Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Taking His Lead - 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 the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers
and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

---Genesis 31:3

Jacob’s Story

            Last time Jacob stood at the Jabbok, it was because of circumstance. Esau wanted to kill him. His mother knew this and urged Jacob to leave. She made sure her husband agreed with this plan and gave his blessing (27:42-28:5). That was then.
            This was now.
            Yes, circumstance played a part. Jacob had lost favor with his uncle Laban. Even though Laban knew “the Lord has blessed me because of you” (30:27), the tension was real between them and their families (31:1). It was time for Jacob to go (30:25). They both knew it. Together, they worked out a financial settlement (30:34). But that’s not what drove Jacob to leave when he did.
            God did this.
            The Lord took the lead. He spoke to Jacob, though we don’t know how. We only know that He who spoke to our fathers “in many portions and in many ways” (Heb 1:1) spoke directly to Jacob (31:3) and told him to “Return to the land of your fathers.” And then He promised the promise of Bethel (28:15), “I will be with you.”
            Circumstance, yes. But the Lord was in charge here.
            Jacob was standing at the Jabbok by divine appointment. He was in the perfect will and plan of God for his life. The Lord made sure he knew that. How could fear break in and mount an assault now?
Even if it tried, the Lord sent in reinforcements.
            He gave Jacob another dream. An angel came to him, calling Jacob by name. He said he knew the injustice Jacob suffered under Laban and announced, as God’s messenger, “I am the God of Bethel where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me.” Same God, same promises, with a simple message: “Arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth” (31:11-13).
            Not once, twice, Jacob received direct, clear, God-given guidance.
            Immediately, Jacob called his family together for counsel. He told them all that was on his heart. Surprisingly Leah and Rachel, two rival sisters always at odds with each other, were in complete agreement. They told Jacob their father had been unjust to them as well. With one voice they said, “do whatever God has said to you” (31:14-16).
            They wanted him to follow God’s lead.
            And he did. Because he knew the Lord “who has been my shepherd all my life” (48:15), was being his shepherd now. He was in the lead. Not circumstance. Not his own fleshly desire. This was the Lord’s doing. And with it came His promise of divine protection: “I will be with you.” Why wasn’t it enough?
            Why, on this night at the Jabbok, did fear gain such power? How did this enemy mount an attack, steal the reins of Jacob’s heart, and suddenly take the lead?

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