Jacob is Named Israel

God asks Jacob to return to Bethel. Jacob requests that all of his company to out away their foreign gods and to cleanse themselves for the journey. Goods, clothing and jewelry were put away.

The people from the surrounding cities did not pursue Jacob because they knew God was with Him. They were afraid of the wrath of God. Jacob returned to Bethel and God appeared to him again. Jacob’s name becomes Isreal and God continues the promise that was given to Abraham. Nations shall proceed from Jacob and he and his descendants will inherit the land.

Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.” (Genesis 35:11, 12 NKJV)

Jacob has twelve sons and they become the twelve tribes of Israel.

From Heaven or from Men

Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?” But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?” (Luke 20:1-4 NKJV)

Is it from Heaven or from men?

This is a key question that is both relevant today and had to be answered by the Pharisees when Jesus walked the Earth. The answer was, of coarse, from Heaven. But, the Pharisees would not admit that Jesus was the Son of God. Men create rules. Men have gods. The God of Heaven and Earth will honor those rules and the consequences of those rules. However, we are ultimately accountable to God of Heaven. He is the one true God that created us.

I am always fascinated how the Pharisees knew the scriptures and missed that the actual Son of God was right there among them. It shows how we can be so totally consumed with our own actions and knowledge. The Pharisees would test Jesus again and again. Jesus made them uncomfortable because His very existence challenged their authority, their way of life. They spied on him, hoping to catch him saying something he shouldn’t have.

And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people —for they knew He had spoken this parable against them. So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. (Luke 20:19, 20 NKJV)

Their opportunity never came.

But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent. (Luke 20:26 NKJV)

Dinah & Shechem

Dinah was the daughter of Leah and Jacob. Jacob was called Israel and it appears that the his family began to take that on as a tribal name. They were called apart from the rest of the land. However, Leah decides to go out to see other women in the land on her own accord.

Now Dinah the daughter of Leah…went out to see the daughters of the land. (Genesis 34:1 NKJV)

Turns out that this was not a very good idea as it sets for a series of events that would not end well. Shechem, a prince of the country and a Hivite (from the Cannanites), came from a line that was to be driven from the land. He sees Dinah and becomes very attracted to her, so much so that he violates her sexually. The violation appears to be that Shechem is from an uncircumcised people, they did not marry and he did not have Jacob’s permission.

And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her. His soul was strongly attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young woman and spoke kindly to the young woman. So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young woman as a wife.” (Genesis 34:2-4 NKJV)

The news is delivered to Jacob and his family.  Jacob shows maturity by remaining in peace until Shechem and his father come to meet with him. His sons, however, take the incident as an offense to the whole family/”tribe”.  Hamor, Shechem’s father, makes an honest appeal to have his son marry Dinah and the daughters of Jacob and they would share the land. The sons of Jacob are still filled with anger and they come up with a plot. They decide to ask Shechem and his family to be circumcised and then he can marry Dinah. Then, they waited until the third day, in which the males of Shechem’s people were in the most pain, and Simeon and Levi attacked the city. They killed Shechem, his father Harmor and all of the males. Because of the offense that Shechem made toward their sister, the rest of the brothers plundered the entire city and took their children and their wives as captives. Dinah was in the city, which indicates that the agreement for marriage had been agreed to formally.

Because of Simeon and Levi’s actions, Jacob will end up excluding them from his blessing when he is on his death bed. Simeon and Levi remained unrepentant.

But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a harlot?” (Genesis 34:31 NKJV)

A Prayer for Divine Scrutiny and Redemption – a Psalm of David

Vindicate me, O Lord,
For I have walked in my integrity.
I have also trusted in the Lord;
I shall not slip.
Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.

I have not sat with idolatrous mortals,
Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
I have hated the assembly of evildoers,
And will not sit with the wicked.

I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O Lord,
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,

And tell of all Your wondrous works.
Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place where Your glory dwells.
Do not gather my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
In whose hands is a sinister scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes.

But as for me, I will walk in my integrity;
Redeem me and be merciful to me.
My foot stands in an even place;
In the congregations I will bless the Lord.

(Psalm 26 NKJV)

Jerusalem’s Prophecy and King…From the One on a Colt

With power, Jesus commands the disciples to go into a village and bring back a colt for him to ride into the city of Jerusalem. He knew exactly how they would find the colt and that the owners would ask them why they needed it.

“Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’” (Luke 19:30-31 NKJV)

Regardless of what anyone wanted, events had been seen into motion much more powerful than any human could control. These events had been foretold and were necessary. The King had come. The people lined the  the road with their own clothes in worship of their King.

What happens next is amazing. Jesus loves Jerusalem. The Son of God had come to them and they did not know. The events of the day were hidden from them.  He cries over the city because He knows what is going to happen to them.

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44)

It is important that understand the time we live in and that we search God’s heart. There is only one God and one King above any other. Amen.

Prayer Lessons from Psalm 25

Psalm 25 reveals timeless truths that we can use when praying.

To You, O Lord , I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. (Psalms 25:1, 2 NKJV)

Put our trust in God before anything else. We should not be ashamed if accept that He has forgiven our sin. Ask that evil would not triumph over us.

Other truths revealed:

– Those who wait on the Lord should not be ashamed.
– Those who do not wait but deal treacherously without cause should be ashamed.
– Teach me Your ways, Your truths and Your path Lord
– You are the God of my salvation and that’s why I will wait all day on You.
– The Lord has tender mercies and loving kindness.
– Ask the Lord not to remember your previous sins or transgressions.
– The Lord does not stoop low, He stands upright and teaches sinners in the Way.
– He guides the humble and also teaches them in the Way.
– For those who keep His testimonies and covenant, all of His paths lead to mercy and truth.
– Fear the Lord and He will teach you His ways.
– Keep your eyes always on The Lord so that your feet are not trapped in a net.
– Tell the Lord of your affliction, pain and troubles, as He is aware of them.
– Let integrity and uprightness be our way.
– Redeem Israel, God, out of all her troubles.

Jacob Wrestles with God

Jacob was afraid to be reunited with his brother Esau and so he develops a plan to send his company before him with gifts and praise. The idea was to get his brother into good spirits so that Esau would not harm Jacob and his family. Jacob even reminds God of His own promise that He had made earlier.

Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ” (Genesis 32:11, 12 NKJV)

What happens next is extremely fascinating. Jacob wrestles with God in the night.

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. (Genesis 32:24 NKJV)

Not only do they wrestle, but God does not win. Jacob holds on for dear life and tells God that he will not let go unless God blesses him. God says He wants to be let go before day break.

Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” (Genesis 32:25, 26 NKJV)

This is the story of how Israel gets its name. The twelve tribes of Israel come from Jacob.

So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:27-30 NKJV)