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Bible Pathways - Jan. 11, 2008



Genesis 31

Highlights In Today's Reading:

An exciting climax to the personal problems and struggles Jacob has encountered in his life and thus far overcome. But when he was told that Esau, who vowed to kill him, was coming to meet him with 400 men he was fearful for his family and prayed all night.

Laban and his sons eventually became hostile and envious of Jacob's prosperity. They assumed that Jacob had employed unfair manipulation to gain their father's riches. Jacob foresaw the coming conflict and, in prayer, the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers (31:3). So without giving Laban any notice, Jacob departed, taking his family and livestock with him.

After a seven-day pursuit, Laban overtook him and complained about Jacob's conduct. But he was able to make peace with Laban. Meanwhile, Jacob continued as God had said to return unto the land of thy fathers. But when he discovered that his brother, Esau, was coming to meet him with 400 men, he could see no visible hope of survival for himself and his family. Fearing the upcoming meeting with Esau, he prayed all night.

Jacob fully depended upon the mercy of God to deliver him and his family from the overwhelming odds of 400 armed men. God even changed his name — no longer Jacob, but now Israel. This profound name literally means "Prince with God" whose descendants cannot be numbered (32:12). No other person in Hebrew history has received such a distinguished name.

Jacob's prayer is a blueprint for praying. He was honest and specific with the Lord and claimed God's promise even as he wrestled with the angel (32:9-12,24; Hosea 12:4). He prayed for deliverance and God answered the prayer of Jacob and sent angels to protect him. As he had been delivered from Laban, he was also delivered from Esau and his 400 men.

Oh, how often we have set our heart to do God's will only to discover how weak and insufficient we are. Through Jacob's life we see that God must train us in the school of difficulties and tragedies to develop our faith in Him. We all need to be conscious of His presence and His assurance that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Thought for Today:

When we recognize our inability to cope with our problems God begins to provide us with His power (II Corinthians 12:9-10). As we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct and protect us on our journey through life (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Christ Revealed:

As the Angel (Messenger) of God who guides and provides our necessities (Genesis 31:11-13; Matt. 6:33; John 10:30).

Word Studies:

31:2 not toward him =ot favorable; 31:7 suffered =ermitted; 31:15 counted of him =onsidered by him as; devoured also our money =pent the money he got for us as dowries; 31:18 of his getting =hich he acquired; carried =rove; 31:19 images =ousehold idols; 31:30 longedst after =re homesick for; 31:31 peradventure =erhaps; 31:32 discern =ecognize; 31:34 furniture =addle; 31:36 wroth =ngry; chode with =eprimanded; 31:50 afflict =istreat; 31:52 over =eyond; 32:8 smite =ttack; 32:10 bands =amps; 32:12 seed =escendants; 32:13 came to his hand =e had received; 32:15 milch =ilking; kine =ows; 32:16 drove =erd; 32:21 company =amp; 32:31 halted = limped; 33:2 hindermost =ast; grace =avor; 33:13 tender =eak, frail; 33:14 softly =lowly; 33:17 booths =emporary shelters.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Mrs. Peggy Via and the English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Bett Brown • Assistant to the Ex. Dir. of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Terry Hall • Government Official: Rep. Michael Turner (OH) • Country: Albania (3.1 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Albanian and Greek • Newly opened to evangelism • 41.5% Christian; 39% Muslim; 19.5% non-Religious/other; .2% Baha'i; .01% Jewish • Prayer Suggestion: Study and heed the instruction of the Word of God that your prayers may be heard (Proverbs 1:28-30).

Optional Reading: Matthew 11

Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 1:8

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