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Bible Pathways - Jan. 11, 2007



Genesis 31

In Today's Scripture Reading:

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

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

After 20 years, Jacob was returning home with his 2 wives, 2 concubines, 11 sons and 1 daughter, and many servants and flocks. Esau, who had maliciously 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, servants, and flocks into two groups, reasoning that if Esau should come upon one camp and destroy it, the remaining camp could escape in the opposite direction.

Then, in the dark of night, Jacob was left alone. He earnestly prayed and reminded the Lord that He had said: Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee (32:9). There is a lesson to be learned from Jacob. We need to know what God has said, and then we too need to rely on His promises. Most important, Jacob was praying for the fulfillment of the Covenant promise concerning the Messiah that God had made to His grandfather Abraham (22:18; 26:4; compare Acts 3:25).

This godly and humble servant of the Lord spent the night alone with God, prevailing in prayer. Following this, he was conferred with the highest honor given by God to any man in Old Testament history: Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed (overcome) (Genesis 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 also requires struggle: Strive to enter in at the strait (narrow) gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24; Matthew 7:13-14).

Even though we are faced with many difficulties, like Jacob we can, through prevailing prayer, be overcomers because Jesus promised: In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

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 pre-incarnate state. I and My Father are One (John 10:30).

Word Studies:

31:1 glory =ealth; 31:19 images =b> family idols; 31:30 sore longedst after =reatly longed to return home; 31:36 chode =b> argued; 32:2 host =b> army encampment; 32:16 drove =b> herd; 32:25 hollow =b> hip socket; 32:28 prevailed =b> overcame; 32:31 halted =b> limped; 33:2 hindermost =b> last; 33:14 softly =b> slowly; 33:17 booths =b> temporary shelters (tabernacles) (Leviticus 23:42-43).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Charles & Josephine Van Boskirk The Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Vicki Bartels The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in the Far-East sponsored by Mrs. Rosemarie Styles Bible Pathway Media Producer: Rick Hash Government Official: Rep. Michael Turner (OH) Country: Botswana (1 million) in southern Africa Major languages: English and Setswana Limited religious freedom because of local chiefs 49% animist; 21% Protestant; 4% Roman Catholic Prayer Suggestion: Know that God answers prayer (Psalm 118:5).

Optional Reading: Matthew 11

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:10

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