Labor for Love


Genesis 29:16-20 records that Laban, Jacob’s uncle had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Jacob loved the younger Rachel who was well favored and more beautiful than Leah. Jacob offered to serve his uncle seven years in return for his daughter Rachel’s hand in marriage. Laban agrees and asks Jacob to stay with him. And the Bible records that Jacob served Laban seven years for Rachel. However his labor for love for seven years seemed to him as it was merely just a few days, because of the love he had for Rachel.

Points to ponder:
When we work for the Lord God, Jesus Christ, no matter how long it takes, it would seem like just a few days, if we love Jesus Christ. In other words, how long does it seem to you when you are following and serving the Lord God?

Genesis 29:16-20 (KJV)
16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

Are you (Spiritually) Alive?


Dennis FernandesOn September 30th of the year of the Lord 2016, I had to bring the Lord’s message to the gieving family and friends of a dear dear friend of our family, in his memorial service. Dennis Fernandes (1979-2016) was a dear brother of mine and his tragic passing away by drowning in Lake Buchanan on September 24th was a heart wrenching experience. It was not until 48 hours later that the Texas Game Warden and his special ops team were able to recover his body. That evening, when I met my children, Reuben (10 years) and Ittai (4 years) and told them, “They found Dennis uncle”, their very first question was “Is he alive?” to which I with sorrow replied “No”, only to recognize quickly, how incorrect and wrong, I was. For Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” Then Jesus questioned “Believe thou this?” (John 11:25-26).

Dennis, our brother, is alive. He is spiritually alive, because he trusted and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the destroyer of the devil who had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14) and who will eventually destroy the last enemy – death itself (1 Corinthians 15:26). Dennis was a child of God for he had received and believed in Jesus Christ (John 1:12). So though he is physically dead, yet he is spiritually alive and has merely a change of address, from earth, where sorrow and pain abounds, to heaven, where there is no more sorrow or pain – only the Joy of the Lord for eternity.

Like many of Dennis’ family and friends, Sangeetha, Reuben, Ittai and I miss Dennis and we weep, because we love him. Jesus wept (John 11:35) even though he knew that he would raise his friend, Lazarus from the dead. So our tears are only temporary for God himself will wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).

Points to ponder:
It is only a matter of time, before we will join Dennis and our loved ones who have gone before us, for it is written, that it is appointed unto men to die once and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). The judgment of God, where the verdict can only be one or the other – dead or alive? Spiritually dead or Spiritually alive? To all who have believed in Jesus as their Savior, King and Lord – the verdict would be Spiritually alive and to the others who willfully chose to reject him, their condition would be worse than physical death for they would die the second death – eternally separated from God. The question that then ought to be answered is: Are you (Spiritually) alive?

John 11:25-26 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Revelation 21:3-5 (KJV)
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

What should our wages be?


In our personal lives, we seek to be paid for the time and effort we put into our work for our earthly employers. When Jacob stayed with Laban his uncle for a month, working for him, Laban questioned “Just because you are a brother (relative) of mine, should you work for nothing?” and asked him “Tell me what your wages should be?” Though Jacob served Laban, Laban recognizes him as a brother and not a servant.

Points to Ponder:
Jesus referred to his disciples not as his servants but as his friends (John 15:15) and upon his resurrection referred to them as his brothers (Matthew 28:10). In other words, we who do the will of God the Father as Jesus’ disciples are his relatives – his brothers and sisters (Matthew 12:46-50). The Bible also tells us that we are laborers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1). So the question that looms to be answered is – Is our work that we do for our Lord God worthy of wages?

For the wages of our sin is death and Jesus paid the price with his life to give us life. An equitable exchange would be “life for life” and so are we willing to pay the price of our lives for The One who has given us life? If God was to ask us as to what our wages should be, what would be our response? In other words, Is our work that we do for the Lord God worthy of wages?

Genesis 29:15 (KJV)
15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?

 

Confession – Coming out Clean


Genesis 29:11-14 records the account of Jacob meeting Rachel and her father, Laban when he came into the land of his mother’s people. When Rachel ran and told her father of her encounter with Jacob at the well, Laban ran to meet him, embraced him and kissed him and brought him into his home, as a gesture of hospitality and kinship. And the Bible records, that Jacob told Laban all these things. In order words, Jacob came out clean, no longer deceiving as he did his brother, but instead confessing. We are not told what “all these things” are but from what is record of Jacob’s life till that time, we can assume that it was possibly:
– how he had deceived his father and his brother Esau of his birthright and his blessings,
– how his brother intended to kill him,
– how his mother did not want to lose him and sent him to Laban her brother to find a wife,
– how he had encounter the Lord God on his journey, and of God’s promises of God’s presence, provisions and protection, and
– how he had providentially met Rachel at the well.
And Laban exclaimed, you are surely my bone and my flesh and let him stay with him for a month.

Points to ponder:
Jacob’s confession was not warranted but yet he confessed and was accepted as family into the home of his kin. When we confess all our sins and come out clean, no longer deceiving ourselves (James 1:22), the Lord God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), adopting us into his family (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). Have you confessed Jesus as Lord? Have you come out clean?

Genesis 29:11-14 (KJV)
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.
13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.

