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Saturday, January 25, 2020

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


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

GENESIS 29 – by James Fire

Introduction: It was Samuel Clemens, more popularly known as the gifted writer and speaker, Mark Twain who said,
“History doesn’t really repeat itself. . . but it does rhyme!
And so we see here that Jacob is traveling the same familiar ground that Eliezer traveled when he returned to Abraham’s homeland in search for a suitable bride for Isaac. And remember the wonderful type we have there in GENESIS 24 where Abraham – a type of our Father GOD, sends Eliezer, a type of the Holy Spirit to his homeland in search for a suitable bride for his son, Isaac, a type of Christ, son of the Father – and the bride Rebekah is then a type of the church, the bride of Christ. Indeed, the Spirit of the LORD, sent by the Father throughout the world, leads those who become the church of born-again believers to Christ where they find eternal life and are a suitable bride for Christ!
Here Jacob is running away from the consequences of his deeds done that involved deceiving his father, obeying his scheming mother, supplanting his brother Esau (the very name Jacob means “supplanter, heel-catcher [which he did when he was born, catching the heel of Esau!]) in receiving that which GOD had promised already at the birth of these twin sons (GEN 25:23). Now in Chapter 29 we are going to witness some ‘pay back’ in one sense, but in another sense, the fulfillment of the biblical principle of “reaping what we sow” (GAL 6:7).

GENESIS 29:1-3
1 Then Jacob went on his journey and came into the land of the people of the east. And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place
.

Put yourself in Jacob’s place – he wasn’t at all sure, even reluctant about the plans of his mother regarding taking the blessing of the father from his elder brother, but he went along with it, nonetheless.
By the way, why did Jacob strive to inherit what was already promised to him by the pronouncement of the LORD even before his birth? And why do we strive to inherit blessings from GOD that we already have promised us in Christ? Why do we do things in the flesh, by our own self-effort to please GOD, when, if we only walk in the Spirit Who dwells in us, such blessings are upon us, because all such blessing is found in Christ Himself?

Now we see the end result of this whole fiasco: this deed no doubt resulted in marital strife between Isaac and Rebekah, a vendetta by Esau upon his own flesh and blood brother Jacob, and an estrangement of Jacob from his family.
He hopes that his distant relations, specifically his uncle Laban, the brother of Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, in the far off country of his grandfather’s homeland will take him in. No doubt, he is feeling dejected, discouraged, lonely and not knowing what will become of him; if his brother Esau will make good his threat, perhaps even pursue him to this distant land and kill him (we know, because we’ve read this story, but at this point, it’s all unknown to Jacob).

So much of our life ahead is a mystery that we wonder at, are anxious about, perhaps even fearful because we don’t know how it will all unfold. But just as we’ve read this story about Jacob before and have no worries for this man, because we know how it ends; likewise our Father in heaven has read ‘our story’ and He knows how it all ends: for His children, it ends well, MORE than well, and He has shared this with us in His Word.
It’s from today onward, until that last Day that we must walk by faith – and so must Jacob.
Jacob after his long journey finally comes across a field where there’s a well and these three flocks of sheep; a great stone is on the well. This was to prevent contamination as well as to keep others out from this protected water source.
Jacob observes the shepherds moving the stone away, watered their sheep and then they replaced the stone. There were at least two or three men required to move this stone it would seem.

GENESIS 29:4-6
And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep
.

Witness the sovereignty of GOD, as Jacob arrives at this very moment, only moments away from the arrival of his future bride, Rachael – he converses with these shepherds who know his uncle Laban and informs him that he is doing well. . . We see the hand of GOD working even now!

GENESIS 29:7-9
And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep and go and feed them. And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep. And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she kept them
.

Jacob encourages these men to water the sheep and then to let them graze for the day was getting away from them, already being around noon time; but the shepherds wanted to wait until all the flocks and before the time of the arrival of the cattle. Now at this point Rachel arrives.

GENESIS 29:10-11
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept
.

Now check this out – Jacob all on his own moves the stone from the well, that took at least two, perhaps three other men to move. In prior chapters we read how Jacob was a “plain man” – a house dweller, who no doubt spent more time with his mother than he did with his father; what we might call “a Mama’s boy” – but this is a strong Mama’s boy!

And what do we see next right after Jacob demonstrates his manly strength? He kisses this woman, the niece of his mother, that he hasn’t even formerly been introduced to yet! Is this some unseemly, inappropriate advancement? Is Jacob making moves on Rachel?
And then what happens next? He weeps – now, when a man kisses a woman, and then cries. . . I’m not sure the woman is going to take that as a complement!

