17th February 2023
Read - Hebrews 11:21 and Genesis 28:16-22
Message Alan Burke
The Lord in His grace had revealed Himself to Jacob and waking from his encounter with the Lord, Jacob is filled with awe, the world of his dream was of greater consequence to him than the mess he was in. He was filled with fear, not at what lay behind, the guilt of what he had done, or what lay ahead. No the fear he was filled with was the fear of the Lord, he was overwhelmed, for he had come face to face with God, he now understood the faith of his parents for himself, as he confesses… Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it (28:16).His fear is not of dread and terror, but that of a sinful man coming before a Holy God, overwhelmed and acutely conscious of his sin and unworthiness to stand in the divine presence.
This fear though would help deliver Jacob from sin, it would help to be obedient to the LORD, knowing that he had been redeemed, that the Lord had brought salvation to him in his grace, giving him hope and security. For us, just like Jacob we should be filled with the fear of the Lord, not like that of a slave at their master, or a captive before their enemy, of course not, rather to fear the LORD is to be filled with Awe, to be filled with reverence for Him, His law and His word, to desire not to offend Him, to live how He desires. Fear of the LORD comes knowing how in His initiative, in His grace he had brought us hope and security, this leads us to love our Lord, and just as this fear would help deliver Jacob from sin, and help him to be obedient to the Lord it will also help deliver us from sin and to be obedient to the LORD.
This awe, the knowledge of God’s Initiative, God’s Grace bringing Hope and Security means he responds rightly in how Jacob is led to worships the Lord. According to the customs of the age, Jacob using the stone that had served as his pillow, that had guarded his head erects it as a pillar that functions as a witness, and a monument to the stairway from heaven and the Lord standing there. Then using the oil he had taken for his journey he consecrated it making a vow to the Lord. In what Jacob was doing he was publicly declaring, publicly worshiping the Lord God, the stone bore witness to that. His experience of God result in heartfelt worship; faith consists of more than inner, spiritual feelings, it finds expression in corporate, public, tangible acts of worship. For us, the experience of the Lord’s salvation should lead us to fear Him and to worship, to publicly declare who He is and all that He has done. We come confidently before him just like Jacob, not it what we have done but because of what he has done on our behalf.
At the end of his life Jacob who had believed that he would never see his son Jospeh again blessed his sons, the eldest Manasseh to Jacob’s right and the youngest Ephraim to his left. Years before Jacob had used deception to receive the blessing despite the promise of God that the older would serve the younger. There would be no deception in Jacob’s tent, he crossed his hands and laid his right hand on Ephraim and his left hand on Manasseh.
This displeased Joseph for Manasseh was his firstborn and custom dictated that he should have the place of prominence, but Jacob had come full circle. Gone was the trickery of his youth and now he understood that the ways of the Lord were not our ways. Jacob known as Israel with eyes of faith gazed into the future seeing that Manasseh would be great but his younger brother would be greater still. What mattered for Jacob in the carnage of his life just like his da, was that he was saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The faith he had was in Christ, he was saved Christ, they only faith that saves is in Christ! For every believer it is by faith alone in Christ alone that we are saved. Just as Jacob was heavily flawed, he uses we who are likewise heavily flawed for his glory.
Q79 Which is the tenth commandment?
The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’ s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’ s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’ s. (Exod. 20:17)