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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 201-250 (Incorruptible - Kept)

F.E. Marsh :: 223. Jacob's Journey

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GENESIS xxviii

JACOB on his way to Padan-aram, and his being met and encouraged by God, is one of the brightest features in his life.

  1. The Obedient Son. “Jacob went out from Beersheba,” &c. (Gen. 28:10). Jacob was not merely fleeing from Esau’s ire in leaving home, but he was obeying his father (Gen. 28:7), in going to seek for a wife among his uncle’s people. “Beersheba” means “the well of the oath” (Gen. 21:31); and “Haran” signifies “parched, dry.” It will often be found that the path of obedience will lead us from some well of prosperity to a parched place of adversity and trial. But better be there with the Lord than in some pleasant way without Him.
    • “Out of my stony griefs
    • Bethel I’ll raise.”
  2. The Weary Man (Gen. 28:11). Tired with his journey, he seeks a resting-place amid his not very inviting surroundings, for, as Stanley says in speaking of the place, “The track of the pilgrims winds through an uneven valley, covered, as with grave-stones, by large sheets of bare rock, some few here and there standing up like the cromlechs of Druidical monuments.” Lonely, tired, home-sick, with the sky for his ceiling, and a stone for a pillow, he falls asleep, and finds that God gives to His beloved in sleep (Ps. 127:2, R.V., M).
  3. The Privileged Dreamer (Gen. 28:12). Jacob sees in vision the way cast up from earth to heaven, thus connecting heaven and earth, and opening up communication between Jacob and God.
  4. The Enriched Descendant (Gen. 28:13). God reveals Himself as the “God of Abraham and Isaac,” and repeats the promise to Jacob He gave to them, that he and his seed shall possess the land. Thus Jacob finds the blessedness of a godly ancestry. Grace does not run in the blood, but notwithstanding there are advantages in having godly parents.
  5. The Blessed Seed (Gen. 28:14). Here again is a repeated promise. (See Gen. 12:2-3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4). After the flesh Israel has been a blessing to all nations (Rom. 9:4-5), and they are yet to be a greater blessing (Rom. 11:12; Isaiah 60)
  6. The Sustained Pilgrim (Gen. 28:15). The presence of the Lord is to be the sustaining power of Jacob in all his wanderings. Mark what that meant to him, and what it also means to the believer in Christ.
  7. The Astonished Sleeper (Gen. 28:16). Jacob little expected that the Lord would meet him where He did, but the unexpected often happens. When we little expect to find the Lord He finds us. Jacob is astonished as he recalls his dream, and is reminded that God has been speaking to him. Many who are spiritually asleep would do well to wake up to the fact that the Lord has spoken to them, and is still speaking (Eph. 5:14; Rom. 13:11-14).
  8. The Fearful Confessor (Gen. 28:17). Jacob was not the only one who has been afraid in the conscious presence of God. Moses (Hebrews 12:21), Job (Job 42:5-6), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5), Peter (Luke 5:8), and John (Rev. 1:17-18), were the same. A holy awe and a filial fear should ever characterise those who know the Lord (Phil. 2:12).
  9. The Early Riser (Gen. 28:18). Jacob was no laggard or lie-a-bed. He was up betimes. Sleepy heads never make wise heads, and sleepy hearts are never warm hearts. The early birds get the worms. The manna must be gathered in the morning, if there is to be the gathered manna.
  10. The Consecrating Remembrancer (Gen. 28:18-19). Jacob changes the name of the place from Luz to Bethel by anointing the pillar he had used as a pillow. “Luz” means “departure” or “perverseness;” and “Bethel” signifies the “house of God.” Many a Luz has been made into a Bethel by the consecrating oil of God’s grace, through faith in Him who died for sinners. On the 10th of May, 1869, at a place called Promontory Point, the junction was made completing the railway communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, in the United States of America. A silver spike was brought by the Governor of Arizona, another was contributed by the citizens of Nevada. They were driven home into a sleeper of Californian laurel with a silver mallet. As the last blow was struck the hammer was brought into contact with a telegraph wire, and the news was flashed and simultaneously saluted on the shores of two great oceans, and through the expanse of a vast continent, by the roar of cannon and the chiming of bells. When the awful abyss between God and man had to be bridged, the junction over the deepest chasm was made by the outstretched arms of the Son of God, and as the spikes crushed through His opened palms, He cried, “It is finished,” and swifter than electric current or lightning’s flash the tidings were winged to the farthest bounds of three worlds. The stairway connecting earth with heaven is completed; the awful chasm is bridged. Luz is transformed into Bethel; Christ by dying has opened up the way to God.

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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