Friday, October 25, 2013

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday October 27, 2013

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(Respond to GOD’s promises)
(Genesis 28:10-22)

After Jacob, with help from his mother Rebekah, had cheated his brother Esau out of his blessing, Esau sought an opportunity, by which he could kill Jacob. Knowing that their father Isaac was near death, Esau had planned to use that occasion to exact his revenge on his hated brother (Genesis 27:1-40). Word of Esau’s plan got back to Rebekah and she advised Jacob to flee to Paddan-aram to stay with his uncle Laban, until his brother got over his anger, and while he was there, maybe he could find him a wife from her brother’s house (Genesis 27:41-46).
In Genesis 28:1-9, Isaac gives Jacob the pure and legitimate blessing that had been previously passed on to him by his father Abraham. He reiterated to him, the blessing that Abraham had received from GOD, pertaining to prosperity and the land, and, he also urged Jacob, as Rebekah had earlier, to go to Paddan-aram to find a wife.
All those who inherited the “Covenant Blessing”, were not to endanger those blessings, by intermarrying with the Canaanites, who had already intermarried with people, who worshiped other Gods. GOD was, and is, concerned with the maintaining of the “Spiritual Purity”, not “racial purity” of HIS people, through all generations.
We see however, in verses 6-9, that Esau had absolutely no understanding of the “Abrahamic Covenant”, or the “Spiritual” ways and desires of GOD toward HIS people. Here, we see the “un-chosen son” of Isaac, ironically, going off and marrying into the family of the “un-chosen son” of Abraham, Ishmael. Esau was still struggling with trying to live life on the “human level”, and not seeking to rise beyond it to GOD, on the “spiritual level”.
In Genesis 28:10-22, we see Jacob’s spiritual nature begins to rise, to yet another level, as he realizes, perhaps for the first time, that GOD is in more than one place. In the Hebrew, the word “Bethel” means “House of GOD”. It is a “good place”, and, it is sometimes for humans, a “hard place”. It is a place where GOD is always near, and it is a place where GOD is known to have responded.
To Abraham, to Hagar, and to Isaac, the place of GOD’s response was “Beer Lahai Roi”. To Moses it was “Mt. Sinai”, and still, to David, it was in “the pastures of Bethlehem”. One can gather from the lives of the faithful men and women of the Bible, that scripture, without a doubt, implies that “GOD is everywhere”, all the time. HE is near us, whether we want HIM to be, or not, and HE sees all, hears all, and knows all that we do. The whole world then, in that sense, becomes, and is, a “Bethel”, or a “House of GOD”.
Here at Bethel, Jacob’s dream of “the stairway to Heaven” is based purely on GOD’s grace. It is here that GOD appears to Jacob to assure him of HIS promise of blessings, favor, and protection. This event, spurred in Jacob, a wonderful and worshipful response, and vow of loyalty that clearly signaled a change in the way he would walk spiritually, from that day forward. Jacob, now clearly understood, that GOD was present with him, anywhere he went. And, he also understood that GOD would bless, keep, and protect him, all the days of his life.  
Jacob acknowledged this life-changing event with the LORD, and then, made a commitment of his own. He made a vow that the GOD of his fathers, would also be his GOD. And so he placed a stone upright to commemorate the place where GOD had responded to him so gracefully. In addition, he vowed to give back to GOD, a tenth of everything that GOD blessed him with (Genesis 28:20-22). It is a comforting feeling, when we can come to rest in the thought that GOD is near us, and with us, wherever in the world, we may go.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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