him on the back, and Jacob turned with all his strength to wrest with the unknown assailant; but could not win. Fighting for his life, the more he wished that God could hear him in his agony, the bigger his sin dominated his mind, until in despair he claimed for God's mercy. When the wrestler gave Jacob the crippling touch, he then realized that this was not a common man, but a divine messenger, and Jacob clinged to him with humble heart and begging mercy: "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." (Gen. 32:24-26) "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." (Gen. 32:28)

When Esau saw the limping Jacob walking with pain in his leg, his heart moved to compassion and came and embrace him. And both wept for seeing each other.

Advancing into the land of his early years Jacob had to suffer greatly by the shame of his daughter and the subsequent revenge of Simeon and Levi upon the men of Shechem; by the death of Rachel, his great love, after giving birth to Benjamin; by the sinful trespass of Reuben with father,s concubine Billah; and at the age of 108, when his sons sold Joseph as slave and came back to Jacob with a blood stained coat of Joseph as if he was devoured by a wild beast. (Gen. 34; 35; 37)

Twenty two years later, the same brothers, after a trying encounter with the governor of Egypt, under unexpected humiliation and remorse for what they did to his brother, suddenly find themselves prostrating before him as in that dream that back then awakened their jealousy. And then they heard it like a bolt of thunder: "I am Joseph!" (Gen. 39 to 45)

When his sons came back from Egypt, Jacob could not believe his ears: "Joseph is yet alive." But he saw the wagons, and he heard the confession of that terrible crime, 22 years before by his own sons. Now the evidence was all there, and his spirit revived. Everyone gathered everything they had, and they parted for Egypt.

As they went south, the mind of Jacob was working: "Where is God in all of this?" "This land was promised to father Abraham, and to father Isaac, and now we are leaving it behind..." In Beersheba, before leaving Canaan, Jacob stopped; he wanted a word from the Lord, an assurance of God's will. He offered his sacrifices to inquire from God. In the night the voice of God came down: "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here am I." And the Lord said: "I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hands upon thine eyes." (Gen. 46:3,4)

Jacob was satisfied, no more worries, God was in control, his descendants will come back to possess the land. At 130 years old he had the joy of seeing the face of his son Joseph; and lived more peaceably for another 17 years until he closed his eyes in the land of Goshen.

LESSONS FOR US TODAY

1.- A Great Nation. The kingdoms of David and Solomon were only a token of the Great Nation of the future: the New Earth, all of it, the Kingdom of the Lord.(Rev. 21 and 22) "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:18; 28:14) "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made... And to thy seed, which is Christ." (Gal. 3:16) And the Seed, Jesus Christ, commanded his disciples through the ages to gather the heirs of His Kingdom: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28:18-20)

"And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him." (Daniel 7:27) Your inheritance is there, dear Friend, in the earth made new, if by faith you accept it and obtain the heavenly citizenship.

2.- Jacob's Anguish. The night wrestling with God. At the time of the outpouring of the seven las plagues, before the Second Coming of Christ, the saved ones are among the lost on earth, but they don't know if all their sins had been pardoned and erased by the blood of the Lamb. It is a moment of deep anguish until they see the Lord of Salvation calling for them.

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