Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to a very crucial turn in Jacob's lifehis dream at Bethel (28:10-22). Although we are all familiar with the story of Jacob's dream, I doubt that we know the true significance of it. If we would know the significance of this dream, we must understand why Jacob had it where and when he did. Why did he not have this dream when he was at home with his parents? Once we find the answer to this question, we shall see what this dream means to us all.
Jacob had this dream while he was wandering on his lonesome journey (28:10). Jacob had been born into a very good family. He had an excellent father, a loving mother, and an interesting brother. Before the foundation of the world, God chose and predestinated him to have the birthright. In the story of Jacob we see God's intention and man's desire. God intended that Jacob be the first, and Jacob also desired to be the first, not the second. Thus, Jacob's desire corresponded to God's intention. This indicates that if we have a desire which corresponds with God's intention, then that desire must originate with God and not with ourselves. God intends to give us the birthright, and we also desire to be the first. This desire is not wrong; it is absolutely right. However, we must learn the lesson of not exercising our natural ability and our natural strength to fulfill God's intention and to satisfy our desire. Our natural strength and ability present a problem.
By reading the book of Genesis along with the whole Bible, we see that God intended to give the birthright to Jacob and that Jacob desired to get it. However, Jacob's natural strength had to be dealt with. Therefore, God sovereignly caused him to be the second. Although God had chosen him to be the first, God caused him to be born the second that Jacob might learn that his natural man was altogether unworthy and had to be cut off. God wants to give us the birthright, but our natural man is unqualified for it. We need to be transformed. Because God knew that Jacob needed transformation, He made him number two instead of number one. Without such a sovereign arrangement, Jacob's natural man and natural strength would never have been exposed. If God had put Jacob ahead of Esau, Jacob might have thought that he was very spiritual. He would not have struggled, because he would already have been the first. But God knew what was in Jacob and He put Esau first that Jacob's natural man might be exposed. Even while he was still in his mother's womb, Jacob struggled to come out first. This was God's arrangement.
Whatever happens to us is according to God's arrangement. Do not think that you are too small to be worthy of such a sovereign arrangement. God has a purpose for usto give us the birthright. Since our natural man is not qualified for this, God must transform us. He does not do this simply by His creating hand, but by a long process which can only be carried out through all the circumstances of life. As we have seen, God used Isaac, Rebekah, and Esau to deal with Jacob. Although these three people never held a conference to discuss how to deal with Jacob, they nevertheless worked in a good coordination for this purpose, because everything was under God's sovereign hand. God arranged for Esau to be born first. He also arranged for Esau to be physically strong but not to be skillful in exercising his mind. Although he could not exercise his mind very well, he could exercise his physical strength to defeat Jacob. Furthermore, God arranged for Jacob to have a father who only knew to eat and enjoy. Even when Isaac realized that something was wrong when Jacob came to him disguised as Esau, he only cared for his eating. This was the reason that he had become blind. While Isaac was neutral, Rebekah, who was very clever, was partial, very much favoring her beloved son Jacob. These three persons worked together to cause Jacob to leave his loving mother and his father's home and to become a lonesome wanderer.
In ancient times it was a great thing to travel from Beer-sheba to where Laban lived. It was not a small matter for Jacob to leave his mother, father, and the environment in which he had been raised and to take such a long journey. Having become a lonesome wanderer, he must have suffered a great deal on this journey.
If you consider your past with the proper understanding, you will realize that your experience was exactly the same as Jacob's. Not many of us were saved when we were in a good home under our loving mother's care. Most of us were saved when we were lonesome and had been forced to suffer. Some had lost their mother, father, fiancée, wife, husband, or children and had become lonesome. In principle, at the time many of us were saved, we were suffering and lonesome. During the years in which we were under the care of our loving mother, the heavenly dream did not come. When did the first dream from heaven come to you? We all have had such a dream. The first dream of our spiritual life was our salvation. As we shall see, every spiritual vision is a dream. In what kind of situation were you when you had your first dream? As many of us can testify, our circumstances were not at all pleasant. Some were suffering, others were lonely, and still others were in an unpleasant environment. We had been forced to suffer, to wander, and to become lonesome. When, according to our consciousness, we had lost everything on earth and we were suffering and were lonely, the first heavenly dream came to us.
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