Theme: Sanctification (Part 1)
(Key Verses: Gen 29:1-15)
“In times past” the elect of God has indeed “walked according to the course of this world” being ruled by an evil and deceptive heart and mind which God created in this marred vessel of clay (Gen 1:1-2; Gen 2:7; Isa 45:7; Jer 18:4; Rom 8:6-7; Rom 8:20):
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Through the revelation of Jesus the elect are indeed privileged to hear His trumpets behind them in this age in order for them to be able to see their own deceptive walk and desperately wicked heart (Rev 8:6):
Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
Rev 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last….
The day of trumpets is announcing the day of judgement which comes first to God’s elected church, the body of Christ:
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
This day of the Lord is certainly a dreadful day for this fleshly man of sin because the time of judgement has come to expose and destroy the works of this son of perdition through the righteous fiery Word of God for the purpose of bringing sanctification and salvation (Jer 5:14; 1Co 3:13-15):
2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2Th 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Under the theme of sanctification through servanthood, we also meet the typical elect of God in the life of Jacob where he first operated as a deceiver and manipulator. With this frame of mind, Jacob was not ready yet to be of service to God and his people. For some part of his life, Jacob was only focused on what he could benefit from a certain situation, as his outlook on life was limited to his own tent and his selfish ambitions:
Gen 25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
Jacob manipulated Esau out of the rights of the firstborn and also received the blessing of the inheritance of the firstborn through evil scheming with the help of his mother, Rebekah (Gen 25:29-34; Gen 27:6-29). But to take possession of the inheritance was another story for Jacob, as we also will learn that through the process of sanctification, God sets His elect apart for the sole service to Him and others (Exo 28:41; Exo 29:44; Joh 17:17; Eph 5:27; Col 3:24; Rom 12:1; 1Th 1:3-5):
Exo 19:22 And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.
Rom 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Jacob will also come to this position by enduring many tribulations and trials outside the protective realm of his mother’s directions and his own tent. This is the road of all God’s elect as we are all in desperate need of sanctification and redemption from this wicked natural heart to be set apart to function as servants in God’s holy temple, which is His kingdom (Rev 15:8):
Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
The elect will be those who will be raised up from death in the first resurrection and rule on this earth in the symbolic thousand year reign over the kingdoms of the earth and be the judges in the lake of fire (Rev 20). But to be the first and in that first resurrection, we need to become the least or to be humbled to also be stripped of our earthly selfish nature and carnal aspirations (Mar 10:31; Luk 14:8-11):
Mar 10:44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
Mar 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
Physical Israel had to leave Egypt where they believed that their efforts produced food and shelter as they also later, after being freed, longed to be back in Egypt, even under that shelter of slavery to sin (Exo 16:3; Num 14:1-4; Neh 9:16-17; 1Co 10:6):
Deu 11:10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:
But the land of spiritual possession and its accompanying mindset are quite different from this earthy land and the conceptions of our carnal mind (1Co 2:12-16). Egypt is a type of our walk in the flesh where the waters from the Nile River were the only main source of water supply. The land of Egypt is irrigated by manmade systems and human efforts – “with thy foot” (Deu 11:10; Zec 14:18). The dependence on flesh with all its false doctrines, which is symbolized by the waters of the earth and the mist in the garden of Eden, cannot produce or sustain spirit life (Gen 2:5-6). These waters of the earth maintain the green plants and herbs which are unfulfilling. It is only the elect of God who are then permitted by God to “go on” to maturity to drink of the rain from heaven and the eating of more solid meat (Heb 6:1-3). The milk and honey of spiritual herbs cannot sustain anyone through the many severe fiery trials (1Pe 4:12). It is only the elect of God who are enabled to count these fiery trials all joy as they know what they produce (Jas 1:2-4):
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Through these ‘exercises’ God’s elect learn how to discern and handle the hills and the valleys in life because of the waters of heaven. They discover that God is in absolute and total control of everything that happens in every aspect of life:
Deu 11:11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
Deu 11:12 A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
Jacob is entering this period of his life to have his “senses exercised” as he left for the house of his uncle Laban in Haran, on the instruction of his parents (Gen 24:8-10):
Gen 28:7 And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram [plato of Aram = a region in Syria/Mesopotamia = Gen 24:10; Gen 25:20; Hos 12:12].
Gen 28:10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran [meaning “parched” and “mountainous place” – linked to the region of Padanaram in Mesopotamia = relating to Babylon].
Jacob travelled east to get to the land of the people of the east:
Gen 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
All God’s elect, typified by Jacob, must first travel eastward to Babylon, and go through their time in exile and to be deceived by our masters in Babylon. Jacob first came to a well which is a very familiar place in scripture where important meetings happened and where relationships also started in many instances in scripture:
Gen 29:2 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.
Gen 29:3 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.
