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Bible Pathways 01/11/2003

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 . . . Go back to the land of your fathers . . . and I will be with you . . . I am the God of Bethel . . . where you made a solemn vow to Me (Genesis 31:3,13).

After 20 years, Jacob was returning home with his two wives, two concubines, 11 sons and one daughter, servants, and flocks. Esau, who had threatened to kill Jacob (27:41-45), was approaching with 400 men; 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: Go back to your land and to your family, and I will make things go well for you (32:9). We need to learn a lesson from Jacob: first to know what God has said and then to remind the Lord that we are relying on His promises.

Jacob was also praying for the future fulfillment of the covenant promise

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 will no longer be Jacob . . . It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed (32:28). Through the centuries, the people of God would be called by his name — Israelites. Through his son Judah, Jesus the Messiah was promised (49:10).

We too are in a covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Savior and our Mediator, who declared that the Christian life requires struggle: Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won't be able (Luke 13:24).

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. The Father and I are one (John 10:30).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Calvin Dooley (CA) and Rep. Robert Simmons (CT) · Country: Libya (5 million) in North Africa · Major languages: Arabic and Italian · No form of Christian witness to Libyans is permitted · 98% Muslim; 2%

Optional Reading: Matthew 11

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:3

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