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Sunday, January 19, 2020

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Chapter TWENTY EIGHT


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

GENESIS 28 – Sonny Islas STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN BY SONNY ISLAS  
Watch the Facebook video of this teaching as taught at ETERNAL LIVING WORD Church, here!                                                                
                     
GENESIS 28:1-5
And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughers of Laban thy mother's brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother
.

At this point Jacob had to leave his family for two reasons and both were Rebekah’s ideas (This is probably where we get the expression “Momma knows best!”.
1. Esau’s murderous threats (GEN 27:41-42).
2. He was not to marry a Canaanite woman.

GENESIS 28:1 says,…Isaac… charged him [Jacob]… you shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.

Abraham commanded Eleazar to do the same for Isaac, saying,You will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites.” (GEN 24:3) Isaac learned this valuable lesson from His father Abraham and is now passing it down to his son Jacob.

We have to do the same. I had a talk with my sons recently, reminding them that when it’s time to date and choose a wife that they chose a true Christian. Then I asked them why they should marry a Christian and they gave me a couple good answers but then I asked what’s the main reason why you should marry a true Christian? Then I said, because the LORD commands it. Blue (my eldest) said, “Ohhhh (the light turned on)”.

Before I married Marla, my dad had a talk with me and one thing that stood out was, he said something along the lines of “Marla is a good godly girl.” And was (and still is) right!
In the New Testament God gives us the same command:

2 CORINTHIANS 6:14 says,
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
Marriage being the greatest “yoke” or bond there is.for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

1 CORINTHIANS 7:39b says,marry only in the LORD.”
Why not marry a Canaanite woman or in our case a non-believer? What’s so wrong with that?! Because Canaanite women were known to be extremely idolatrous. And both Abraham and Isaac feared that these women would cause their sons to fall into the grave sin of idolatry and trade the One True God – Yahweh for idols.

As we’ll soon read in detail, Jacob eventually marries his first cousins (Leah & Rachel; yet this wasn’t considered incest until LEV 18:20).
[vs. 3,4] And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.

Isaac finally and fully comes to his spiritual senses by blessing Jacob (God’s choice) and not Esau (his choice) with Abraham’s blessing.
Abraham’s blessing ultimately consisted of God Himself being their God. Material blessings – such as riches and mainly the promise land – Canaan/Israel. Physical blessings - such as posterity, nations and kings. Spiritual blessings – mainly Jesus the Messiah coming from their family line and the salvation of multiplied billions of Gentiles by faith in Jesus Christ.

GENESIS 28:6-9
When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram; And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife
.

We see here that two wrongs don’t make a right, that is, Esau already had two Canaanite wives (1st major wrong) but now he’s going to marry in the family (2nd major wrong, because he was multiplying wives something the LORD frowns upon). This is why Moses adds in verse 9b “in addition to the wives he had.” One wife per man and one husband per women has always been God’s plan. If he wanted Adam to have two wives, He would have pulled out two ribs, not one!

The reason for Esau’s strange move was to try and win Isaac’s (his father’s) favor to hopefully be blessed like Jacob.

GENESIS 28:10-15
10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of
.

“And behold a ladder” The ladder or stairway to heaven in Jacob’s dream pointed to a God who is personally involved with the affairs of men on earth. God sends His angels from heaven to earth on daily missions to do His will.
In JUDE 1:9 we find Michael the Archangel fighting with the devil over Moses’ body. In DANIEL 10 we find Gabriel fighting against the Prince of Persia (Demon) and then the Prince of Greece (Demon) with Michael's help. God sends Gabriel to Mary to announce the virgin birth of the Messiah (LUKE 1:26). A mighty multitude of angels appear to shepherds praising God and saying:Glory in the highest, and peace on earth, goodwill toward men!” (LUKE 2:13). Angels encouraged Jesus after He was tempted by Satan (MATT 4:11). Angels appear at Jesus’ empty tomb (JOHN 20:12). And we can go and on about how angels play a huge role in heaven and on earth.

This stairway to heaven has an even greater meaning than angel taking shifts. The ladder or stair way to heaven is none another than Jesus Christ Himself (only Jacob didn’t know this yet).
In JOHN 1:51 Jesus says something very profound to Nathanael “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God (the Father) ascending and descending UPON THE SON OF MAN.” This is Jacob’s dream in person and in real time! Jesus Himself is that stairway to heaven!!

