January 11

Read Genesis 31 -- 33

In Today's Reading:

In an exciting climax to the personal problems and struggles Jacob has encountered in his life thus far, fleeing from the jealousy of Laban, he meets God face to face and prevails (32:24-43). This experience leaves him changed both in body and spirit. God even changes his name, no longer Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes -- but Israel -- literally 'Prince with God', whose family cannot be numbered (32:12). In the divine plan of God, he becomes Israel.

Verse for Today:

I am the God of Bethel . . . where you vowed a vow to Me: now arise, get out from this land, and return to the land of your kindred (Genesis 31:13).

Highlights:

Jacob's wealth causes jealousy; Jacob flees; covenant between Laban and Jacob; Jacob wrestles with the Angel of God who changed his name to Israel; reunion and peace between Jacob and Esau.

Jacob responded to the voice of God, left Mesopotamia, and began his long journey home. About halfway home he learned that Esau, along with 400 men, was on his way to meet him. At last, he was forced to face his brother who had vowed to kill him.

Although Jacob realized that his only hope rested in God (Genesis 32:24-30), he carefully made plans to protect his family before he faced Esau. After wrestling with God the night before, God not only gave Jacob the peace he was praying for but He also revealed how he now stood as a prince before God and with men, and has prevailed (32:28).

Like Jacob, many Christians are confronted with daily problems beyond their ability to cope with, but do not realize that, through these very problems, God is preparing them for His calling. As we continue to read day after day through the Bible and, as Jacob, earnestly pray, we come to realize that God is more concerned over our problems than we are. He has never forsaken us and has promised: I am with you always (Matthew 28:20), but not just as an unconcerned spectator. We can enjoy great peace of mind since it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). It is a fact. Regardless of circumstances, He has promised: My peace I give to you: not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27). The victorious Christian life is experienced as we trust His Word and are led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus assures us: When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth (John 16:13).

A Thought from Proverbs: The Lord by wisdom has founded the earth; by understanding has He established the heavens (3:19).

Christ Revealed:

As the Angel of God who guides (Genesis 31:11-13). The Angel speaks not merely in the Name of God, but as God, leaving no doubt that He is the Lord Jesus in His pre-incarnate state.

Word Studies:

31:1 glory = wealth; 31:2 toward = friendly to; 31:7 suffered = did not allow; 31:15 counted of = considered by; 31:19 images = household gods; 31:30 sore longedst = are very homesick; 31:34 furniture = saddle; 31:36 chode = argued; 31:40 drought = heat; 31:53 sware by the fear = promised solemnly; 32:2 host = camp; Mahanaim = two camps; 32:7 bands = companies; 32:15 kine = cows; 32:16 drove = herd; 32:25 hollow = socket; thigh = hip; 32:28 prevailed = overcame; literally, were able; 32:31 halted = limped; 33:2 hindermost = last; 33:13 tender = weak, young; 33:14 softly = slowly; 33:17 booths = shelters (Leviticus 23:42-43).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Calvin Dooley (CA) and Rep. Robert Simmons (CT) · Pray for one another · Country: Netherlands (16 million) in northwestern Europe · Major language: Dutch · Religious freedom · 39% Roman Catholic; 29% Protestant; 2% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Trust in the Lord: where He guides, He provides (Psalms 16:1-8).

Optional Reading: Matthew 11

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:3