But here at this “well in the field” we see a few interesting things which are noted for our learning. As we know the field represents the world and also the false churches with their unfulfilling waters “of the earth”, because Jesus also declared that “everyone who drinks of this water [of earthly wells] will be thirsty again” (Mat 13:38; Joh 4:13-14). These shepherds at this particular well were also very dependent on this earthly water to temporarily satisfy the thirst of their sheep. These waters also correlate with the waters from “under the firmament” which are not the true waters of spiritual life from “above the firmament” (Joh 4:6-15; Rev 22:1; Rev 22:17):
Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
God made that separation between these waters for a good reason:
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
The waters found on the earth are the waters from “under the firmament” which is referring to our dependence on our thoughts and our ways which always lead to death. Everything connected to this earth and this creation is what death and decay is about. It is the total opposite of the waters above the firmament which connects with spirit life and peace:
Pro 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
When Jacob arrived at this well, three flocks of sheep were lying nearby waiting for their individual shepherds to roll the great stone away. The number three is also spiritually pointing to the process of us drinking the waters of the earth when we are also weak in the faith. We are at this time limited to the mercy of the shepherds who can only supply the waters of the earth and the herb “of the field” (Gen 1:29):
Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Jacob met these shepherds from Haran at this particular “well in the field” and they were the first to supply him with information concerning Rachel, which is significant how we also come to know about the true bride of Christ – through spiritual Babylon. God ordained it that we learn through opposites – we first meet the darkness in order to understand and appreciate the light (Gen 1:2-5; Gen 1:8; Gen 1:13; Gen 1:19; Gen 1:23; Gen 1:31):
Gen 29:4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
Gen 29:5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
Gen 29:6 And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
Gen 29:7 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.
Gen 29:8 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.
There is a clear consensus among these shepherds. This consensus indicates the negative application of having a multitude of counsellors when we need advice on difficult decisions in our lives (Pro 11:14; Pro 15:22; Pro 24:6). The churches of this world are all in agreement concerning the one mind they share in having false teachings and in their opposition to the true words and gospel of Jesus and His true church (Psa 2:2). We take part in this consensus at our appointed times, when we also relish this water from the earth and eat green plants and herbs as our staple spiritual diet. This is our time when we have “itching ears” to hear what our natural heart wants to hear:
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
As in the case of Jacob, God’s elect first meet the false shepherds before they can meet the real and true shepherds. We first meet the “other Jesus”, or the fleshly Christ, before we meet the true Christ (Mat 24:5; 2Co 5:16; 2Co 11:4). When Jacob heard that his cousin from Haran is coming, Jacob’s old nature jumped forward to disregard others as he wanted things to be done the way he thought it should be done. He rolled the stone away to give water to the flock which Rachel brought, ignoring the convention among these shepherds:
Gen 29:9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them.
Gen 29:10 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.
But although Jacob broke the consensus of these shepherds in this instance, we can also see that he is starting to show the heart of the elect of God who first look at the needs of God’s people:
Gal 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
In our time of immaturity, our human spirit controls our actions as it is only through the mature spirit of God in us that we will be able to deal with others with humility and meekness:
1Co 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
Jacob, in his immature natural love, could not also contain his speech or emotions in the process of meeting Rachel:
Gen 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
This meeting with Rachel introduced Jacob to his uncle Laban, and from here Jacob’s life moved into a higher dimension of learning, through which he will learn the hard way that God’s ways are not his ways:
Gen 29:12 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.
Gen 29:13 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.
Laban gave Jacob free lodging for a specific time period which in this case is “the space of a month”:
Gen 29:14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
Jacob needed to learn at this point in time to work with his own hands. The apostle Paul also showed the immature believers in Thessalonica that he, as God’s servant, knew that working with our own hands has deep spiritual applications:
2Th 3:8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
2Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
2Th 3:12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
2Th 3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
This has many applications to which we will give a few brief details here. The first thing we learn through this arrangement between Jacob and Laban is that it is required of every servant of God to be industrious and to provide for our own household, even in material things as it also applies to our spiritual sanctification. Sanctification in our daily actions and activities are part of continuously trimming our own lamps and that is what the wise virgins in Christ will do as they work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Mat 25:1-13; Act 20:33-35; Php 2:12-13):
1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
The way we live and provide in material or visible things for our own household, reflects our spiritual understanding of the invisible things of God concerning our works according to the measure of faith we received (Rom 1:20; Rom 12:1-3). Spiritually this also points to this important aspect of “presenting [our] members as servants to righteousness unto sanctification” as we walk blameless amidst a crooked world (Rom 6:19 ASV; 2Co 7:1; 1Th 4:3; 1Th 5:23; 1Ti 2:9-15; Heb 12:14):
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Php 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
If those around us cannot see the works of the faith of Christ reflecting in our behaviour and activities, we are indeed blaspheming the name of God when we speak God’s words which do not match up with our actions:
Rom 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
Rom 2:22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Rom 2:23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
Rom 2:24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
Jacob will also now learn, through his uncle Laban, that no one will serve “for nought”, although Laban himself was not beyond deceit in his dealings with Jacob at a later stage. Nothing we do on this earth is disconnected from the purposes of God for us:
Gen 29:15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?