Before we begin with the questions for this week I have a thought for you to ponder. Jacob’s accidental marriage to Leah is a good example of how God sometimes works in our lives.
We read in Genesis 29:25, And it came to pass that in the morning, behold it was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” Have we ever said that to G-d, “What is this you have done to me?” We make plans, dream dreams, and set out to accomplish certain things. Then our plans are delayed and sometimes our dreams never materialize. Sometime totally unexpected things happen that were not a part of our plans and we find ourselves far away from our original goals.
But this does not mean that God has abandoned us. Your plans for your life may not necessarily be His plans. God may be attempting to work something great through your situation that you never expected.
Remember Leah bore Judah and Yeshua descended from the line of Judah.
1.After 20 years of a declining relationship between Jacob and Laban the L-rd told Jacob in Genesis 31:3 to return to the land of his fathers. Laban pursued him and a heated conversation ensued. The two men then made a covenant to part company and do each other no harm. As far as we know they never saw each other again. In Luke 9 Yeshua sent the disciples out and said in verse 5, “If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Is there ever a time when we should shake the dust off our feet from a place or a person?
Yes. We have to know when to disengage and move on. We have to be sensitive to the holy spirit to know when to continue to persevere in a relationship or situation and when it is time to shake the dust from our feet and move on. Some biblical examples are:
Acts 18:5-6When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Acts 13:49-51 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium.
2.As we see mentioned in the first question we see in Genesis 31:45-55 Jacob is going home after being in exile. He and Laban set up this stone boundary and made a covenant between themselves swearing to not cross over to do harm. What do you think this stone boundary represented to Jacob?
To me it is like Jacob setting up a boundary between the world and his home, both practically and spiritually. It is as if he is saying, the influences of the world will not enter my house or my heart.
Our job is to influence the world not the other way around. Is it easy to keep the world’s influence out of our life and the life of our family? No, we spend much of our time out there in the world.
We must spend more of our time being with G-d, meditating on His word, praying, reading. Only then can we remain unstained by the world. (James 1:27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
This requires effort on our part. It requires time on our part, if not, the boundary between the holy and profane becomes blurred. Every step over the boundary makes the next step easier. I am sure most believers who fall into sin did not start out with that in mind. Sin starts usually with a small thing but if not confronted for what it is, the next step goes further and further until we wonder how we got to where we are. The boundaries are gone.
3.In John 1:49-51 we read of an encounter between Yeshua and Nathaniel and in Genesis 28:12 we read of the ladder set up with angels ascending and descending. What is the connection? What did Yeshua mean by His response to Nathaniel? What did Yeshua mean about angels going up and coming down on Him? Where do we see angels connected with Yeshua in the Messianic Scripture?
In Genesis 28:12 we read about the angels going up and down on it. The word “it” is usually read as meaning “the ladder.” The Hebrew word “bo” is translated as, “it” but could be translated as “he” or “him.”
So, the angels could be seen as ascending and descending on him – on Jacob. This could be how Yeshua saw it when He spoke to Nathaniel. Just as the angels ascended and descended on Jacob so they would be ascending and descending on Him.
What did Yeshua mean about angels going up and coming down on Him? Angels are the messengers and agents of G-d. As Yeshua carried out G-d’s will here on earth the angels of G-d were doing His bidding. So as the disciples were with Him every day they would have been witnesses to angels ascending and descending on Yeshua. Hebrews 1:14 tells us that all who believe are ministered to by angels.
As the ladder was a point of contact between heaven and earth so Yeshua is that as well and in fact as he lives in us we are able to ascend into heaven and to G-d. Only through Him are we able to reach the Father. Yeshua is our ladder. So, when we read about Jacob’s ladder go deeper and see the connection to Yeshua.
Where do we see angels connected with Yeshua?
Luke 1:11-17 – foretelling His birth, Matthew 1:20 Joseph and Mary, Luke 2:13 – Shepherd’s Matthew 2:13, 2:19 – Herod and Egypt, Mark 1:13 – the wilderness, Matthew 28:2 Resurrection Acts 1:10 – ascent to heaven, Matthew 25:31 His future return.
4.How can we stay firmly connected in the spiritual while living in the physical world? How do we find what is important and what is not?
Apparently this word of G-d in Genesis 28:13-16 touched Jacob deeply for it seemed to set his life priorities in order. (Genesis 28;20-22) Jacob, in these verses, seemed to have found his spiritual footing, what was important and what was not. His desire now was only for G-d to go with him, for the basics of physical life, food, clothing, and in fact at the end in verse 22 saying, whatever he had he would return one-tenth to G-d.
Jacob learned from this vision that the point of life is not what he could accumulate. Like the ladder, he could live in the physical world but be firmly connected to the spiritual. In fact, our life goal should be to keep our life rooted in maintaining that connection with the Father, knowing that He is with us.
A blessed life is one spent climbing the ladder, drawing nearer and nearer to the L-rd