Jacob Becomes Israel

Scripture: Genesis 29:1-35, Genesis 30:1-43, Genesis 31:1-55
Lesson: 11
Jacob labors for 14 years to marry Rachel, then returns to Canaan to face his estranged brother. Along the way, he wrestles with God.
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For a fresh, practical look into God's Word, join us now for "central study hour." Pastor Doug Batchelor and the pastoral team share new insights into the weekly lesson study. Receive power for practical living today. Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to Sabbath school this morning. I'd like to especially welcome our visitors.

I see quite a few of you this morning in our audience and our regular members. And a very special welcome to you that are joining us from across the country and around the world, live on the internet this morning and through radio and television. We welcome you to Sabbath school. Normally at this time of the year, we'd be singing Christmas carols. But this morning we have a special request from someone in india.

We're gonna start with hymn number 499, "what a friend we have in Jesus." And this comes as a request from oliver and marie from Utah, galitha humez from the bahamas, choco mariam from saudi arabia, stacey manbalie from jamaica, and giftston chandron from india. Thank you for those requests. Hymn 499, "what a friend we have in Jesus." And we're going to sing the 1st, nd and 3rd verse... If you have a special request that you would like to send in to have us sing with you on a coming Sabbath, and right now we're taking Christmas requests, just go to our website at www.saccentral.org and click on the music link. And there you can request any of your favorite Christmas hymns out of our hymnal and we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath.

Our next request is hymn number , "o come, o come, Immanuel." And this is a request from emma from tennessee. And we are gonna sing the 1st, nd, and 3rd verses of hymn number 115... Our Father in Heaven, what a beautiful Sabbath we are enjoying. We thank you so much for creating the Sabbath that we can come before you and worship you with all of our hearts and pour out our love to you. We thank you for this season where you poured out your love to us in sending your son to die for us to restore us to you.

We thank you for everything that you do for us and we ask you now as we open Your Word that we are drawn closer to you and that we are sent forward from this place to share the love that you give to us with others, that we can be lights in a dark world and draw others to you that you can come soon. Please be with Pastor Doug this morning as he brings Your Word to us. And we just thank you again for your love. We pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Our lesson study will be brought to us this morning by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at sac central. Thank you very much, jolene and debbie, lee, our pianist. And welcome everybody who is here at Sacramento central church. I had to raise my hand when she asked if there were any visitors here today, because I haven't been here in a while. As some of you know, about four or five members here of central church have been in india for the last three weeks and just returned this week.

Praise the Lord everyone made it back safe and sound and had a number of adventures. This was, for those who may not know, this was probably one of the largest mission projects that's been coordinated with, certainly with Amazing Facts and even maranatha told us this same thing, had virtually 90 people that traveled from mostly North America over to india. Over, took two days to get there, about four different jet airplanes. And did a combination of evangelistic meetings, medical work, literature distribution, and visiting the villages. And it was very exciting, had a lot of challenges, but the Lord blessed us and was victorious.

I won't say too much to our Sabbath school class here because that's the main theme of the sermon that will follow in a little bit and we've got pictures that we'll show you about our trip. But we want to thank those around the country who have been praying for this adventure in india. And the last report that we had was that there were ,040 people baptized in connection with these meetings. Now there were, there wasn't just one meeting that I was doing. We had five--was it a total of six meetings, tim? Mine and five other meetings that were going on in villages around rajahmundry.

And the last meeting, we brought everyone together and we had somewhere between 15,000 and ,000 people at that one location. So that was pretty exciting. And the devil tried to stop the meetings. And we'll tell you more about that sometime. But they'll see reports on the Amazing Facts website that talk about that.

Anyway, I'm glad to be home. I know this is thanksgiving week, but I'll tell you I'm sure thankful. And I just, when I got off the plane, if it was any city other than san francisco, I would of kissed the ground. But I was sure glad to be back in North America. And it's really nice to be able to take a shower and not be afraid the water's gonna get in your mouth.

So I won't say a lot about that right now, but anyway, very thankful to be back. And I'm just starting to get back on a normal time. I've been waking up 1:00 in the morning, 3:00 in the morning. Then you can't go back to sleep, 'cause it's like an 11 1/2 hour time difference. But we're just praising God.

He blessed the meeting and everyone made it back safely. And so thank you for your prayers here those of you who were praying. People around the country knew about this trip. And we think we made a little bit of history. And continue to pray for others that are working there.

They're still meeting with some challenges. On to our lesson. We have our continuing study in Genesis. The lesson titled, "beginnings and belongings." Today we're gonna be on section . Before we get to that I always like to tell you about the free offer.

And today it's on spiritual Israel. Just call the toll-free number: -788-3966. And ask for offer number 174. We sure hope you'll take advantage of that. And if you do, please read the book.

