Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
Dispensation of Promise. Jacob.
As we have seen Jacob is now on the way back home to his promise land of Canaan and immediately he will bump into Esau who has an army of 400 men and has been very successful in cheating people and robbing people, etc. We will begin with the main passage in Gen 32:1, Now as Jacob went on his way, the angels of God met him. These angels were sent by God to Jacob to make him conscious of the heavenly presence and to assure him of divine protection.
Gen 32:2, And Jacob said when he saw them [that is the angels], “This is God’s camp or army.” So he named that place Mahanaim. Mahanaim means that Jacob recognizes that the angels had been there with him all the time even though he could not see them. Remember that according to the word of God, we have certain angels who have been assigned to us as Heb 1:14 says, Are they not all ministering spirits [angels], sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? Although they are invisible under normal conditions, God’s angels are none the less real and powerful.
Gen 32:3-4, Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. He also commanded them saying, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: ‘Thus says your servant Jacob,” I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now;
Make sure you understand something, when Jacob comes back, he brings a lot of wounds and scars with him including four wives and eleven children. Now, by sight, the odds seem to be overwhelming and it will look like Jacob is going to be destroyed by the 400 man army of Esau. Jacob is still relying on human viewpoint and human solutions which are no solutions or really a waste of our time. Notice in verse 4, that Jacob sent servants and instructs them, saying, “When you get to Esau my brother, say to him, “Thus you shall call him my lord Esau and say I am his servant Jacob,”
Notice Jacob says for his servants to call Esau ‘My lord Esau.’ And then he has them refer to himself as “his servant Jacob.” That’s not the way Jacob had spoken before. He had manipulated Esau for the birthright and had stolen the blessing. He had been a deceiver and a liar but now he is trying to come across as if he has changed. The point is, he’s still relying on human power and human gimmicks...he’s still operating like a phony!
Then in Gen 32:5, Jacob tells his servants to make sure that they tell his brother Esau that Jacob has oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female servants; and that he has sent them to tell his brother Esau so that he may find favor in his sight.” Jacob’s mind did not dwell on God, instead he remembers Esau’s threat to kill him and therefore he decided to use some human viewpoint solutions to try and solve his problems. The mention of his wealth was intended to imply that he no longer wanted anything from Esau! All he wanted was to find favor in Esau’s eyes.
Jacob is like so many people today, they hurt and lie to others and then when those same individuals are no longer of any use to them, then they want to be at peace with them. In other words, “I got what I wanted from you, let’s just have peace now!” However, in Gen 32:6, And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
The messengers returned with terrible news according to Jacob’s human viewpoint thinking. Now, Jacob had just escaped from one company of his enemies, Laban and his family, now another was advancing to meet him, namely, Esau with his four hundred men. Esau, on his part, had apparently heard that Jacob was migrating back to Canaan. And though his anger against Jacob had long since cooled off, he didn’t know what Jacob’s intentions might be. For all he knew, Jacob might be coming with a large body of fighting men to claim his promised boundaries and possessions and to overcome or defeat Esau.
So Esau learned of Jacob’s approach toward Canaan, he assembled an army of his own and marched forward to meet Jacob, prepared for whatever eventuality might come. In other words, we have two men thinking evil about each ones motivation and plans. The real problem here is not that Esau is coming with 400 men, the real problem is that Jacob’s mind is racing in many different directions and he is filled with fear! How do we know that?
Gen 32:7, Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed;
This is the main problem which is fear, a mental attitude sin, characterized by panic especially when you are in a dangerous situation. Every time fear comes into your life, you know you are not living the Christian way of life. If you have personal love for God the Father and you understand His integrity, you don’t need to claim specific promises for every situation, you simply just need to rest on the divine essence that He possesses and His integrity as God. If you love God, you therefore know God.
Therefore, once you have become matured in virtue-love, and by that I mean once you are confident how much God truly does love you, you’re not afraid of anything whereby you need promises, for now you know the One who makes the promises. You understand God’s integrity, and therefore, you are dependent on Him. We never start by loving God. God starts by loving us! We didn’t find God! God found us!
Joh 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you!”
Our relationship with God begins by truly understanding the impersonal unconditional love that God had toward us! God’s love for us is based upon who God is not who we are. Never forget that God loved us before the foundation of the world. And that’s why in Acts 2:23, the Trinity held a council,
Act 2:22-25, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know ‑ this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
This was the plan of God from eternity past that delivered up TLJC on the cross for us. Do you remember the “for us” passages I gave years ago?
All of these “for us” passages and many others (1Co 10:6, Gal 3:13, Eph 5:2, 1Th 5:10, Heb 9:24, 1Jo 3:16) are based upon His love for us, All of these, and many others. Therefore, His love for us was not based upon something we did or didn’t do, Eph 1:3-4, tells us that! And what does Eph 1:3-4, say?
Eph 1:3-4, Worthy of praise and glorification be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He elected us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.
God loved us billions and billions and billions of years ago and not only elected us to be His children but also blessed us with the most fantastic blessings even imaginable. As the apostle Paul said in Eph 3:20...He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.
God loves all believers! Winners and losers! This is why even though God knew in eternity past who would be a winner and who would be a loser He still blessed losers. Which is why losers have rewards that God ordained for them to have and “willed” for them to have but in 1Co 3;15, they suffer loss of those rewards. Why? Plain old NVTD! Losers have an escrow or an eternal savings account! Losers have equal privilege and equal opportunity!
