Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
Dispensation of promise.
The true Biblical story of Jacob, his victories and defeats.
We have noted that Isaac had the moral courage to stand by a right decision no matter how much pressure or ridicule he was going through. You can bet that Esau did everything in his power for 43 years to remind his dad that he had been deceived by his wife Rebekah and his other son Jacob. However, even though his own personal feelings and love was hurt and wounded, it did not hinder Isaac into reversing a correct and doctrinal decision which was to give the family blessing to Jacob and not to Esau. Doctrine resident in his soul was stronger than personal love and stronger than the pressure of ridicule.
That is why Heb 11:20 says, By means of doctrine resident in the soul Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.
The “things to come” refers to those things we noted on Friday evening, the four unconditional covenants: the Abrahamic Covenant which defines the race, the Palestinian Covenant which defines the land, the Davidic Covenant defining the dynasty, and the New Covenant which defines the restoration of the client nation Israel.
So Isaac the man of failure emerges as Isaac the supergrace hero, the spiritual champion with noble courage as a man of doctrine. The wimp is gone and the spiritual man emerges because doctrine became more real to Isaac than anything else in life. Nothing better could ever happen to a former wimp.
So, with that in mind, we are now ready for Heb 11:21, and our introduction to how Jacob became a winner believer, By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
This seems to be another one of those verses that doesn‘t seem to mean much or which refers to some great accomplishment but as we will see, it means a lot. So we‘re ready for Heb 11:21 where we no longer have a wimp like Isaac but a chiseler known as Jacob and how a man can go from being a con-artist to spiritual maturity and visible heroship in one lifetime.
Heb 11:21, By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
Now, here again we see how a man as he was dying glorified God. So we must begin with a profile of Jacob so that you will know something of his background and life. First of all, Jacob was the son of Isaac, and the twin brother of Esau and an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was nicknamed Jacob because, at the birth of the twins, “his hand took hold of Esau”‘s heel”, Gen 25:26.
This is why we read in Gen 25:21-26, And Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, “Two nations [which are really not nations but individuals who will represent two nations who are about to clash with one another] are in your womb; And two peoples [Jews and Arabs, namely Iraq] shall be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.” When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.
Notice that it says that “his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau‘s heel”,
According to the accounts in Genesis, Jacob continued to “take hold of” the possessions of others, such as his brother Esau‘s birthright, Gen 25:29‑34, his father‘s blessing, Gen 27:1‑29, and his father‑in‑law‘s flocks and herds, Gen 30:25‑43; 31:1.
You often heard that the name Jacob means supplanter or swindler. Do you know what the word supplant means? Webster‘s Dictionary says it means, to overthrow by force or treachery or deception. So they named Jacob “one who overthrows”! From his birth he seems to have that ingrained trait to outdo his brother or anyone else who was in his path. Jacob had a nasty habit of deception and he handled it magnificently with the habit of lies. His family traits that he picked up from his father and grandfather made him a good liar.
Jacob also is known for purchasing his brother Esau‘s birthright and blessings for just one bowl of beans. And, as we will see, he waited for an opportunity and then seized it. Be careful of those in your life who are opportunists, like Judas in Mat 26:16, And from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Him. Remember what the apostle Paul said concerning Satan and the KOD in Eph 4:27, and do not give the devil an opportunity. What happened with Esau is that he came in from hunting one day and he was starving so much so that he thought he was going to die, so he said the heck with my future blessings I want something NOW! Therefore, like so many believers he sold out to satisfy his flesh.
Therefore, Jacob took advantage of his brother‘s time of weakness and then he deceitfully obtained his father‘s blessing.
Then when Esau found out that Jacob had taken advantage of him and deceived his father Isaac, Esau then sought to kill Jacob and so Jacob ran and escaped to Paddan‑aram. Paddan-aram represents the place of pride and arrogance while running away from the plan of God. There God turned a curse into a blessing and Jacob received the vision of what many call Jacob‘s ladder where God confirms the covenant of Abraham to Jacob. This was one of the most dramatic moments in Jacob‘s life which occurred at Bethel in Gen 28:10‑22.
Gen 28:10-13, Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. And he had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.
Notice there‘s a promise given to Jacob as it was given to Abraham and Isaac. And this is why the Lord Jesus Christ says as one of his greatest titles that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Gen 28:14-16, “Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”
Jacob said this after he had taken advantage of his father Isaac and his brother Esau and ran away from the place of God.
Gen 28:17-21, And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on its top. And he called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father”‘s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God.
There goes Jacob again - trying to make deals with God.
Gen 28:22, “And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God‘s house; and of all that Thou dost give me I will surely give a tenth to Thee.”
This experience at Bethel, which means the house of God, occurred when he left the family home at Beersheba to travel to Haran, the residence of his uncle Laban. And so on the way, as he stopped for the night at Bethel, he had a dream of a staircase reaching from earth to heaven with angels upon it and the Lord above it. He was so impressed by the words of the Lord, promising him inheritance of the land, and his descendants “as the dust of the earth” that Jacob dedicated the site as a place of worship, calling it Bethel (literally, House of God). Now, many may be impressed but remember Jacob was always known for making deals!