Lesson number 11 today, going through Genesis, "Jacob becomes Israel." "Jacob becomes Israel." And it's based on--I'm hoping I can cover all of this--Genesis -33. And we have a memory verse. Most of us I think would know this one, Genesis 32:28. And you can say it with me. Genesis 32:28, this is when Jacob's wrestling with the angel.

You ready? "'Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince has thou power with God and with men and has prevailed.'" He became a prevailer or an overcomer in his wrestling with God. And I'll say more about that later. Now a little preview, a little preview. We're going through the patriarchs, which were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Three interesting things you might consider about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

They all came out of mesopotamia, sometimes thought of as Babylon, or where ancient Babylon used to be, into the promised land. They brought their wives out of Babylon into the promised land. Abraham brought sarai, who's really his half-sister, out into the promised land. Now remember, the woman represents a church. Isaac's wife was fetched for him by eliezer from Babylon, brought to the promised land.

Jacob in our story today goes back, gets his wife, brings her to the promised land. Then when you get to the history of Israel, children of Israel are carried into Babylon too. Aren't they? And then God brings them out of Babylon into the promised land. Then you get to Revelation. God's people are in spiritual Babylon.

He says, "come out of her, my people." And he brings her out of Babylon into the promised land. Something else you'll notice about the three wives of the patriarchs. They were all barren. Sarah could not have a baby, but through God's miraculous intervention she conceived. Rachel was barren.

That was the first wife of choice of Jacob. Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself. Rebecca was barren. And through the prayers of Isaac, she conceived, had twins. Rachel was barren.

I remember she took her husband by the cloak and said, "give me children, ere I die." And he said, "what am i, God? It's the Lord," he said, "that has to do this." And God answered her prayer and gave her not only Joseph, but later Benjamin. So what's the symbolism of that? It was a miracle by which she brought forth. If a woman represents a church, and mary bringing forth Christ was the most miraculous birth in the Bible, it is a miracle that gives us the new birth. Does that make sense? And so there's a lot we can learn from the patriarchs. Now where our story takes up today, I want to back up just a little bit, you remember in the study last week, it talked about where Jacob deceives his father to get the birthright that belonged to the older brother, esau.

And how does he secure that deception? The skin of a slain goat, sacrifice, is placed on his hands and his neck. And he is given the clothing of his brother. And when he wears the robes of his older brother and the skin of the sacrifice, he gets the blessing of the firstborn. Now, how many of you caught because of my careful wording what the significance of that is? That's the story of salvation. You and I have no right to the blessing that belongs to the firstborn, Jesus, the only begotten.

But when we put on his robe, and when we put on the skin of the sacrifice, we come to The Father, and our father is blinded to our sins. And he confers on us the blessing that belongs to the firstborn. Isn't that wonderful? Now I'm not suggesting that we do the deception of Jacob. I'm just saying that these stories that happened to the patriarchs all teach salvation. And so I actually asked brother John.

I said, "did you touch on that last week?" He said, "no, I ran out of time." I said, "I want to back up, 'cause I want people to know that when Jacob deceived his father that was a terrible thing to do. It was a sin, but there is a spiritual significance to what happened there. It is storacle if you will, an allegory of how we get the blessing. And The Father is blinded to our sin. And we get the blessing of the firstborn and the promised land.

And what was the greatest blessing that Jacob was after? Was it The Father's inheritance or the promised Messiah? He wanted that the Messiah would come through him. And that's the blessing we want is that Christ will come through us, that he'll be born in us. Alright, now. Esau is mad. He's murderous mad.

And Jacob gets wind of it. And Isaac and rebecca under pretense of wanting to save their son from being murdered by his brother, they said, "look, we really don't want you to marry a canaanite girl anyway." Rebecca says, "go back to the house of my father, to my brother, and find a wife from the land of mesopotamia where they worshipped the one true God." And so he does that. He agrees and he begins his journey. And that's where we take up our story. Turn with me in your Bibles to Genesis 29.

"So Jacob went on his journey." Now keep in mind, this is after he has the vision of the ladder that reaches to heaven. Oh, and by the way, did he make a vow when he saw that pillar, when he saw that ladder? He said, "if you'll keep me and bring me back to this place, all that thou givest to me, I will surely give a tenth unto thee." Don't forget that, 'cause it plays into our story. And as he makes his long journey across there to mesopotamia, crosses the Euphrates river, heads off into the country near haran. "He came to the people of the east. And he looked, and he saw a well in a field; and behold, there were flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks.

And a large stone was on the well's mouth. And all the flocks would be gathered there; and they would roll the stone from the well's mouth, and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the well's mouth. And Jacob said," to the shepherds that were probably hanging about, "'my brethren, where are you from?' They said, 'we are from haran.' Then he said to them," now by the way, that city was named after Jacob's great uncle. "Then he said, 'do you know laban The Son of nahor?' They said, 'we know him.'" Well then his ears perked up because that's his uncle. "So he said to them, 'is he well?' And they said, 'he is well.