What’s really going on here?
Remember that in the previous chapter, GENESIS 28, Jacob goes to sleep on some rocks (how do you do that anyway??) and when he awakes he recalls the vision that the LORD gave him of this heavenly ladder – really a stairway to heaven where angels are ascending and descending on it (A vision truly of the LORD Jesus Christ, the WAY, the truth and the life; JOHN 1:51; 14:6) and the LORD speaks prophetically over the man, reaffirming all that He had promised to Abraham and Isaac:

GENESIS 28:13-15
13 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
.
GOD has comforted and assured Jacob that he isn’t abandoned but visited him personally and spoken over him – so Jacob doesn’t have the word of Abraham and Isaac alone, but from the LORD Himself. 
Likewise, we should hear the Word of the LORD ourselves, study the Scriptures for ourselves, and not rely on what our pastor says only. You can recognize Christians who study the Word and those who don’t. Those who don’t will often say, “My pastor says this”, and “my pastor teaches that” rather than, “The Word teaches us this and that”.

But even though Jacob had such powerful testimony from the LORD, he was still a refugee, and a wanderer, not knowing the details of his coming days, but now he sees this young woman, and perhaps she resembled her aunt Rebekah, Jacob’s mother – in any case, he recognizes her as kin and offers her a customary kiss of greeting, common among the peoples of these Middle Eastern countries and is then so moved by GOD’s reassuring provision of bringing Jacob safely to family and protection, that he weeps with gratitude and relief!

GENESIS 29:12-15
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father. 13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month. 15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?
.

This is one of the blessings of family; when trouble strikes, even among our immediate family, and we need help, there are those in our lives, Uncles, Aunts, Grandparents, cousins who can step in and lend a hand when we are finding ourselves vulnerable, alone and even desperate.
How much more the family in Christ should be there for us, when one of us may be hurting and in great need, to come and minister to that hurting soul (1 COR 12:26). This is something I’ve been blessed to see first-hand in this fellowship! Jacob rests for a period of a month before Laban makes a proposal for a job, and wants to talk about wages.

GENESIS 29:16-18
16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter
.

Leah had eye trouble apparently that somewhat affected her vision, but Rachel WAS a vision! And it was easy for Jacob to choose between the two; he offered to serve for seven years for the younger daughter of Laban. And it seems that Laban is agreeable to this – or so it seems. . .

GENESIS 29:19-20
19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. 20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her
.

Such was the love of Jacob for Rachel that it didn’t seem a burden to him to serve Uncle Laban for seven years; his love was such that the time flew by like just a few days. And sisters who read this passage usually say, “Awwwwwww!
Pay close attention to this time period of seven years because it has prophetic significance. Just as Jacob labored for seven years to gain his bride, likewise the LORD will do a work lasting seven years to take back His bride, Israel – who even now is in rebellion, having rejected her Messiah. But the LORD is going to remedy this with His chastening of His people, during the time we know as “The time of Jacob’s Trouble” (JER 30:7; ISAIAH 48:9-11).

Aren’t many of us like that though? When things are going smoothly, everything is fine, we are blessed and happy – we love the LORD for such things, but our prayers aren’t as fervent, our seeking GOD isn’t so strong. But when we face trouble, it’s then that we turn around and our devotion to the LORD skyrockets that we realize how much we really need Him.

This will happen to Israel nationally when all the world, led by the Beast of Revelation, the anti-Christ will seek to end the Jewish people once and for all. The nation of Israel will cry out to their Messiah for deliverance with a heart of repentance (HOS 5:15) and that’s when the LORD Jesus will return with the armies of heaven and wipe out the anti-Christ as well as the False Prophet (2 THESS 2:8; REV 19:20)!

GENESIS 29:21-25
21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. 22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a feast. 23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. 25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

This obviously happened at night; and when Leah approached Jacob, she was probably wearing the customary veil across her face as a new bride; and being the sister to Rachel, they could have likely resembled each other enough to pull this switch off and deceive Jacob. It wasn’t until morning light that he discovered Laban’s lie – and he found he had wed the elder daughter rather than the younger! 

Jacob the beguiler has himself been beguiled! And this brings up another spiritual principle: we reap what we sow; what we plant into our lives, we harvest (GAL 6:7). Jacob in alliance with his mother, deceived his father Isaac into believing that he was Esau in order to steal away the father’s customary blessing to the eldest son. Now we see Uncle Laban giving Jacob the eldest daughter instead of the younger!

GENESIS 29:26-27
26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. 28 And Jacob did so and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also
.

Laban is perfectly willing to give Rachel to Jacob but insists on keeping the custom of the eldest being married off first – just as Isaac was insisting to give his blessing to his eldest son Esau first.

