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Bible Pathways 01/11/05

January 11

Read Genesis 31 - 33

In Today's Reading:

Laban's jealousy; Jacob flees; Jacob wrestles with the Angel of God; his name changed to Israel; peace between Jacob and Esau

The greed of Laban and his sons resulted in a hostile attitude toward Jacob, the servant of God. The LORD said to Jacob, Return to the land of your fathers . . . and I will be with you. . . . I am the God of Bethel, where you . . . vowed a vow (made a pledge) to Me: now arise, get . . . out from this land, and return to the land of your kindred (Genesis 31:3,13).

After 20 years, Jacob was returning home with his two wives, two concubines, 11 sons and one daughter, many servants, and flocks. Esau, who had threatened to kill Jacob (27:41-45), was approaching with 400 men and Jacob was greatly afraid (32:3,6-7). He hastily divided his wives, children, and flocks into two groups, reasoning that if Esau should come upon one camp and destroy it, the remaining camp would escape in the opposite direction. In the dark of night, Jacob was then left alone. He earnestly prayed and reminded the Lord that He had said: Return to your country, and to your kindred, and I will deal well with you (32:9). There is a lesson to learn from Jacob: first, we need to know what God has said and then, we need to remind the Lord that we are relying on His promises. But most important, Jacob was praying for the future fulfillment of the Covenant promise that God had made to His grandfather Abraham.

This godly and humble servant of the Lord spent the night alone, agonizing in prayer, until he was conferred with the highest honor given by God to any man in Old Testament history: Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel (God Prevails): for as a prince you have power with God and with men, and have prevailed (overcome) (32:28). Through the centuries, the people of God would be called by his name - Israelites. Through his son Judah, Jesus the Messiah would be promised (49:10) and come.

We too are in a covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Savior and our Mediator, who declared that the Christian life also requires struggle: Strive to enter in at the strait (narrow) gate: for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24)

Christ Revealed:

As the Angel (Messenger) 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 preincarnate state. I and My Father are One (John 10:30).

Word Studies:

31:1 glory = wealth; 31:19 images = idols; 31:30 sore longedst = very homesick; 31:36 chode = argued; 32:2 host = army, company; 32:16 drove = herd; 32:25 hollow = hip socket; 32:28 prevailed = overcame; 32:31 halted = limped; 33:2 hindermost = last; 33:14 softly = slowly; 33:17 booths = temporary shelters (tabernacles) (see Leviticus 23:42-43).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for BP Staff: Ilene Wallace · Government Officials: Rep. Calvin Dooley (CA), Rep. Robert Simmons (CT), and Rep. Michael Turner (OH) · Country: Guinea (8 million) on the Atlantic coast of western Africa · Major languages: French and tribal languages · Freedom for nationals, but strict limitations on missionaries · 83% Muslim; 12% tribal religions; 4% Roman Catholic; .6% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Your prayers should be lifted up with confidence in God (Psalm 56:9,11).

Optional Reading: Matthew 11

Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:22

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