And look, his daughter rachel is coming with the sheep.' Then he said, 'look, it is still high day; it is not time for the cattle to be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go feed them.' But they said, 'we can't until the flocks are gathered together, and they roll away the stone from the well's mouth; and we water the sheep.'" Now evidently, this is a big well and it's a big stone. There may have been some dispute over the water and so it took several men, because you didn't want anyone poisoning your well. And they were very territorial about their wells. You remember when Isaac was using--he would dig a well, then the philistines would seize it.

And there was a war almost broke out over whose well it was. A war between the shepherds over whose water. This is a big stone. One reason I'm emphasizing this is Jacob was a strong man. That also comes to play when he's wrestling with this angel.

He had above-average strength. I believe that. And so, "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." That is a monumental feat that he does this. "He rolls the stone from the well's mouth, and he waters the flock of laban his mother's brother. And Jacob kissed rachel, and he lifted up his voice and wept.

" I heard one pastor say, "she must have been a good kisser, 'cause he cried afterward." "And Jacob," you know, by the way that was not an intimate kiss. They used to kiss on the cheek. You've seen them in the middle east. They still do that. Men and women, they would kiss each other the same way.

It was a family greeting. And he was just praising the Lord that he had found his family. And so here he meets rachel. And it's love at first sight. Now the Bible goes on to say, laban has two principle daughters.

One is leah, the firstborn and the other is rachel. Rachel means ewe, not y-o-u, but ewe like a sheep. Leah means wild oxen or wild cow, not domestic. And then you've got zilpah, which means a drop. And bilhah, these are the handmaidens, the four wives of Jacob, which means simple.

And so just thought I'd tell you, laban named both of his daughters with names of cattle, 'cause he was principally a shepherd. And you know my father was in the airline business and he named my brother and I after airplanes. My brother's name was falcon, after falcon fan jet or the bird or something like that. And I was named douglas after dc craft. My father was in the waiting room in burbank where I was born where mcdonald douglas was nearby.

And it said, "the only thing faster is the stork." And it showed the dc-3, "douglas mcdonald." He said, "oh that sounds good." Douglas mcarthur was still a hero. And so that's how I got my name. Anyway, so laban named his daughters after cattle basically, but-- and that wasn't to be derogatory. They loved their sheep. Remember David tells a story of a man that they had one ewe lamb and it stayed in the house and ate from their table.

And they cared for it. David laid down his life for the sheep. Rachel, the Bible says, was beautiful and well-favored. Leah was tender-eyed. And some have wondered about that and what that means.

I was reading in adam clarke's commentary and I'm inclined to agree. Oh, by the way, our daughter rachel, her name is rachel leah. And I wanted to name her leah. But rachel won out. And I later found my great-grandmother and I never knew this, her name was rachel leah.

And we never even knew that. And so when I told our Jewish grandparents what we named her, they said, "oh, you named her after great grandma rachel leah." I said, "really?" That's the Jewish way of saying it. I said, "yes." Interesting. But I don't suppose it's that odd because two daughters of Jacob. Leah--some people think--it means tender-eyed.

It says, "she was tender-eyed." And some think that tender-eyed there means that she had weak vision. It just means that she had--you ever seen a person with soft eyes? They've got attractive, sweet, innocent looking eyes. But beyond that it's telling us that rachel was beautiful and well-favored. And that means in her shape, in her gait, everything about her was beautiful. And Jacob fell in love at first sight.

Now you might be thinking, "well, she's his cousin. That's inappropriate." It was not inappropriate then. Keep in mind, adam married his sister. Abraham married his sister. Isaac married his first cousin.

And then of course, Jacob marries two first cousins. It wasn't until the time of Moses that because of the dangers of the genetics that it was said that a brother should not marry his sister. And I don't even think Moses forbade the marrying of cousins, first cousins. So anyway, that's the main reason that that took place. Now he meets--you know in order to cover all these chapters I'm gonna have to paraphrase some of this rather than have everybody read through it.

He meets laban. They have a great greeting. They spend a little while together. He's helping for about 30 days take care of laban's flocks. And pretty soon laban wants him to stay.

He can see he's very capable, because esau was a hunter. He's a wild man. But Jacob was a keeper of sheep. He knew sheep. He knew how to take care of 'em.

And laban's got two daughters. You remember it was rachel that was leading the sheep. And he says, "you know, it'd sure be nice to have a young man around helping to manage things. It'd be great if I could interest him in my daughter." And he probably saw that Jacob was interested in rachel and said, "look, you shouldn't work for me for nothing just because you're my relative. Well, what's the payment?" And Jacob said, "tell you what.

I have no dowry to offer for your beautiful daughter. But I will work for you for years if I can marry rachel." And he said, "yeah. That sounds like a good deal." He already had something up his sleeve. Laban was a conniver. And so Jacob begins to work for him.

