Monthly Archives: May 2017

Jacob’s Trial of Faith (Part Two)

Genesis 43:1-14

Nobody likes to admit their mistakes, especially if it is a major issue and if we have been stubborn in holding to a position. Jacob had resisted his sons’ arguments about taking Benjamin to Egypt that they might be able to buy food. Some older men will never admit their wrongs, even if plainly shown to be in error. They’re like the captain wanting to go down with the ship. But Jacob made a wise turnabout (43:11-14). Two qualities stand out in his change.

Jacob exercised prudence (43:11-13). He thought through the possible consequences to the best of his ability.

  • He recognized that his sons were telling the truth, and so he changed his mind and acted decisively. He listened to reason, even from his own children. A wise man will alter his opinions when confronted with the truth. Previous statements he may have made do not matter. It is better to be correct than consistent. Learn to agree with the Scriptures instead of your own old opinions.
  • He did what he could to appease the governor and earn his favor. After all, his sons’ lives were at stake! A gift given in secret soothes anger (Prov 21:14a NIV). Here was a strange providence. The family had plenty of honey and spices, but they had no grain. American churches have fancy buildings and plenty of money, but what of the preaching of the word of God and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
  • He acted to make known their honesty. He sent the money back! Jacob had done this before with his brother Esau. Sometimes we must buy peace with others, and the cost may be very high. Faith in God also uses means.
  • He sent them at once. Having seen his error, immediately he set out on the proper course. Further delay was pointless.

Jacob acted in faith (43:14). He prayed. Having done what he could, he sought God’s blessing on the outcome. Perhaps the Lord will be merciful and all eleven sons will return.

Prayer is important. Recently he had complained, “Everything is against me” (42:36). Now he more wisely sought God’s blessing. He resigned the situation to God’s providence. The former schemer and wrestler bowed himself to wait for God’s will. Faced with a dangerous situation, godly people trust God. Remember what Esther said in a crisis moment. “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16 NIV). Do not be mistaken. This was a costly moment for Jacob. His enduring love for departed Rachel, which was expressed in his attachment to Benjamin, was finally sacrificed.

Having made his decision, Jacob had to wait for the outcome. That wait would last at least several weeks, perhaps a couple months. A believer must live by faith to the end of his days. Let us learn the patience of faith instead of striving with God.

Grace and peace, David

Feasting Forever on Jesus, the Hidden Manna!

In Revelation 2:17 Jesus speaks a word of promise to the Christians in Pergamum. “To the one who conquers,” says Jesus, “I will give some of the hidden manna.” What does this mean? Continue reading...

In Revelation 2:17 Jesus speaks a word of promise to the Christians in Pergamum. “To the one who conquers,” says Jesus, “I will give some of the hidden manna.” What does this mean?

Hebrew tradition records that a pot of manna was preserved in the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 16:32-34; Hebrews 9:4). According to 2 Maccabees 2.4-7, when the temple was destroyed in 586 b.c., either Jeremiah or an angel supposedly rescued the ark, together with the manna, both of which would be preserved underground on Mt. Sinai until the messianic age, when the manna would again become the food for God’s people. When the Messiah would come, Jeremiah would reappear and deposit both ark and manna in the new temple in Jerusalem.

But the manna, most assuredly, is Jesus himself (John 6:48-51). The promise to those who “conquer” in Revelation 2:17, therefore, is the assurance that they will feast forever on the person of Christ! That’s a wonderful thought, a moving metaphor, but what does it mean?

It means that Jesus, and only Jesus, will be the sustenance of our body and soul for all eternity. On him alone shall we spiritually feed and draw strength. He is the source of our on-going and eternal life. We are forever dependent on the infusion of his grace and mercy, upheld in existence by the exertion of his marvelous power.

It means we will experience, in relation with him, depths of intimacy utterly inconceivable in our present state of being. Our fallen minds cannot conceive the dimensions of spiritual ecstasy that await us in the ages to come. Our deceitful hearts cannot fathom the spiritual joy we’ll feel forever as the magnitude of his affection for us is made known afresh each moment of each passing day.

It means that when it comes to our knowledge of his personality and the glory and wisdom of his ways, words such as “consummation” and “termination” and “completion” will be utterly out of place. The revelation of his character will be eternally incessant. The display of heretofore unknown facets of his beauty will suffer no lack.

It means that we will never grow weary of seeing his splendor or become bored with the disclosure of his grace. Jesus, as the manna of eternal life, will be an infinite supply of refreshment and joy and affirmation and delight. It means that just as eating now brings a physical satisfaction, as hunger pains are silenced and cravings are met, so the “bread of life” will satisfy our souls and enrich our resurrected bodies and fascinate our glorified minds beyond our wildest and most outrageous dreams!

It means that Jesus will be for us an endless, self-replenishing spring of refreshing water, an inexhaustible, infinitely abundant source of excitement and intrigue, an eternal, ever-increasing database of knowledge and insight and discovery that will never diminish in its capacity to enthrall and captivate. It means that because of Jesus, and Jesus alone, we will experience the odd but glorious sensation of never being deficient but always desiring increase, of ever being filled but constantly hungry for more.