January 10, 2019

We Are Members of the House of God

 

INTERESTING FACTS : In hundreds of passages, the Bible declares or takes the position explicitly or implicitly that it is nothing less than the very Word of God. Some thirty-eight hundred times the Bible declares, "God said," or "Thus says the Lord"[1]
 
Daily Reading : [GENESIS 28 - 31]
 
TEXT : Gen 28:11  And 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. Gen 28:12 And 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. Gen 28:13  And, 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; Gen 28:14  And 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.
 
THEME : Sovereignty of God
 
As we read the Bible each day, we continue to see the guidance, influence, and rule of God on its pages. Remember He wrote the Bible, and is the unseen Author of the Book of Books. How many lives the Holy Spirit has renewed, encouraged, refreshed, revived, invigorated, and motivated by what is contained in its pages, we shall never know. However, there is no question in the mind of the devoted Christian - the Bible brings life to all who read and believe it! What a kindness God gave us by writing the Bible and preserving it for all generations and peoples! Its wealth is far above anything this world can offer.
 
As we read page by page, we notice one recurrent truth, perhaps one may say it is THE recurrent truth, which is - God is in charge of His creation. We also learn God has a design, a purpose, and a strategy for sinful humanity. This is what King Solomon wrote about in Ecclesiastes chapter three, when he records there is a time and a season for every "purpose" under heaven. Every objective in every season belongs to the will of God. Therefore, we should be comforted in our trials and diligent in our efforts to serve Him. However, the specific feature of God by which God rules the universe, plus everything and everyone in it; we come to know as His sovereignty. The Oxford English Dictionary defines sovereignty as - "supreme power or authority, and "the authority of a state to govern itself or another state, a self-governing state."
 
On God's sovereignty, Easton's Bible Dictionary says - "Of God, his absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure." (Dan_4:25, Dan_4:35; Rom_9:15-23; 1Ti_6:15; Rev_4:11) In other words, God does what pleases Him and for His own loving preferences and goals. Thankfully, God is good, and wants to do good for us as Christians.
 
Therefore, after Isaac blesses Jacob, Isaac tells Jacob not to take a wife from the daughters of Canaan, but rather to find one from his father's homeland. Again, this shows the difference between Jacob and Esau, as Esau took wives of the daughters of Canaan, which displeased his father and mother, while Jacob obeys his parents. On his way to Padan-Aram, Jacob stops to rest for the night and has a meeting with God through a dream. I want to mention, how often God speaks in the Bible to His prophets in dreams. Obviously, dreams are one of the ways God communicated with the patriarchs, prophets, and writers of the Bible. We the same principle as well in the New Testament, namely, God guiding and revealing His will to His people through dreams.
 
To continue, as Jacob sleeps, in his dream he sees angels rising and descending on a great ladder that connects heaven and earth [a picture of God's sovereign control in both places], and hears God reiterate His plan to bless "all the families of the earth" in His covenant and promise to Abraham. Of course, Isaac, and now Jacob are part of that promise, but God chooses Jacob according to His own will as the progenitor of the twelve tribes of Israel, of which one tribe is named Judah. From this tribe the Christ will come. God in order to fulfill His will and bless Jacob whom He loves, promises never to leave him. He is going to complete the work He is doing through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Specifically, from the time God spoke to Satan about the birth of a Messiah ["And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."  Genesis 3:14 - 15], God continues to preserve the seed of the woman through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, then Judah and his offspring, until finally Christ is born as the son of David through the Virgin Mary. There is such encouragement in learning about the sovereignty of God!
 
TRUTH FOR TODAY : WE ARE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF GOD!
 
We must remind ourselves that God preserved the seed of Abraham [Christ] because He has been fulfilling His will and plan throughout the ages, in particular, that promise and plan He ordained through the nation of Israel. Therefore, God would allow no harm to come to His chosen servants because He has from the beginning an intent of saving all who believe in Jesus Christ. The reference that "all the families of the earth" would be blessed is a reference to the Messiah, who the Savior not only of the Jews, but also of all men and women who will believe. When Jacob awoke from his dream, this is what he said -
 
"And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. And 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.  And 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. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first." [Genesis 28:16 - 19]
 
Bethel means - "House of God" - and we learn in the New Covenant that we are now members of the house of God. "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. [1 Timothy 3:15-16]. In the sovereignty of God, we are partakers of the promises made to the Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by becoming members of the Body of Christ. God watched over His patriarchs and prophets to insure He would have His desire fulfilled. Now, He watches over you as well. This is to make sure His will is once again - fulfilled. That is, it is God's will to give you eternal life so you will never perish! You and I are part of the covenant made ages ago with the patriarchs we are reading about, and will read about, and now have Christ in us, the hope of glory! This is God's will - that you and I have an unending life with Him, and because of His sovereignty, no one can stop it! How great is our God!
 
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." [John 10:27 - 30]

  • [1] http://bible.org/seriespage/bible-written-word-god
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