Somebody read for me Hosea--you didn't know I was going there--12:12. "And Jacob fled into the country of syria; and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep." All right, very good. He fled into the country of syria. So the area of haran was where present day syria is right now. It's kind of interesting the relationship politically they have.

And for a wife, he kept sheep. Now Jesus was a shepherd, wasn't he? And it was for a wife that he kept sheep. When he came into this world, he came as a shepherd. And he did it to secure a bride. Because when he comes there's the wedding of the lamb.

Isn't that right? And you notice it says, "he fled." Well, it was under the pretense of going for a wife, but he was really fleeing from his brother. And when he fled, he couldn't take anything with him. He didn't take any servants carrying anything. It doesn't sound like he even took a donkey with him. He just took--matter of fact, when he comes home, he says, "I passed over the brook jabbok with nothing but a staff in my hand.

Jacob maybe had a little backpack and that's all he had, a stone for a pillow. So he was fleeing for his life when he left. I want you to just have that scenario in your mind, 'cause when he comes home, it comes out again. Now, somebody read for me Genesis 29:20. He's gonna work to secure his wife.

Roy seems to have it right here. Go ahead. Hold your hand up so that pancho can get you the microphone. Jacob works for rachel, and how does he view that labor? "And Jacob served 7 years for rachel, and they seemed unto him but a few days for the love he had for her." How long did it seem? A few days. Just a few days.

Now you'll notice that seven becomes a prominent number in this story. I believe that the plan of salvation, a day with the Lord, is like a thousand years, a thousand years like a day. You'll often find that cycles of seven. Seven years they would farm their land, six years they would farm their land, the seventh year it would rest. The plan of salvation is working like that, except it's a thousand years.

Six thousand years Jesus is sowing the seed of the Gospel. We rest during 1,000 years with Christ, living and reigning in heaven. And at the end of that, he makes a new heaven and a new earth. So the whole period of time is ,000 years until sin is dealt with completely. Isn't that right? So you'll find that this same segment is in the big scope of the plan of salvation.

Was it hard serving laban? What does it say? Well, when he was doing it for rachel, when he was doing it for love, did it seem like 7 years or did time fly? I mean you would think that he was so anxious to acquire her as a wife that it would seem forever. But I mean he was looking forward, the anticipation of that day, of what he was going to get, it just filled his heart with joy. And that time of serving, he was just beaming the whole time. Shouldn't that be the attitude of a Christian in serving Christ? How much better to serve for love than for fear or for selfish gain? A lot of people serve the Lord because they're afraid of the punishment, they're afraid of destruction, instead of because they love the Lord and they want to be with him. How much better it is to serve God because you love him? The Christian life is tedious for those who are legalistic.

The Christian life is a joy for those who love. If people are serving God because of only obligation, and we do have an obligation, he made us, he redeemed us; we owe it to him. But if we're only serving because of obligation, it's a burden. But if you serve God because you love him, it's a blessing. Now if you're in the category where you're serving and your religion is drudgery, then learn to love him.

Don't stop serving him. Learn to do it for the right reason. I have known people who are in marriages where they stayed together because of obligation. And instead of a marriage that is enjoyed, it is a marriage that is endured. So what's the answer? Go find someone else or learn to love? Then it becomes a blessing.

Now, what happens here is--and I'm just rushing over the story a little bit--finally the day for the wedding comes. Laban, that scoundrel. They have all the festivities, and the dinners, and go through all the protocol. And in the eastern weddings, they have a big feast. And the men are with the men and the women are with the women.

And then finally the man is brought to the wife and she is brought to him. And she's got her veil on. And she enters into this honeymoon chamber tent where they get to spend a week together. And when the time comes, evidently laban has spiked the punch. And he's gotten Jacob--I'm guessing, the only way I can figure out that Jacob doesn't know it's leah until morning is that he spiked the punch.

I mean isn't that what David did to uriah to try to get him to go home with bathsheba? And leah is wrapped up and she's got her veil on and goes into the tent and it's nighttime and they consummate the wedding. And in the morning he comes to his senses and goes, "what!" And of course, once that happens, there's no going back. In that culture, when she goes from being a virgin to non-virgin, it's almost impossible to get married to anyone else. He can't put her away now. He's married to her.

They took it very, very seriously, as we should. Amen? And he comes out of the tent like a shot in the morning and goes knocking on the tent door of his father-in-law and says, "what in the world is going on?" And laban slyly says, "oh, didn't I mention in our country you can't marry the younger first. You have to first marry the firstborn." He said, "you served me." He said, "complete your one week, the honeymoon week, with leah. I'll also give you rachel. But you owe me another 7 years.

" Some people think he had to wait another 7 years for rachel. That's not right. Laban said, "complete her week," meaning complete the honeymoon week with leah, "and I'll give you rachel at the end of that week. We'll have another wedding then, but you gotta serve me more years." So he had the two of them together within a week. In case you wondered, you can read that and it comes out clear.

