Reap What We Sow
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 29. As we begin our discussion, I might forewarn you that we are going to survey two or three chapters, because we will be looking over a period of some twenty years in the life of Jacob. In order to do that, we will have to look at these chapters. Because of the contents of the chapters themselves, I think we can do it and still get the meat of the Word that we need for our hearts.

From Supplanter to Prince

You will remember we began the journey with Jacob away from his home down to the land of his mother in Padanaram. The outward purpose of the journey was that Jacob was to secure a wife from among his mother's people. But the hidden purpose of the journey was that Jacob might come to the end of himself. Jacob was introduced to us, you will remember, as the supplanter, the deceiver, the man who used everything he could to accomplish his purpose, and who found it hard and difficult to trust God. But when he returned from Padanaram, he had one last battle with the Lord, and his name was changed from Jacob, the supplanter, to the Prince of Israel. But it took twenty years to bring Jacob to the end of himself.

During these twenty years he was going to reap what he had sown, because the Word of God is plain to remind us that “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Jacob sowed deception, and he sowed the activity of the flesh. He sowed lack of respect for the things of God, and he was to reap the results of all of that during those twenty years. But God dealt with Jacob in grace. I would like for us to keep that in mind, because these chapters that deal with the twenty years of Jacob's experience give us one of the most fitting illustrations of the grace of God in all the Word of God. There was nothing in Jacob to recommend him to God. Keep that in mind…absolutely nothing. And yet God made him a promise, and God kept His promise out of pure grace.

God's Blessing of Jacob

We want to read a little from chapter 28, somewhat as a review, beginning with verse 10:

Genesis 28:

10And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

I would like for you to notice the promise that God made to Jacob, and I want you to notice that all parts of the promise are introduced by the words I will or I am . There is absolutely no condition on the part of God. God said, “I am with thee and I will keep thee, and I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” This is all of grace. If Jacob were further down the line spiritually, as we are going to find him in chapter 33, he would have rejoiced in this promise and gone on his way. But notice his reaction in verse 16:

Genesis 28:

16And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.
17And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

This would indicate to us that Jacob was not used to close fellowship with the Lord, and when the Lord made any indication of His presence or His blessing, Jacob stood in awe and felt that there had to be some return on his part, some indication of acceptance of the promise of God. Keep in mind that Jacob was still the supplanter. He was not the Prince. So we read in verse 18:

Genesis 28:

18And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
19And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

An interesting thought comes to mind here. Luz means separation , and Beth-el means the House of God . When Jacob came to the place that meant separation, separation from his friends and from his family, separation from his material goods…separation from everything that he had, actually, because he was going out empty…that place became the House of God because God appeared to him there. You will notice that Jacob established a pillar there, and called it the House of God . Had he been living today, he might have built a little chapel. He might have built a church building of some kind. He called this place the House of God . Evidently this did not displease the LORD too much, because in verse 13 of chapter 31, He reminded Jacob of the thing that he had done.

Genesis 31:

13I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.

Our Need for Spiritual Landmarks

Later, when Jacob had grown cold and indifferent, God was to say to Jacob, “Go back to Beth-el.” I do not suggest by the statement I am about to make that we should attempt to walk by sight instead of by faith, but I wonder if we all would not be a little bit better off if we established a pillar or two in our spiritual experiences…something we could go back to, something we could fasten onto. That is why sometimes when we are dealing with people about their relationship to Jesus Christ, we give them opportunities to make whatever decision they have made in their hearts a definite decision by telling someone about it. It gives them a pillar to which they can look back.

Satan, in his attacks upon the human heart, attempts to cause people to forget or attempts to cause them to think that their decisions for the Lord were not real. I think that is the very reason that procedure is suggested in the Gospels and in the Epistle, if you consider all the experiences in the Gospels where men came to the Lord Jesus Christ and were either told to go and tell someone or went immediately and told someone. Their invitation to the others was always, “Come and see.” Even on Resurrection Day, the message that was emphasized more than any other was, “Go and tell someone.” Tell someone what has been done. I think that is why the Word of God tells us in the book of Romans that if we believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we shall be saved. Certainly it is the faith in our hearts that saves us. It is emphasized constantly through the Word that the giving of our testimony to someone else makes it a reality in our lives. Jacob set up a pillar here, something to which he could come back for a talk with God.

