Good morning! I love how the chapters we are reading are filled with the topic of “faith toward God.” It is so much easier to leave our old lives of sin and have “repentance from dead works” when all we can see is the promises of God. It’s so much easier to decide to be washed and clean when we focus on His promises. It’s so much easier to see His anointing and authority and call on our lives when we see how He made covenant promises to us. We can suddenly see the reality of His coming Kingdom reign, when we can be resurrected from the dead and all the world is put back into the order He originally intended for us as His justice is applied. I can definitely see why these are “elementary things” that help us go on to perfection, as the author of Hebrews says.
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Messiah, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:1-2).
So why am I thinking about this today?
Jacob was terribly frustrated at the treatment of Laban toward him. In the midst of unjust treatment, YHVH speaks to him:
“Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you” (Genesis 31:3).
Do we actually grasp what it would mean if YHVH were present with us all the time? It would mean His protection, His watch-care over us, His blessing and favor on our endeavors, His multiplication of our children, His wisdom to guide us, His creative Spirit empowering us… and of course, so much more.
Jacob calls Rachel and Leah out to the field where his flocks were. And he explains to them that even though their father has been against him,
“…the God of my father has been with me” (Genesis 31:5).
He’s getting it!
Even though he has endured under unjust wage changes ten times, he proclaimed to his wives,
“God did not allow him to hurt me“ (Genesis 31:7).
He tells them that the messenger (“angel”) of YHVH had appeared to him in a dream:
“And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family'” (Genesis 31:12-13).
And Jacob has faith and determines to obey!
“So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, ‘This is God’s camp.’ And he called the name of that place Mahanaim“ (Genesis 32:1-2).
The place name מַֽחֲנַיִם is pronounced Mach-ana-eem, each of those a’s pronounced with an /ah/ sound. I love that it is named for the camp of the entire clan, with as many as 50 tents or more. They are placed in a circular formation, very close together, with their tent stakes sharpened before being placed into the ground so that any one of them could be used as a weapon.
So the camp is a picture of protection, so that the seed can be protected and continue to the next generation. And when a father of the clan steps back and looks at the protection being given to his dear children, it is a thing of freedom, compassion, and beauty.
Get this, though. Even though he has 12 children, four wives, huge flocks, and probably an immense number of household servants (employees), and they must have had an impressive number of tents in their camp — the huge number of angels surrounding them prompts him to call it “God’s camp.”
Dear friend, when we walk in His covenant promises, those angels encamp around us, too! We are also surrounded with protection, freedom, compassion, and beauty!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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