Because it's during that 7 more years of service, they begin to have children and there's all this strife between the two sisters fighting over their husband. Oh, boy. Well, you would have thought that Jacob would have not gotten into making the same mistake that Abraham had made. Now eventually, leah, God blesses her because she's not loved. Rachel is the one that he really wants.

I mean can you imagine what it would be like to be in a marriage to know that you were just used? Laban not only sinned against Jacob when he did this with leah. He sinned against rachel. He sinned against leah. It was an offense against everybody. It brought a lot of misery into this family.

I don't know how rachel and leah got along before. But you can be sure after they had to squabble over a husband who obviously did not want to be married to one. And then God starts blessing leah with children, which was you know the supreme blessing. All that leah has is the children. Rachel's got the looks and the affection of the husband.

And so leah's flaunting the children. And oh, it just must have been--obviously they're not all living under one tent. So you know, you--here he's got these conjugal visits. He's gotta go between the two tents. And then rachel says, "you know look.

I'm not having children. So you go into my handmaid, bilhah--" or zilpah. I forget which one it was. And making the same mistake that Abraham had made with hagar, didn't learn from that. And Jacob, it never tells us that men ever put up any argument for this.

And it's true. And so then leah at this point stops having children. Bilhah starts having kids and she says, "look, she's gaining on me." And so she says, "now you gotta go into zilpah, my handmaid." And so he complies. And pretty soon, zilpah's having children. And he's having boy after boy, which is very uncanny.

And just squabbling and fighting. Now during the time of this strife, terrible strife--first of all, if you don't get anything out of this story, some people say, "well, in the Bible God allowed polygamy." All you gotta do is read the story of Jacob and know it was not God's will. It just brought nothing but strife into that family. One man, one woman. "But he doesn't forbid it," someone might say.

Someone else might say, "he even makes laws to protect the extra wives. So God certainly must condone it. And you'll probably find some people in Utah that would agree with that. But how many wives did God make for adam? One. It says it's not good for him to be alone, so he made eve.

He didn't make a harem for man. That was God's plan. And anything other than that was the hardness of man's hearts. Yes, God often winked at things that they did that were inappropriate. Slavery is inappropriate.

But they were living at such times of darkness that God would make laws to protect the slaves. Even in the Ten Commandments it says, "your servants shall rest on the Sabbath day." It doesn't mean God wants them to have servants. But whether it was an employee or a slave, God was including that. You see what I'm saying? So anyway, during the time of the--oh, wait, let me get, I want to get to something. It says that Jacob loved rachel.

She was the loved one. Leah, he was still married to her. Does it say because he didn't love her, he stopped marrying her, or he put her away? Let me read something to you. Deuteronomy 21, I'll tell you what, somebody look for me, look up for me Proverbs 21:9. Someone look up for me Proverbs :9.

And while you're finding that, I'm going to read Deuteronomy :15, "'if a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved,'" it doesn't even say he hates her, just not loved. "'And they have borne him children, both the loved and the unloved, and if the firstborn son is from her who is unloved, then it shall be, on the day that he bequeaths his possessions to his sons, that he must not bestow the firstborn status on The Son of the loved wife in preference to The Son of the unloved, the true firstborn.'" Now Jacob was making that mistake when Joseph came along. You know why he gave Joseph the coat of many colors? 'Cause he was gonna give him the right of the firstborn. And that's one reason the brothers were so jealous, because Joseph was the firstborn son of the wife he loved. And that's why Moses later says, "don't make that mistake.

" The firstborn is the firstborn. And he said, "you're not supposed to do that." You notice it also doesn't say, "and if you've got one that you don't love, well just put her away." Never offers that as an option. Does it? Today I hear people say, "well, you know our love, we just don't love each other anymore. Our love has grown cold, so obviously we should get divorced." Does the Bible ever say that's an excuse for divorce? No. Learn to love again.

I mean just, you're married. You're married. It'd be much--but--wait say this carefully. I'm still on india time. It'd be much better to be married where there's love, but even if you can say, "well, you know we just don't love each other," you married each other.

You're married. Coming back from india a lot of people there still the marriages are arranged by the parents. Sometimes the kids do not even meet each other. And you can just hope that you'll like the person. It'd be wonderful if you loved the person.

I was visiting with one lady there. She says, "oh yeah, my mother and father were in an arranged wedding and they never did love each other, but they always stayed together." I mean just, they have a lot less divorce there, something else I've observed. And they also have a lot less problems with promiscuity, as far as homosexuality. And I think it's because the families, they have these very clear distinctions between the men and the women. The men do not dress like the women.

The women do not dress like the men. And they don't even sit together in public places. In church, the women and the women sit together. They got very clear boundaries. And there's, you know, there's something to be said for maintaining that in a culture.

It helps avoid a lot of the unisex blurring that happens in our society. Say, "amen," somebody. Okay. Now I was gonna talk about the contention that you had between rachel and leah, two sisters, they're fighting. How do you think bilhah and zilpah felt? They don't even have the status of a wife.