Jacob's Vow…Bargain or Covenant?

There has been a great deal of discussion concerning the last two paragraphs of this chapter, and the discussion centers around whether or not Jacob should have vowed this vow to the Lord, whether this was part of his lack of spirituality or whether it was the response of a heart that had been touched by God. Sometimes, you know, we make vows because we want to bargain with God. We make vows because we think that somehow or other if we promise God the moon, He will do a little more for us than He would otherwise. Sometimes we make a covenant with God because our hearts are so full because of His great goodness to us that we want to let Him know how grateful we are. It is important for us to distinguish between a vow and a covenant. A vow that is a covenant warms the heart of God.

I am not going to suggest to you that you make a decision as to what Jacob did here. We know his crafty nature, and we know his bargaining spirit. We wonder if he was making a bargain with God. Yet the language of this particular paragraph, along with the fact that God accepted the vow that he made in verse 13 of chapter 31, would indicate that perhaps it did warm the heart of God.

I might say to you that there is no record of anyone's making a vow in the New Testament. The only time a vow is mentioned in the New Testament is in relation to the Apostle Paul who twice made a vow, but not in the sense we are talking about here. It was related to Jewish worship, and he did it once for protection and another time that he might be all things to all men, that by all means he might save some.

I believe there is a lesson in this particular paragraph concerning our relationship to God, so will you notice verse 20:

Genesis 28:

20And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
21So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
22And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

I would like for you to notice the word if in verse 20. It could better be translated by the word since , because in the original text Jacob is not implying that he has any doubt that God will do what He has said He will do. He is simply saying, “Since You are going to do this for me, I want to do something for You.” Jacob interpreted the promise of God in a very literal fashion, though God did not designate His promise literally. He left it open, but Jacob interpreted it in a general fashion. You will notice that in verse 15 God said to Jacob:

Genesis 28:

15And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

The promises of God as far as Jacob was concerned included the material as well as the spiritual. I wonder if we would not all be better off if we would be willing to accept the promises of God, including the material as well as the spiritual.

Promised Provision for Material Needs

Notice what Jacob said: “If you are going to keep me in the way as You said, and if You are going to give me bread to eat and raiment to put on…” May I remind you that this is the only promise God has ever made concerning our material needs. He has never promised us fine homes and nice cars and lovely clothes. If in His mercy and His grace He gives us these, and I think we all recognize that He does, then it is purely over and above anything that He promised. All He ever promised us was raiment to put on and food to eat.

When He provides that, we ought to be grateful to Him, and we ought to recognize that He has met our needs. When He does any more than that, we ought to search our hearts for the reason for His goodness, because He prospers us for a purpose. One of these days we are going to have to give an account of that which He has entrusted to our care. You will notice what Jacob said: “Since You promised to do all of these things, then shall the LORD be my God, then shall Jehovah be my God.” He renounced here all interest in idolatry.

Jacob's Preparation Against Idolatry

Yes, God was the God of Isaac, but you remember that idolatry had been creeping in, and he was going into a land of idolators, into a land where his own father-in-law-to-be worshipped idols, but he said, “I declare my allegiance to God.” Then he said, “This place shall be a House of God. It shall be a sacred place dedicated to the worship of God.”

Then he said, “I will surely give a tenth unto thee.” This last statement is a thought-provoking statement, because it is used…unwisely I think…by a number of people for a different purpose. For example, a great deal of effort has been spent to prove that the tithe is a New Testament basis of giving. We do not have time to go into that in detail, but we want to suggest to you that the New Testament does not teach tithing. The New Testament teaches the grace of giving, and the grace of giving far exceeeds anything that faintly resembles tithing.

