In message 66 of the Life-Study of Genesis, we begin to cover the record of Jacob who is one of the most interesting people in the book of Genesis. Actually, as far as the experience of life is concerned, Jacob should not be considered as a separate individual. For example, with Jacob we can see the matter of being chosen, but we cannot see the matter of God’s calling. To see God’s calling we need the experience of Abraham. We need the four aspects of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph in order to have the complete experience of life. In Jacob we can see God’s selection (25:21-26; 1 Pet. 2:9). Like Jacob, we have been chosen by God. Even if we get tired of the Christian life and try to get away from the Lord, we cannot get away because we have been chosen by God. Jacob was chosen before his birth and according to the foreknowledge of God. He was not chosen by accident. Also, Jacob was not chosen by God of his own strife or of his own works. God’s choosing doesn’t depend on whether we are good or bad. Jacob’s being chosen was of God who calls, of God’s mercy, and of God’s grace. “It is not of the one who wills, nor of the one who runs, but of God, the One who shows mercy” (Rom. 9:16). God’s selection in eternity past was followed by His predestination and His calling. The Lord’s calling, His gracious visitation, has “hooked” us. Yet all this is not without a purpose. God has a purpose in calling us: to transform us into kings. Isaac only knew to enjoy, not having much more purpose in his life. Jacob, however, experienced God’s dealing in order to transform him, a pitiful supplanter, into a prince of God bearing His image to express Him and exercising His dominion to represent Him.
In message 67 we begin to see more details related to Jacob’s being dealt with. It is interesting that the record of Jacob’s life occupies nearly half of the book of Genesis. This is because the process of transformation is a long process, requiring our whole lifetime. God sovereignly arranged all the circumstances in Jacob’s life, including that he would be born second after Esau. Although Jacob was smarter than Esau, he could not overcome Esau’s physical strength. However, he refused to admit defeat by holding onto Esau’s heel. Later, after Jacob had supplanted the birthright from Esau, he was forced to flee. Jacob did not want to leave his loving mother and father’s home, but he was forced to escape because Esau intended to kill him. God used all the people in Jacob’s life, including his father, mother, and brother, to work together for Jacob’s good (Rom. 8:28). This was so that God could fulfill the purpose of His selection. Those who are married should not be dissatisfied with their spouse because the marriage of God’s chosen ones is under His sovereignty. May we praise Him for His selection and thank Him for His transformation. Although transformation is a long process, eventually we will thank the Lord for His dealing with us in every situation.
In message 68, we see the significance of Jacob’s dream at Bethel. First, we see that it is significant that Jacob had the dream when he was wandering on a lonesome journey to see his Uncle Laban. Many of us can testify that we were not saved when we were at home in a comfortable situation. Rather, we were saved when we were lonesome and were forced to suffer. Second, it is very meaningful that Jacob used a stone for a pillow. He had been brought to a place where there were no man-made things, only God-created things to rely on. Lastly, Jacob dreamed of a ladder, on which the angels of God were ascending and descending. This ladder typifies Christ. Also, the ladder did not come down from heaven, but was already set up on the earth. According to our natural concept, when we were saved Christ was in heaven. However, according to our experience, Christ was directly in front of us on earth. We do not need to pray for the ladder to come down from heaven. This wonderful Christ, as the heavenly ladder, is always before us wanting to be experienced by us. This ladder issues in Bethel which is the church.
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