They're basically concubines. They're breeders is what they are. And so just the strife. Alright, who was going to read for me Proverbs 21:9? Mike, you have that? You already got a microphone there. I'm sorry.

Lou, go ahead, you read that. "It's better to dwell in corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." "Better to dwell in an attic than in a mansion with a contentious woman," is another translation. It's four different times in Proverbs that something like that is said. I think another place it talks about a contentious wife. It's like living with a leaky roof.

But talk about the strife that Jacob--you know, one reason Jacob didn't live very long, I mean compared to Isaac who lived and Abraham 175, I think Jacob lived 145. Is that right? Yeah, it wasn't very long. Anyway, compared to how long they lived. I think he just, the strife in his home just wore him out. Wore him down.

Now, while these women are all vying for the attention of their husband, because what gives them status is having children, did they have social security back then? Who takes care of you in your old age? It was interesting while we were in india, we'd pray for the people after the meetings. And sometimes you'd put your hands on your head, on their heads and you'd pray for them. And sometimes, you know, I wouldn't even have a translator. They'd take my hand, and ladies would take my hand and they'd put it on their belly. And they'd be pregnant.

They'd say, "pray for baby, for baby." They spoke a few words of english, 'cause the british were there. One lady said, "pray so I can have a baby." 'Cause she said, "we have no children." And that was, you know, not to have children there was considered a curse. And this is what the culture was like back in Bible times. So they're all fighting for Jacob's attention. While they're having these babies, they have 12 boys ultimately and 1 girl.

Isn't that interesting? I mean have you ever met anybody? "How many kids?" "Thirteen. Twelve boys, one girl." What are the odds of that? I mean if you meet somebody with four or five girls, you think, "wow." Six girls, "wow." Twelve boys, one girl? Statistically that's very, very odd. Especially if you got four different wives helping you. You'd think you could come up with one more girl. I'll tell you, of course, this represents the church.

And dinah represents the bride of Christ. In another study we'll talk about that. Here's the order of the boys, or the way they're given in Revelation chapter 7. These are the 144,000 are from the 12 tribes of Israel. Ruben was the firstborn.

And, but look at how the list is given. It's judah, reuben, gad, asher, naphtali, manasseh, simeon, levi, issachar, zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin. The list is different in Revelation chapter 7 and chapter where it talks about the ,000 than anywhere else in the Bible. I took the names the way that they're given in Genesis here. Whenever one of the baby boys is born in this conflict between rachel and leah, zilpah and bilhah, they make a statement.

The names, the definition is given. For instance: judah, "I will praise the Lord." Ruben, "he is looked on me." Gad, "given good fortune." Those names mean something. They all have a meaning. You can find those meanings. Sometimes you'll find a meaning in the Bible and they're all different in different commentaries.

These are pretty uniform. Good history for them. They're the tribes of Israel. When you arrange those titles the way they're given in Revelation, it tells the story of Christ's redeeming the church and marrying his bride. Listen to what it says.

Judah means, "I'll praise the Lord," for instance. Okay? Ruben means, "he's looked on me." So you put them in order. Listen to what it says. "I will praise the Lord for he--" and I've added in words like "for," "and." "I will praise the Lord for he has looked on me and granted good fortune. I am happy because my wrestling God is making me to forget.

God hears me and has joined to me. He has purchased me a dwelling," Jesus said, "I have gone to prepare a place for you," "and he will add to me The Son of his right hand." Isn't that beautiful? That always gives me chills when I think about it because it's the story of redemption is in the name of the 144,000, those tribes in the order that they're given. So when you see the strife of rachel and leah as they're naming their boys, keep this story in mind. Alright, then what happens? I'm rushing 'cause I haven't even got to Jacob's wrestling yet. And I've only got 13 minutes left.

Now he has these boys and he goes to Jacob, or he goes to laban and says, "look, I don't want to work for nothing." Laban says, "you should get paid now. You know, you've worked for your wives." He didn't want to lose them, because God blessed Jacob the way that he had blessed Joseph. Everything he touched was blessed. And he said, "I want--" laban could see, God's with him. He's blessing him.

Everything I've got is prospering while Jacob's here. And he said, "I don't want to lose him. So I've got to pay him something." He hated to do it 'cause he was stingy, but he had to pay him something to keep him. So he says, "what's your wages?" And he said, "well, I want you to know that God is the one who's blessing me. And so tell you what, you keep all the plain-colored sheep and cattle, but everything that is striped or spotted or ringed, they are mine.

" And laban thinks, "oh, there's very few of them. I have nothing to lose. They're just, you know, one in ten." Like a black sheep, so to speak." And so he said, "yeah, that's a deal." Well, Jacob knows something about breeding. And he knows that God is gonna bless. And so he prays.