The Grace of Giving

Sometimes when I make a statement like that, it has a two-fold effect. There are some folk who think, “Well, if you say that, then people are not going to give as they ought to give. The first thing you know, folk will not be doing what they ought to be doing with regard to their giving.” Other folk, because there are usually some who are looking for a way out, say selfishly, “I am so glad Joe Temple said you do not have to tithe. I am going to quit.” And they do. But if you follow the teaching of the New Testament through to its natural conclusion, you will discover that the New Testament principle of giving is going to cost you more than the Old Testament principle of tithing. If you give conscientiously and sincerely on the basis of New Testament giving, you will not be content to give just a tenth. You will constantly be searching your heart before the Lord to see whether you are giving the way you ought to give.

The New Testament basis for giving is the best governor I know for extravagance on the part of a Christian. Tithing becomes a legalistic thing if you are not careful. You are afraid God will do something awful to you if you do not tithe, but the New Testament basis of giving is a joyful thing and becomes a governor, I repeat, for extravagance on the part of Christians.

Two Jewish Ordinances

The reason I am making mention of this at all is that this is the second time tithing is mentioned in the Bible. The first time is in relation to Melchizedek. Here it is in relation to Jacob. Of course, tithing was very definitely a Jewish ordinance, recognized by the law of God handed down to the Jews. Someone comes along and says, “Well, you see, tithing was mentioned before the law was ever given, so it is wrong to say that it was particularly a Jewish ordinance.” No, it is not. The Sabbath Day was instituted long before the law was given. It was instituted in the first chapter of the book of Genesis. But when the law was given, God said that the Sabbath Day should be a peculiar sign of His covenent with the nation of Israel. That is the reason it is not binding on Gentiles today.

Our Responsibility In Giving

He said essentially the same thing about the tithe. The tithe is to be a special sign of God's covenant with the Jewish nation. The principle of New Testament giving, which is the sign of all believers, is the principle described by the word grace repeatedly in the New Testament. The grace of giving is an understanding of the fact that God gives to you in order that you may have wherewith to give. It is not a matter of one-tenth of what you have belonging to God. It is a matter of all that you have belonging to Him, and you must give to Him a report of the way you use that which is His. You are His steward, and if the demands on your salary are so great that there are no funds left to administer for His glory, you need to revamp your budget. As a child of God you are to administer everything that is in your hands for the glory of God, and your living expenses are not to be so great that there will be none left for Him.

This tithing that Jacob promised, this vow that he made, I am inclined to think that he made because his heart swelled up in thanksgiving to God. It was just as though he said, “God, You have been so good to me, I want to do something for You, and this is what I want to do.”

On to Padanaram

Whether that be true or not, certainly we learn from verse 1 of chapter 29 that it was a spiritual experience which lifted the heart of Jacob and set him on the mountain top:

Genesis 29:

1Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.

This is a very prosaic statement, and it lacks entirely the imagination that is revealed in the original text. Actually in the original text what we read is, “Then Jacob lifted up his heels.” You have heard of people kicking up their heels, have you not? Well, that is the same spirit that is indicated in this verse. He was so full of the goodness of God, that he lifted up his heels, and made a five hundred mile journey in one verse of Scripture. That is significant. The children of Israel, for example, because their hearts were not lifted up and because their feet were not lifted up, made an eleven mile journey in forty years and as many chapters in the Bible. You see the difference? My, how short a journey can be when your heart is right with the Lord! How short an ordeal can be when you know the Lord is with you!

God made a promise to Jacob, and that promise was, “I am going to go with you, I am going to take care of you, I am going to prosper you.” We notice immediately how God guided and directed and prospered Jacob. We are not going to take the time to read all this chapter, but we are going to point out to you some of these verses that I think will illustrate this fact. So notice verse 2:

Genesis 29:

2And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth.