Next, he lived in Haran with his uncle Laban for over 20 years. There he served his uncle Laban for fourteen years for Leah and Rachel, the two daughters of Laban. That‘s the passage where he wanted to marry Rachel so bad that he said to Laban what can I do to get her? Laban said, “Be my servant for 7 years and you can have her at the end of the seven years.” Jacob said, “Alright and then seven years later uncle Laban gave him the surprise of his life on his wedding day, he tricked Jacob and behind the wedding veil was his homely daughter Leah and not Rachel. Jacob was reaping what he sowed!
So Jacob aid “I‘ll serve you another 7 years for Rachel, and he did and finally received her. Now, don‘t feel sorry for Jacob, he was like the Irish, he didn’t get mad, he got even. After being deceived by Laban concerning his first daughter, he deceived and stole all of uncle Laban‘s flocks and herds. In fact, he took almost everything that uncle Laban had with the exception of his tent and a pillar. So then he became dissatisfied with Laban‘s treatment of him and he returns to the land of Canaan. You see, Laban was just like him! As the saying goes, what goes around comes around!
However, on his way back to the promise land Canaan, he dreads meeting his brother Esau so he sends ahead presents to try and buy him. Wait to you see the order of the presents. He will still try and connive his elder brother. Then on his way back to Canaan, he wrestles with the Lord Jesus Christ and his name is then changed to Israel. It was at night, and he found himself suddenly engaged in a wrestling match in the darkness. This match lasted until the breaking of the dawn. In this match, the socket of Jacob”‘s hip was put out of joint as he struggled with this mysterious stranger, but he refused to release his grip until he was given a blessing. And for the first time in the narrative of Genesis, Jacob had been unable to defeat an opponent. When asked to identify himself in the darkness, he confessed he was Jacob, the heel‑grabber.
But Jacob‘s struggling earned him a new name. For his struggle “with God and with men” in which he had prevailed, his name was changed to Israel, literally, Prince with God. In return, he gave a name to the spot that marked the change; it would be called Peniel ‑ which means “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved”, Gen 32:30. Well, look at the passage in case you don”‘t believe me.
Gen 32:24-30, Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. And when he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob‘s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” And he said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”
Now, for those of you who may be wondering is this a contradiction in the word of God because the Bible says in Exo 33:20, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” That is talking about our Lord‘s deity not his humanity or when he appears in the Old testament as a Theophany!
Then we will see Jacob‘s reconciliation with Esau. Then his daughter, Dinah, is raped. Then there is the incest of his son, Reuben, with his concubine, Bilhah. He then loses his favorite son Joseph and his grief over the loss of Joseph causes him to age. Then he hears that Joseph is still alive so he moves to Egypt. Pharaoh then receives him, and is blessed by Jacob. The land of Goshen is assigned to Jacob and there he prospers. The point is like all of us, Jacob had his ups and downs...but he didn‘t quit. So, my friends that is a quick profile on the life of Jacob!
What I want you to see once again is that God works all of these things together for good for Jacob because one way or the other, Jacob finally learned to love God. Remember that all believers are commanded to love God in Mar 12:30, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” However, if Bible doctrine or the words of Christ are not abiding in you, you do not have love for God, this is according to Joh 5:38-42.
Joh 5:38-42, “And you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.”
Notice very carefully what He said. In verse 38 you do not have “His word” abiding in you. In verse 42, therefore, you do not have the love for God “in” yourselves. So if a believer really loves God, it will be manifested by his desire to hear God‘s doctrines, Joh 8:47.
Joh 8:47, “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
Not only will you hear doctrine but “if you love the Lord” you will keep His doctrines, Joh 14:15.
Joh 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.”
This means to watch over carefully, to keep, to hold, to preserve and to pay attention to, therefore to retain! And this is something that you should do and you should never take the communication of doctrine for granted! And this is a constantive aorist tense which means that you guard or keep His word by making continual decisions to hear doctrine and not to quit! And it is doctrine abiding in Christians, not works, that reveals to the Father how much we love Him.
Joh 14:21-23, “He who has My commands and guards them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will guard My doctrine; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.”
Therefore, if you guard or keep God‘s Word in you, God‘s love will be in you, Joh 15:10.
Joh 15:10, “If you keep My commands, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commands, and abide in His love.
Your capacity to love depends on your intake of doctrine. In fact, having God‘s mind or Bible doctrine is that which produces God‘s love in the local assembly, Phi 2:2, make my happiness complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. So, keeping doctrine is the only way to love with God‘s love,
Loving God is also revealed with impersonal love toward one another, 1Jo 4:7, Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
So loving God and His people can only come through knowledge of doctrine.
1Jo 4:16-21, And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
The mature believer isn‘t afraid of anything. God the Father expects you to love God the Son as much as He does. That is the divine standard, but it is only possible through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit and the intake of Bible doctrine. Since God is invisible and the object of category one love, we must see and love Him through doctrine in the soul. We can only see God and love Him through His Word. The reversionist doesn‘t love God because he is under Satan‘s policy of evil. The immature believer doesn‘t love God because he too lacks Bible doctrine in the soul.
You cannot love God unless you know God, and you cannot know God unless you have metabolized enough pertinent doctrine, 1Pe 1:8, Eph 3:18‑19, Heb 6:10, 2Ti 1:13‑14, Col 3:1‑2. For example, 1Pe 1:8 says, and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe Him,