And then God, all of the sudden, all the cattle start to have striped and spotted sheep. And I mean, you know laban's thinking, "how can anyone ever control that?" Now he does something interesting that you might be wondering. When the cattle come to water, and this is kind of awkward to talk about. But that's typically when they all get together, they forge and they separate. But when they all get together like that, then they're more inclined to do the breeding, when they're coming together for the watering and the feed.

Now what Jacob did was he drove some stakes in the ground. In the springtime, the bark is soft and he peeled them so they were striped. And that may have been in connection with some rumor back then that the cattle, if they bred in front of a striped tree, they had striped offspring. I don't know, but scholars don't know exactly why he did this. It seems superstitious.

Or that if the cattle were looking at something striped, they would produce striped offspring. Obviously there's nothing you're gonna find in science that's going to support anything like that. But don't underestimate the power of faith. Don't underestimate the placebo effect. And at least Jacob's faith that this somehow, he was gonna believe in God's promise and now the cattle are gonna have sheep.

And so I'm sure it had nothing to do with those barber poles that he drove in the ground. But lo and behold, they produced striped and spotted and ringed offspring. And not only that he also understood something about the genetic vitality. If they were stronger, he kept them. And he left the weaker ones with laban.

So all of the sudden, all the cattle are producing stripes and spotted and the weaker ones are the plain colored. And laban is seeing what's happening. Now this goes on for years and it starts to bother him. Genesis 30:42-43, someone read that for me. Oh, there's so much here.

Andrew's got his hand up. Genesis 30:42-43. "But when the flocks were feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were laban's and the stronger were Jacob's. Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys." Jacob is a type of Christ because as Jesus had the 12 apostles, Jacob had the patriarchs and the tribes. Don't forget that the tribes of Jacob--I'm sorry--the sheep of Jacob were stronger.

And he fed them well. He cared for them as our shepherd, Jesus, does. In Genesis 31:10, just briefly touching on this, it says, "it came to pass, at that time when the cattle conceived, that I lifted my eyes and I saw in a dream," now Jacob has a dream about this, "that behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. And the angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, 'Jacob.' He said, 'here I am.' He said, 'lift up now your eyes and see, the rams that leap upon the cattle that are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled; for I have seen all that laban does to thee. I am the God of bethel, where you anointed the pillar.

'" Now he's having this vision years later. "And where you vowed a vow unto me. Now arise, and get thee out from this land, and return to thy kindred.'" So is God saying that the cattle prospered because of Jacob's poles that he drove in the ground? Or was it 'cause God had blessed? the Lord says, "I'm the one that done--" and he's saying, "now it's time to go home." Your flocks have increased. You've got servants. Laban's gonna become jealous.

Now Jacob is not a young man when he makes this trip. He is 77 years old when he first offers himself an apprentice to get rachel. We don't know how old she is, but she's still a young virgin. He's about 77--keep in mind, they live longer and they aged more slowly back then. He probably looked like a 40-year-old today.

But he was, even for that time, much older than they usually would be. So now he's gone another years. How old is he? Ninety-seven. And he's getting ready to head back home. Well, he's afraid that if he advertises that he's going home--laban is such a conniver.

And by the way, is Jacob getting a taste of his deception? You remember he deceived his father? Now he gets deceived about his wife, he gets deceived about his wages. He knows what it feels like to be on that end of deception. Don't forget that. He's gotten the victory over his deception. He's a new man now.

He's learned his lesson. But when the time comes to go home, he doesn't tell his father-in-law, because he knows that there could be problems. So he tells his wives and they said, "look, our dad is too cheap. We don't have anything that we can expect." So he says, "we're with you." And while laban is off branding his sheep and doing something, Jacob says, "we better get everything and head for, head back for the land of canaan." So he goes on his way. And as he's fleeing, laban catches up with him and he's upset.

Oh, one more thing I need to mention very quickly: rachel had stolen her father's Gods, it says, "idols." Some have wondered, "wasn't he serving the same God as Abraham?" Yes, he was. The word for those idols that he stole, the best explanation I found, they're called teraphim. Teraphim. It's very much like the word, seraphim or cherubim. These were little idols of angels that they thought brought them good luck and protection.

And it is idolatry. That's all it is. But when rachel took those, she wanted that to stay with her. Laban catches up, and he says, "not only have you stolen away with my family, but you took my Gods." I'm so glad I've got a God nobody can steal. Wouldn't it be terrible to have someone steal your God? Where have you hidden my God? Is it in the baggage? Jacob makes a statement.

He says, "if you find those idols among anyone here, let them die." Of his four wives who was the first to die an unnatural death? Rachel dies in childbirth and it could be connected with that curse. That's pronounced. She lies to her father-in-law. She hides them. Laban never does find his idols.

And anyway so they're on their way back, they've gotta meet esau ultimately. Jacob is apprehensive. He remembers when he fled from his brother. And he doesn't know how he's gonna interpret his coming home. Is he coming now 'cause Isaac's gonna die and he's wanting to get the blessing of the firstborn? And in route, it said, I'm in Genesis 32 now, "so Jacob went on his way," he leaves laban.