That well was terribly significant. It was where Jacob was to meet his wife. Isn't it strange that out of all the wells in Padanaram, Jacob should come to that one at the time that Rachel was to be there? I believe that this was ordered of the Lord, and I believe that it was the beginning of how God was going to take care of Jacob. But remember, though God said, “I am going to take care of you, and I am going to bring you again to this land,” He was not condoning any evil that Jacob did. He was not smiling on any wrong doing in which Jacob participated.

A Harvest to Reap

I said in the earlier part of our discussion that what a man sows, that shall he also reap…even after he meets God, even after he gets right with God, even after he yields his life to God…and Jacob did.

“Oh,” you say, “I thought God forgave all my sins.” He does, but He does not uproot the harvest that you have planted. You are going to have to reap it. The only thing you can do is to ask God to be merciful. The only thing you can do is to ask God somehow to ease the pain, because the harvest is going to come. If a man in sin gets his arm cut off, God will forgive him his sin, and forgive it freely, but He will not put on a new arm. That is part of the harvest. That is the reason that my heart is always so especially concerned about Christians who are out of the will of God, who are disobedient to His revealed plan. God is not pleased. I know God is going to deal with them. I know God is going to deal with them drastically. I know that even though eventually they will come back to the Lord, they may come back crippled and maimed spiritually, mentally and physically, and may live a handicapped life for God. That is why we need to be so concerned about those who are out of the will of God.

That is the reason I am so concerned about my loved ones and my children, the reason I do not want them to make any mistake, the reason I do not want them to make any misstep. I do not want them to have to pay for it. I want them to know that whatsoever they sow, that shall they also reap.

Being Put to Work

So we notice in this chapter in verse 15, that Jacob began to reap. He had spent just a month with his uncle Laban, and he was enjoying it. Uncle Laban was somewhat of a wealthy man, and he had the beautiful daughter Rachel with whom Jacob had fallen in love, and things were going along nicely. In verse 15 Laban said, “Son, you have sat long enough now. If you are going to stay here, you are going to have to go to work. You are going to have to be like one of the servants.” Of course Laban was an oriental, and he said it much more politely than I am saying it. As a matter of fact, we would call it double talk today. You might not realize that that was what he was saying in verse 15, but that is what he meant:

Genesis 29:

15…Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?

What he meant was, “Bud, get to work. Now tell me what you think you ought to have. Just because you are my nephew is no sign that you are not going to carry your part of the load. You are going to be a servant.”

Do you suppose Jacob began to think when Laban said that? I think so, because, you see, the thing that set Jacob off on the wrong foot was that his mother told him something that was true. But she told him too soon, and he was not able to comprehend it.

Reaping Deception

You know, we need wisdom in revealing truth. Truth is truth, but truth that is revealed to immature minds, to immature spirits, can sometimes be misleading. You see, God had said that Esau should serve Jacob, and that is exactly what He had intended. But Rebekah told Jacob that too soon, and he got awfully uppity. He was not the least bit interested in being a servant. That is the reason he lied to his old, blind daddy as he did. He was misusing the truth, though it was the truth. He never dreamed that he would ever have to be a servant, and the first thing that happened to him when he got away from home was that someone brought him up short and said, “You are going to be a servant.” He was beginning to reap the harvest.

You know the story pretty well, I think…how when Laban asked, “What would your wages be?”, Jacob said, “I would like to marry your daughter. I will serve seven years for her.” So great was his love for her, we read in verse 20, that it seemed but a few days. It did not seem like seven years at all. Then you will notice how father-in-law Laban deceived Jacob. He slipped Leah off on him instead of Rachel. Jacob did not want Leah, but Leah was the one he got, through the deception of his father-in-law. Are you beginning to see how the harvest is being reaped? He deceived his father, so he was deceived by his father-in-law. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

He looked lightly upon deception. It did not mean much to him. But now he was beginning to reap that same deception, and oh, how bitter he was.

There is another lesson here, I think, if you will look down at verse 26. When Jacob remonstrated with Laban for this deceit, Laban said, “It must not be done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.”