Just like Winners have an escrow or eternal savings account! Winners have equal privilege and equal opportunity! Now, how can God love losers? How can God love Jacob? How can God love the carnal believer? The same way He loves winners and the same way He loves the immature believer......with an impersonal unconditional love! Why? And How?
All losers and winners have the perfect righteousness of God given to them at the moment of salvation and God’s loves His righteousness. And God blesses us; He keeps us alive; He gives us some measure of prosperity; All from His love which loves His righteousness in us! This is very vital for you to understand! You must understand WHY God loves you! And why does God love you? Because you possess His righteousness and therefore His justice is free to love you with an impersonal unconditional love.
So in Gen 32:7 which says, Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; And as we noted many times before, if you have personal love for God the Father you will understand His character and His integrity. And if you love God, that means that you “know” God.
Now, this is why the apostle John wrote 1Jo 4:16 which says, 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.
Notice the phrase “we have come to know” is the per-act-ind of ginosko which means to know, to perceive, to become aware of or to comprehend intellectually, to see things as they truly are. The perfect tense describes a completed action of knowing God. It doesn’t mean that you know everything that you need to know, it simply means that you have been faithful in taking in doctrine. The active voice says that you produce the action of the verb which means that you have made daily decisions to take in doctrine. The indicative mood points to the fact that this is a reality in your life, in fact, the most important thing to you. This means that you are a fanatic when it comes to your daily relationship with God...fanatic is where get the word fan from. And what is the verb that is in view?
It is “have believed” which is the per-act-ind of pisteuo meaning to believe, to be convinced, to have confidence about something, or to metabolize doctrine. You must come to know and come to believe how much God truly loves you! And that’s Jacob’s problem! He hasn’t been learning doctrine on a consistent basis!
1Jo 4:16, 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.
Our relationship with God begins by truly understanding the impersonal unconditional love that God had toward us!
So, when Psa 33:5 says, He loves righteousness and justice; it simply means that all losers and winners have the perfect righteousness of God given to them at the moment of salvation and God’s loves His righteousness.
And God blesses us, He keeps us alive, He gives us some measure of prosperity. All from His love which loves His righteousness in us! This is very vital for you to understand! You must understand why God loves you! And why does God love you? Because you possess His righteousness and therefore His justice is free to love you with an impersonal unconditional love. And when you understand Why God loves you, you will be free! Free from guilt! Free from worry! Free from condemnation! Free from self-introspection!
You will realize Rom 8:38-39, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, we must come to know and believe the love which God has for us! And that’s why all those things about Jacob are pointed out to us by God the Holy Spirit so that we will be encouraged to keep going. If a man like Jacob can make it so can you!
1Jo 4:16, And we have come to know and have believed the love which God not has but keeps on having for us.
And I say “keeps on having” because in verse 16 when it says, the love that God has for us...the word “has” is the pres-act-ind of echo which means “He keeps on having love for us.” The present tense means this is habitual...when is it present? Right now!
By what verse 16 says when it says “the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” By that, something happens!
1Jo 4:17, By this, love [impersonal unconditional virtue love] is perfected or matured with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment;
Now there is a purpose in all of this and the purpose is given next. This is what separates the winner from the loser! The subjunctive mood of the word confidence says maybe you will have confidence, maybe you will not.
1Jo 4:17, By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment or evaluation, because as He is, so also are we in this world.
He has made available to us everything He is, in this lifetime. Now, in verse 18, we see the antithesis of impersonal unconditional love which is fear. What is the antithesis or the opposite of God’s love? It is fear! Which is why 1Jo 4:18 says, 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.
The nominative singular noun phobos can refer to many types of fears. This of course we get the various phobias from. For example, claustrophobia is a fear of being confined in a room or a small space. Acrophobia is a dread of high places. Zoophobia is a fear of animals. Agoraphobia is fear of open places. Social phobia is the experience of intense anxiety when an individual is presented with a social situation.
Many people live in fear because they subject themselves to idiotic periodicals or idiotic television programs that are always anticipating the worst. Like nuclear warfare and everyone going to die! Or the markets going to crash. Bible doctrine will keep you straight on all of this! Certainly there are always going to be future disasters just as there have been past historical disasters but the amazing thing is that a believer with doctrine is a survivor! If you have no confidence in God you will constantly have certain fears which verse 18 says “involves punishment” which means that it torments you!
And that’s what it does to Jacob in Gen 32. Fear constantly manufactures the most awful torture in the world! Awful because most of the things people fear never happen but they go through these things as though they did happen. Fear is nothing more or less than a system of self torture and frightened people are constantly torturing themselves! So you need to ask yourself a question that only you can answer! “Do you entertain a lot of fear in your life?” “Do you entertain a little fear?” “Are you frightened by what the future holds?”
Everywhere we turn today fear is prevalent! And it is a marvelous device by that creature genius Satan to confuse and distract the human race from reality. As far as the Christian way of life is concerned there is really no excuse for being frightened about anything!
So when Jacob starts to come back into the land and bumps into Esau’s army, he falls back on human viewpoint and tries to use his smarts again. However, I think if he had learned to wait upon the Lord a divine solution would have become manifested again and he would not have had to use human viewpoint and carnal thinking as the solution to solve his problems,
For as Isa 40:31 says, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
The issue is do we believe this principle or not!