Rolling the Stone


You have probably heard about the English band Rolling Stones, but have you heard about rolling the stone. Genesis 29:1-11 gives the account of Jacob rolling the stone that covered the well, where he meets his future wife, Rachel. When Jacob arrives at the land where his mother Rebekah had asked him to go – her father’s place, he looked and saw a well in the field. It was the well that watered the flocks and there were three flocks of sheep lying by it. And a great stone covered the well. When the flocks gathered, it would take a few shepherds to roll the stone off the mouth of the well to water their sheep and after the flocks were quenched of their thirst, the shepherds would put the stone again upon the well’s mouth, possibly to keep the water from evaporation or the wells from being stopped (Genesis 26:18). When Jacob saw his mother’s brother, Laban’s daughter, Rachel, at a distance, he approached the shepherds that had gathered there and asked to water the sheep and feed them, though he knew that it was not yet the time to do so. They responded that they could not, because all the flocks had not yet gathered there at the well, and that the stone on the well had not yet been rolled. Then as Rachel came toward the well, Jacob went near it, and single-handedly rolled the stone that covered the well and watered the flock of Laban, his mother’s brother, which Rachel kept as a shepherdess.

The Bible does not explicitly state Jacob’s intent in rolling the stone from the mouth of the well. We can only speculate as to whether it was a show of his strength to impress his future wife, or if it was a demonstration of his spirit of service. One thing we can extrapolate however from the sequences of events is that up to this time, we know of Jacob as the deceiver who did not really work hard to get what he wanted – usurping his brother’s birthright and blessings – but now after his encounter with the Lord God, enroute to his mother’s brother’s place, for the first time we see Jacob working hard, not to take but to give.

Points to ponder:
When we encounter the Lord God in our life’s journey, and we believe in Jesus Christ, we are changed from being deceivers (James 1:22) to becoming doers of his work and will – which is to muster his Holy Spirit (and not our own strength) to co-labor with the Lord and roll the stone covering the hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) of people, so that the God’s Holy Spirit – The Living Water – can quench their spiritual thirst. Are you and I a stone roller?

Genesis 29:1-11 (KJV)
Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
And 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.
And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.
And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.
And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them.
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

Arriving at the destination


Rebekah, Jacob’s mother had asked Jacob to go to her brother Laban in Haran and stay there a few days until his brother, Esau’s fury had turned away (Genesis 27:43-46). Through the journey we learn that Jacob encounter’s God in a dream, and is assured of God’s presence, provisions and protection (Genesis 28:13-16). Genesis 29:1 reads “Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.” In other words, it was after Jacob’s encounter with God, he continued on his journey, that he was set out to, and arrived at the place where he was asked to go. He enquires of the people (shepherds) that he met there and confirmed that it was indeed the destination that he was to arrive at.

Points to ponder:
While this may seem like a natural set of events on the periphery, we must recognize that Jacob’s arrival in the land where he was sent to, was indeed a testament of God’s promises coming true – the promise of God’s presence, provisions and protection. In like manner, after our encounter with Jesus Christ, we are on a spiritual journey and the very fact that we will arrive at our destination (a city whose architect and builder is God himself – Hebrews 11:10) is a testament to God being faithful and true (Revelation 19:11). For Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us, and it is only he who is wise and Savior, who can keep us from falling and present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24-25). We can arrive at our destination because God is with us – He is Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23).

Genesis 29:1-6 (KJV)
Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
And 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.
And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.

Giving back to God


Genesis 28:20-22 gives the account of a promise that a man (in this case Jacob) makes to God in response to God’s promise to him of giving him and his seed the land where in he was. Jacob vowed conditionally that if God was with him and if God keeps him in the way he should go and give unto him food (bread to eat) and clothes (raiment) to put on, then the Lord shall be his God and of all that God gives him, he will surely give the tenth back to God (Genesis 20-21).

The Lord God promised to be with him (Genesis 28:15).
The Lord God promised to keep him (Genesis 28:15).
The Lord God promised to provide for him (Genesis 28:13).
The Lord God identified himself to be the God of his grandfather Abraham and of his father Isaac.

Now Jacob is personalizing that this same Lord would also be his God (not just that of his fathers) (Genesis 28:13,22). Jacob also recognizes that the source of everything that he will get is God for he exclaims “and of all that thou (God) shall give me.”

Points to ponder:
God has given to all mankind his only begotten Son, Jesus (John 3:16).
Jesus promised to be with us, even to the ends of the age (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus assured us that if anyone believes in him, no man can pluck us out of his hand (John 10:28) – in other words, we are kept in Jesus’ hands.
Jesus assured us that we ought not to worry about what we shall eat or drink or wear, for the heavenly Father knows our needs and will provide for us (Matthew 6:31-33) and that we ought to seek God and his Kingdom first.

Jesus need not only be the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – he can be ours too. Have you asked him to be your God?
While we can never out-give God, we learn from the Holy Scripture that Jesus gave himself totally for you and me and he has given us eternal life – Are we willing to give back to him, our life, at least a tenth of it – if not more? Think about it and act on it.

Genesis 28:20-22 (KJV)
20 And 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,
21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:
22 And 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.