Genesis 29:

26And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

Jacob had despised the rights of the firstborn while he was at home. Esau was the first born. God had a plan and purpose for Jacob and Esau, but God never intended that Jacob should bring it about by his own efforts. He never intended that hate should exist between Esau and Jacob. He never intended that Jacob should show the disrespect for his parents and for his elder brother that he showed. Jacob disregarded the right of the firstborn, so God said, “You are going to have to learn the rights of the firstborn.” You see, he was reaping what he had sown. He had disregarded Esau's rights, and he had to face up to the rights of Leah, the firstborn of Laban.

Learning to Wait

Then I think the fourth thing that Jacob reaped in relation to the harvest was the lesson in waiting. He had had absolutely no regard for God's schedule. He was going to do things in a big way. For example, God said that he would have the birthright, but he would not wait until God gave it to him. He stole it with a mess of pottage. God said that he should have a blessing, but he would not wait until God gave the blessing. He deceived his own father to get the blessing. He said, “I am not going to wait for anyone,” and God said, “Are you not? Well, the thing that you want more than life itself you are going to wait for, and there is not anything in the world you can do about it.” And he had to wait 14 years before he could get the thing he wanted.

May we learn that if God says “Wait,” you must wait. If you do not do it one way, you will do it another, because the harvest of waiting is there.

After Jacob married Rachel, she was unable to bear children, and she reproached him about it. In verse 2 of chapter 30:

Genesis 30:

2And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

You see, he had been usurping God's place. He had been taking things into his own hands, and now God brought him to the place where he could be reproached with that very thing. “You are acting like God Almighty. Why can you not do this?” Jacob realized there were some things he could not do. He began to come to the end of himself.

Wanting to Return Home

He came to the end of himself indeed in verse 25 when he got homesick. It is a wonderful thing to get homesick, spiritually speaking. You know, the prodigal went on his way. No one could do anything until he got homesick. When he got homesick, spiritually speaking, no one needed to do anything about it. Down there in the pig's sty the prodigal said, “I want to go home.” The next statement is that he arose and went.

You know, when folk are wayward, when they are going their way instead of God's way, and you are pretty well sure they are, maybe the thing we ought to do instead of talking so much is to pray, “Oh God, make them homesick. God, make them so miserable and so homesick that they will have to come home, spiritually speaking.”

I do not know whether anyone was praying for Jacob or not, but in verse 25 we read:

Genesis 30:

25And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.

This was the beginning of the end of these 20 years of experience in Jacob's life. It was the beginning of the end of the supplanter, because before Jacob got home, he met God in a very real way and came to the end of himself. Oh, there were a number of things that God brought to pass in Jacob's life, but finally there came the last battle and the final victory.

God's Care of His Child

I said to you that God was going to watch over Jacob during these 20 years, and I have showed you how He did watch over him in chastening, how He did not condone anything that he did. But in spite of the fact that He was chastening him, He watched out for Jacob's best interest.

You have many illustrations of this in everyday living, you know. You may feel like whipping your child, and may feel that he needs it, and you may bear down rather heavily when you whip him. Your neighbor sees you whipping him and says, “That kid's deserved a beating for a long time. I think I will give him one, too.” There is a fist fight before it is over because though you can whip your child, no one else had better try to whip him. That is your business. You have read in numerous stories how husbands and wives get into a lethal battle and the husband is about to whip the wife, and someone interferes to protect. She hauls off and hits him over the head with a chair and says, “Let my husband alone. This is a private fight!”

I say reverently that though God is going to chasten His children, He is not going to let the Devil or anyone else lay a hand against them, because they are His children. That is what He said: “I am going to keep you, and I am going to be with you, and I am going to bring you back again.”

I would like for you to notice with me how God did take care of Jacob even though He was chastening him. When Jacob began to talk to Laban in verse 27 about going home, Laban said, “I do not want you to go. You are the best thing that ever happened to me:”

Genesis 30:

27And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.

You see, God was blessing Jacob, and Laban got in on the blessings that splashed over. It is good to be around the people of God. You yourself may not be in the place of blessing, but if you are around the people who are getting blessed, it is always possible that a little of it will splash over on you.

