Being in the perfect Will of God

Mar 15, 17 Being in the perfect Will of God

We look at the importance of obedience and walking in God’s will, to be at the right place, right time to His calling. The consequences are dire to one, family, community and everyone around you. Let us look at the example of Jacob.

 

The importance of setting a good example in the family

Jacob and Esau - favouritism in the family There was favoritism in the family – Rebekah favors Jacob the younger son, whereas Isaac favors Esau, the elder. Rebekah having overheard Isaac’s wish to bless Esau before his death, conspired to have Jacob rob the birthright from Esau.

Jacob having deceived his father Isaac and stolen Esau from his birthright,  Jacob was forced to flee the family to Laban, his uncle (Rebekah’s brother) And in conspiring to win the blessing for Jacob, Rebekah would suffer the longing for her son who has to flee, and Jacob would have to endure the hardships away from his family.

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness and mercy: The Lord does not let Jacob’s past define him. Instead, He forgives and no longer hold’s Jacob’s sin against him.  

13 There above it[c] stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.[d] 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” – Genesis 28: 13-15

 

Deception begets deception.

Jacob was deceived by Laban, working the first 7 years to win Leah as bride when he sought Rachel. Then another 7 years for Rachel.

Laban denied Jacob of fair wages ten times and to make matters right himself, Jacob then deceived Laban but manipulating the spotted sheep and goat, so that he prospered from this unfair deal he made with Laban. There was dispute and doubt.

He was then forced to flee from the land to Bethel where he was from, on God’s instruction.

 

Jacob’s disobedience led him stray to Shechem instead of Bethel, with dire consequences.

Genesis 33:18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram,[b] he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city.

Genesis 34: No mention of God.
Genesis 34:25-31 Dinah gets raped by prince of Shechem. Arrangements were made to marry her to Shechem, on condition that all men in Shechem were circumcized and then Jacob’s tribe would stay and intermarry with the locals.
However, Jacobs sons took matters into their hands with revenge. They killed all the males in Shechem, including the prince and his father Hamor.
dinah raped in shechem
Levi-Simeon-Kill-shechem
God calls to Jacob to return to Bethel
Genesis 35:1 Arise, go to  Bethel and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother
Pause & Review:
We can be dwelling where God calls us to dwell. Or we can do our own thing. And if we are in the wrong place the blessing goes to someone else. 
God plans your promotions and blessings. If you do not abide, this goes to someone else.
Detours against Gods will not only causes heartache to the individual concerned but also to the family and to people around.. 
Jacob called to obedience, and identifies 3 things to do in the return to Bethel, the House of God.
Jacob’s instruction to household for obedience.
1) Put away the foreign gods that are among you
The lesson of importance of parents which bears untold influences to the kids.
The bible calls to light these negative influences and that we steer away from these
Idols: Rachel, Jacob’s wife stole idols from her father Laban’s home (Genesis 31:19)
Lies: Abraham lord, Isaac lied, Jacob is deceitful!
Pause & Review
What are the idols that I am clinging on that are hindering my relationship with God?
– Distractions, technology, hidden sins, unforgiveness, not keeping our commitments, relationship with the family that is not reconciled
If you abandon the Lord and serve other gods, he will turn against you and destroy you, even though he has been so good to you.”  But the people answered Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord !” 
(Joshua 24:20 – 24:21 NLT)
You are a witness to your own decision,” Joshua said. “You have chosen to serve the Lord .” 
 “Yes,” they replied, “we are witnesses to what we have said.” 
 “All right then,” Joshua said, “destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the Lord , the God of Israel.” 
 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God. We will obey him alone (Joshua 24:22 – 24:24 NLT)
2) Purify yourselves 
Be sanctified 
Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.” 
  (Joshua 3:5 NLT)
Lead a Holy life 
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.  (Hebrews 12:14 NLT)
Lead a life of purity
 
3) Change your garments
Garments – symbolize character.
Change: rid of old habits, behavior, attitude and conduct. Having the fruits of the Spirit in us
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there (Galatians 5:22 – 5:24 NLT)
Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others,  but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.  (Jude 1:23 NLT)
Pause and Review
Spiritual obedience to the Father aligns with family obedience to the father 
When Jacob yielded obedience to God, he had obedience from his family too. God blessed him in his obedience.
We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them under the great tree near Shechem (Genesis 35:3 – 35:4 NLT)
 
  • The earrings may have been owned by the Ishmaelites
  • Burying- so that the old habits and sins were put away, no hindrance 
Now they were all in readiness to go to the place God called them 
 
 
 
Obedience to God and protection 
As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s family.  (Genesis 35:5 NLT)
 
 
Eventually, Jacob and his household arrived at Luz (also called Bethel) in Canaan. Jacob built an altar there and named the place El-bethel (which means “God of Bethel”), because God had appeared to him there when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau. Soon after this, Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called Allon-bacuth (which means “oak of weeping”).
Now that Jacob had returned from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again at Bethel. God blessed him (Genesis 35:6 – 35:9 NLT)
Saying, “Your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. From now on your name will be Israel.”  The So God renamed him Israel.  (Genesis 35:10 NLT)
  • Jacob: the supplanter
  • Israel: God fights
Summary

Never live in a place of shechem against God’s will. Be in the right place right time, in the centre of God’s will. 

 

Aim everyday to be at the right place, at the right time, wit the right people, speaking the right words and doing the right thing and be a blessing 

From Jacob to Israel:
We can only prevail with the Lord and trust Him to work for our good when life is tough.
Hence walk in His perfect will.
Understanding that the Lord wrestles with us whenever we are tempted or face trouble helps us answer this question. Though perfectly holy and never Himself the author of sin (James 1:13), God is sovereign, and any evil that attacks or tempts us only comes by His permission (Isa. 45:7; 1 Cor. 10:13). Therefore, John Calvin comments, to fight against such things is in some sense to do battle with the Lord’s hand since He allows trials without being guilty of sin (for our good, Rom. 8:28). Jacob prevailed in this battle by admitting His guilt and absolute dependence on the Lord, clinging to Him with all his might. Such cleaving is the only way we can prevail with the Lord and trust Him to work for our good even when life is tough. Excerpt taken from here.

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