But notice what Laban says here: “Fulfill her week and I will give you [Rachel” – in verse 27 Laban states that this week is equal to seven years. And here we see the principle of first mention:

Many times, when a certain word, or phrase is first mentioned in Scripture it establishes a thematic truth that is seen throughout all of the Scripture. A couple of examples: When Abraham was prepared to enter into covenant with the LORD and sacrificed certain animals, the fowl of the air came to feed off these carcasses and Abraham had to chase them away. 

From there we see that ‘fowl’ are often associated with Satan our adversary that wants to stop GOD’s work in our lives. When Abraham is called upon GOD to offer up his son Isaac, GOD tells him, “take the son that you love and make him a burnt offering to Me.”
Here is where the word love is first mentioned, and the manner of this love is a father for his son. This is mirrored in the love of the Father for not only His Son, the LORD Jesus Christ Who was offered up in sacrifice, but also the Father’s love for us in making us His children.

This idea of a “week” is in Hebrew a shavuah and is mentioned quite often in prophetic Scripture. In Hebrew the word shavuah means “sevens” and it can mean a week of 7 days, as we know it – it can also be a week of weeks or 7 weeks (49 days) or a week of months (7 months) or in this case, a week of years (7 years).
We see the same thing in the famous prophecy in DANIEL 9:

DANIEL 9:24
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

In this prophecy that Daniel is given by the angel Gabriel, it’s revealed that GOD’s judgment upon the nation will last for seventy prophetic weeks/shavuahs, that is to say 70 sevens, each of these lasting seven years. So, 70 x 7 is 490 years, the duration of time of this judgment and chastening upon Israel during “the time of Jacob’s Trouble”. 
Basically 69 of these weeks are already fulfilled, but since the execution of Israel’s Messiah on Calvary’s hill, this ‘prophetic stopwatch’ has stopped, the church then was born and once the church is raptured, this prophetic stopwatch will begin again, having only one more week to go to complete the 70 weeks – or in other words, seven years, that we refer to as The Great Seven Year Tribulation.

GENESIS 29:29-31
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. 31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren
.

We see here the makings of more family strife and contentions, because Jacob has two wives, somewhat similar, but not exactly what Abraham had: Jacob’s grandfather had one wife (Sarah) and a concubine (Hagar). Yet the same seeds of contentions, contests, strife and resentments are planted here and we will witness the bad fruit of it.

This is why GOD’s way is the best way: He didn’t create Eve and Evelyne for Adam; He created Eve and Eve only; this is the plan of GOD in marriage between one husband and one wife, which is really a mirror reflection of GOD’s plan of salvation through the LORD Jesus Christ Who is the bridegroom of the church, which is His bride. The LORD doesn’t have two brides, only the one – that is GOD’s will.

As the apostle Paul stated:
2 CORINTHIANS 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Yet even here we see the mercy and long suffering of the LORD in His allowing this to take place; and He even uses the situation to teach Jacob some valuable lessons, which we see in this and later chapters.

GENESIS 29:32-35
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. 33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. 34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. 35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing
.

Leah is quite fruitful in childbearing: and she hopes that this will earn her husband’s love, which is so sad, so tragic; that a wife should feel a need to perform in order to receive her husband’s love, when that love should be unconditional in a godly manner, to mirror the same love that we have from our bridegroom – we cannot earn what we do not deserve: GOD’s love, therefore it’s by grace that we receive His love, through the sacrifice of the LORD Jesus Christ Who made the way possible to be received by GOD as our Holy and Heavenly Father, rather than a Judge Who would condemn us in our sin and rebellion.
His love for us was according to His very nature: See ROM 5:8-10; COL 1:20-22.
in these verses we see the birth of Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Looking at the meaning of names of these baby sons is interesting:
From Hoshana Rabbah Blog we have: 

by Natan Lawrence

Genesis 29:32–30:24
The Scriptures record that the gospel was preached not only to the first century believers, but to ancient Israel (Heb 4:2), as well the Patriarchs (Gal 3:8). Here is another example of this in the meanings of the names of the twelve sons of Jacob. They are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin (who was not born until Gen 35:18). Translated their names mean:

Reuben / “See, a Son,” (this points to Yeshua).
Simeon / “Hearing” (hear the Son or gospel/good news).
Levi / “Joined” (referring to the union by which the Set-Apart Spirit makes us one with the Son through the hearing of the gospel).
Judah / “Praise” (the response of the redeemed upon being joined to Yeshua and becoming regenerated spiritually or born from above).
(For the names of all the sons and their meaning, follow the link above).

We are witnessing the birth of the nation, beginning with these, the patriarchs that will number 12, but will eventually become the twelve tribes of Israel, but even in this, there are other optional tribes added to this number, which we will see in later chapters!

May the LORD continue to bless and encourage you as you study and apply His Word to your life as His disciples and lovers of His soul!

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