They make a covenant not to bother each other. "And angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, 'this is God's camp.' And he called the name of the place mahanaim," which means two companies. He saw two companies of angels, one at the head of his procession, one at the tail. Now he's got a lot of cattle.

When he makes an offering to esau, he gives esau 580 animals. This may be when Jacob said, "if you bring me safely back to this land, of all that you give me, I'll surely give a 1/10 to you." They had no church. They had no priesthood. The leaders of the clans were the priests. Esau was the priest for his clan.

And it could be that he's giving it, I mean, Isaac is fabulously wealthy. He also wanted esau to see, Isaac his father doesn't need it. Very rarely does a son give to The Father. But he wants his brother to know, "look, I'm not after your wealth. I'm not after The Father's wealth.

" He gives a tithe of all that he has to his brother. I know you might say, "well, that seems kind of strange." They didn't have an organized denomination. Did they? So how's he gonna do it? But if that's true, now I can't prove that, but some have speculated, this is when he kept his vow. If that's true, and those 580 represent 1/10, how many animals did he have? ,800 Animals, plus men and women servants. So Jacob's got a pretty big company.

And he's got angels at the head and the back. Well, he gets a messenger. He sends a messenger to esau and says, "your brother's coming." And the messenger comes back, and he says, "esau didn't say anything, but he told all his 400 men to mount up." And that's really not good news. And so esau's on his way with men. Jacob divides his family up.

Hopefully one will escape if the other doesn't. And he sends them across the jabbok brook. And he prays like he's never prayed before. He's interceding for the survival of his people. Something like when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane for the survival of the church.

And then it says, while he's praying--and this is an area that could be haunted by bandits and robbers. It's a very rugged terrain. He's praying and he's worried about esau coming, so he's praying with a lot of stress and anxiety. He's already all wound up--a hand is placed on his shoulder and he just about jumps out of his skin. He snaps around.

He grabs what he thinks is an assailant. And he gets engaged in this superhuman wrestling. And it was dark, pitch-black. And here he is wrestling in the dark with the Lord--and--for his life. That wrestling of Jacob is how Christians ought to pray.

It's a symbol for praying as though you're life depends on it. Wrestling with the Lord. And he's praying that God will forgive him for his deception, that he'll change esau's heart, that he will keep his promise. He's claiming the promise, "you're going to give me this land. You're going to give me the inheritance, 'cause the promise was that the inheritance would go to the younger and not the older.

Ultimately, in the midst of this struggle, this angel of the Lord touches him and immediate--supernaturally his hip is out of joint. He's in terrible agony, but he won't let go. And he realizes he's wrestling with the Lord. He later says, "I've seen the face of God and I'm preserved." Calls the name of the place penuel. And he says, "I will not let thee go except you bless me.

" He wasn't boasting and saying, "I've got a grip on you and you can't get away." He's saying, "I'm not gonna let go until I have the assurance." It's a humble prayer of forgiveness, "that you have forgiven me. And that you've accepted me." And he said, "what is your name?" "Jacob." "You're name is no longer deciever. When you left, you were a deceiver. I'm forgiving you for that deception. Now you're name is Israel.

" And that's the name of the country over there in the middle east. "For as a prince you've prevailed with God." The name Israel means overcomer, prevailer. So when you are part of spiritual Israel, we are to be a nation of overcomers. How did he overcome? By wrestling with God in prayer. Very few people spend much time in prayer as we should.

And we need to wrestle for the victory over sin. And that's what he was praying for, victory and forgiveness. He was claiming the promises. We ought to wrestle with God, claiming the promises. Finally, of course, when esau does come, he sends the message, he calls himself, "Jacob your servant.

" "My Lord esau." He humbles himself. And esau finally realizes his heart is changed. He sees all the gifts that Jacob's giving. "He doesn't want anything from me," he realizes. He doesn't want the, he doesn't need the inheritance of Isaac.

And he doesn't feel threatened anymore. He finally, his heart is soft. And when he sees Jacob limping towards him, his face is probably still glowing from that encounter with God. Esau's heart is changed. Instead of telling his men to attack, he stops the whole thing, he jumps off his horse, he runs, he embraces his brother.

It's a wonderful story of reconciliation. And there they are sobbing and heaving and crying and kissing each other. And it's a story of forgiveness and reconciliation. They're never a threat to each other anymore, so--except as their descendents fought together. Anyway, I wish I had more time to talk about the wrestling match and all that involves.

We're out of time. Once again, our free offer is "spiritual Israel." And I'd encourage those that who are watching to send for that. Just ask for offer number 174. And call the number you see on your screen. For those on radio, it's 866-788-3966.

Thank you for joining us for Sabbath school at central church. And God willing, we'll study together again next week.

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