Material Blessing from God

Jacob went out poor, and God intended that he should come back wealthy. But Jacob, of course, could not leave it with God, so in the last part of chapter 30, we have a rather interesting way in which Jacob connived to replenish his wealth. But in chapter 31, God is quick to remind him that it is all to no avail. You will notice down in chapter 31, verse 4, that Jacob called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock and said unto them, “I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before, but the God of my father hath been with me.” Notice that last statement: “Things are not as easy as they should be, but God has been with me.” And then down in verse 7:

Genesis 31:

7And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.

Thank God for that verse. The world is not going to be friendly to you. If you have not learned that already, you are going to learn it. It is going to deceive you, and it is going to cheat you, and all manner of evil is going to happen to you. You are going to be like Jacob maybe, and say, “A man has got to protect his own interest.” No, you do not…not if you are God's child. You do not have to protect your own interest. “Oh,” you say, “nothing bad will happen to me.” Yes, it might. Someone might cheat you ten different times. That is what Laban did to Jacob. He cheated him ten different times. Old Laban thought he was really doing something. Because he did not know God was working behind the scenes, Jacob chaffed under it, but now God has worked. So he said, “God has suffered him not to hurt me.” To continue:

Genesis 31:

8If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.
9Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

You see, you cannot get ahead of God. Neither can the world get ahead of God. Someone told me, half in fun and half in earnest, and I think it probably was a well-chosen remark, that the only reason I get along is that the Lord preserves the simple. And I said, “Thank God.” I am glad He does. He preserves the simple. I am not a match for them at all. I have never made any effort to match the wits of the world. But I have entrusted my case to God, and I want to say to you from the bottom of my heart that God has taken care of me. He has not suffered anyone to hurt me.

Returning Home

Jacob said, “God has provided. God has kept His promise, and I am ready to go home.”

I would like for you to notice before we leave these chapters how God guided Jacob home. We have already touched on one thing in verse 25 of chapter 30: God put a desire in his heart to go. You know, that is the way God leads. He stirs us up. He makes us dissatisfied. He puts the desire in our hearts.

You cannot depend on that desire alone, so do not jump to conclusions and say, “Well, I have got a desire to do a certain thing, so it must be God's will.” Do not say, “Well, I do not have any particular desire to do that, so it must not be God's will.” God put a desire in his heart to go home, and then, as we have already noticed in chapter 31, God fixed the circumstances so it was a good idea to go home. Notice verse 2:

Genesis 31:

2And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.

He not only put a desire in the heart of Jacob, but He began to work on the circumstances. In this instance He began to make things unpleasant where Jacob was. God does not always make circumstances unpleasant and unbearable. He happened to in this instance, but one thing we can be absolutely sure of, and that is that God always arranges the circumstances. God times things correctly. If you have a desire in your heart to do something, and you believe that desire is of God, well, do not fret if the circumstances have not been arranged yet. Do not fuss and fume and get all upset because the circumstances have not been arranged. God will arrange the circumstances. You see, it might take Him a whole lot longer to stir you up than it does to change the circumstances. Most of the time it does. That is the reason a great many times He puts the desire in your heart before He starts the train to rolling. If He did not, you would miss the train. He stirred up the circumstances and made it important for Jacob to leave. And then He spoke to him:

Genesis 31:

3And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

So he had the Word of God. Well, actually, he had the Word of God before he ever left home, because God said, “I want you to come back.” But now he has the Word reiteratd in his heart: “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.”

God Directs Us

May I suggest to you that there is in this that I have been emphasizing a good way to determine the will of God in your own life: the coinciding of the desire, the circumstances, and the Word of God. None will ever contradict the other. All three will always coincide. Of course, you do not want to consider anything that you do not have the Word of God for, regardless of the circumstances or the desire of your hearts. But if you have the desire, wait for the circumstances to be right. Then move when God says move.

Sometimes you move too quickly and sometimes you move too slowly. But if you move just when God says move, your way is directed of the Lord.


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