That’s why Jesus responds to the question about how one gets to heaven, in JOHN 14:6I Am the [stair] way [the ladder to heaven] … No one goes to the Father but by Me.” Why? Because Jesus is the only ladder on earth that’s tall enough to reach heaven’s gate!”
God introduces Himself to Jacob by saying, “I Am the LORD (Yahweh) God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants (mainly his 12 sons/the twelve tribes of Israel).”
Jacob’s father Isaac prayed this promise over him but now God Himself speaks this promise over Him – literally.

Here we find that God is the God of individuals first. “I Am the LORD God OF Abraham, OF Isaac” Jacob knew and understood that Yahweh was the God of His fathers and family but today in verse 21 Jacob can say “the LORD shall be MY God (too).”

Growing up in a Christian home, I would say I’m a Christian because my parents were Christians but when I turned sixteen years of age, the LORD revealed Himself to me through preaching and at that point I was confident that I was not a Christian because of my parents but because like Jacob, I too said, “the LORD shall be MY God.” This is a vital lesson to instill in our child’s heart.

[vs. 15] “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 spoken to you.”
“Behold I AM with youThere isn’t a bigger and better blessing then to have God’s presence and protection in our lives. This is a promise the LORD makes to all of His children! To Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah and Israel and in the New Testament Jesus said and lo, I Am with you always, even to the end of the age” (MATT 28:20b).
And will keep [protect] you wherever you goand may I add and whatever we go through – because Jacob went through a whole lot with his trickster uncle Laban and the LORD was with him there.

And will bring you back to this landwhich the LORD faithfully does in GENESIS 31:13. The LORD promises to get us to our ultimate homeland – Heaven!

For I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.This reminds me of PHIL 1:6 which says,being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ

GENESIS 28:16-22
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. 17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. 18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. 20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: 22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee
.

Jacob says surely the LORD is in this place! And I did not know it.
The reality is that God is in every place and is ever present even when we’re unaware of Him. King David had a tight grip on this reality. PSALM 139:7 says,Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

Jacob says,How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!

And he called that place BethelBeth means ‘house’ and El means ‘God’, hence, House of God. There are other cities that come to mind such as: Bethany: House of affliction. Bethsaida: House of fish. Bethlehem: House of bread. But in the New Testament, we are Bethel: 

2 Corinthians 6:16b says,For you are the temple of the living God [house of God]. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people’.

God calls HimselfThe God of Bethelin GENESIS 31:13, I am the God of the House of God. And He is! He’s the God of the Church.

Here are a few facts about Bethel –

Bethel was one of the first areas conquered by Joshua after entering the Holy Land (Israel)
Bethel was the second most important city, Jerusalem being the first.
Bethel became an idolatrous place by King Jeroboam, King Solomon’s son. He made golden calves for people to worship there in Bethel instead of Jerusalem.

This reminds me of Bethel in Redding California with Bethel music and Bill Johnson. They don’t have a Jacob Bethel but a Jeroboam Bethel. And the moment any church defects from biblical truth it goes from being the house of God to be the house of Idols!

[vs. 22] “And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house”. This is a picture of the future Church of Christ. 

Read 1 TIMOTHY 3:15 
but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God [Bethel], which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

And of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth [ten percent of our earnings] to You.” Jacob learned this ten percent giving to God from Abraham who gave ten percent of the best of the spoil to Melchizedek.

We see that ten percent giving to the house of God or the local church came before the Law in DEUTERONOMY 14. I believe that ten percent is a good start because New Testament giving is more generous still. We should pray and come up with a set amount on how much we’re going to faithfully give to the LORD every time we get paid. MacArthur gives eleven percent; Piper gives most of his earnings – maybe seventy percent? Marla and I have been faithful tithers and more for over twenty years.

Post Script by James:
Let us remember that while we may prayerfully consider what percentage of our finances we will offer up to the LORD, may we be determined and empowered by GOD’s grace to give 101% of ourselves to the One Who gave His all for us on Calvary’s cross and still continues to give all of Himself for His bride!

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