Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Friday, March 27, 2015

His Watching - Part One



We are pleased to announce Real Mercy (volume 3) has a scheduled release date of August 2015.  Wesleyan Publishing House has contracted Thad for 2 more books. In these current blogs, we’d like to share sneak peaks from volume 4. We hope you enjoy it.
Please note: Part One will be a devotion from scripture. Part Two will be a journal entry based on that scripture.

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Then Jacob became angry and…said to Laban,
“God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”

---Genesis 31:36, 42 ESV

Jacob’s Story

            Esau and the 400 aren’t the first to pursue Jacob in these days.
            Uncle Laban was the first. When he heard Jacob had left, he felt tricked (31:26 ESV). He “hotly pursued” the fleeing Jacob (31:36) with every intention to harm him. Knowing this might happen, Jacob did flee (31:21). He was afraid. He was fully convinced Laban would come against him and steal his family “by force” (31:31).
            Why? Because Laban’s soul wasn’t right.
            This was Jacob’s family. Leah and Rachel were his. He’d served Laban 14 years for them. The children were his. The multitude of flocks – all his, because they had an agreement (30:34). But Laban was convinced otherwise. In his own pompous, self-indulgent mind, he declared: “The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine” (31:43).
            It wasn’t true. But, for Laban, it was. It fueled the fire inside him. It’s why Jacob fled. It’s why he feared. His own uncle had become his enemy. And harm would have come. Laban, his sons, and all his men were ready for war -- if God hadn’t intervened.
            God was watching.
The night before, He came to Laban in a dream – a man who’d given himself to the worship of other gods – and commanded him, “Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad” (31:24). Laban got the message. He was suddenly powerless and confessed it to Jacob, “It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night…” (31:29).
            God stood between them.
            This news gave Jacob courage to rise to the moment and oppose Laban to his face (31:36-42). And why not? The Lord had seen his affliction and come to his defense. He’d protected Jacob, just as He’d promised (28:15). Laban’s power was no power at all because God had come to his rescue.
            It makes what happened next almost laughable.
            Laban urged Jacob to enter into covenant with him. The two men erected a pillar and a heap of stones as a physical witness that, 1- neither man will pass over them to harm the other (31:52); and, 2- the Lord will “watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other” (31:48).
Of course He will. He already had!
            Jacob had no need of this covenant. For Laban’s sake, he went along with it. He let the heap and pillar be named, “Witness” and “Mizpah” or “Watchpost.” But Jacob knew his real Mizpah. Nothing could harm him. Not Laban. Not his sons. Not as long as the Lord was watching. He was Jacob’s Mizpah, his ever-present Watcher.
Jacob knew it then. All he had to do is remember it now before Esau comes.

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John 15:1-11, the Vine and the branches. "Is He everything to you?