The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapter 28

written by
Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapter twenty eight
 Chapter 28- Jacob and his family
 Gen. 28:1 - 3 & 5 Obtaining a godly wife
 Gen. 28:4 Jacob was the chosen one
 Gen. 28:6 - 9 The old nature or the new nature
 Gen. 28:10 - 12 Jacob's dream of the ladder of God
 Gen. 28:13 - 15 God confirmed the birthright to Jacob
 Gen. 28:16 - 22 Jacob promised to pay tithes to God
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Genesis Chapter 28
The life and times of Jacob and his family

Obtaining a godly wife:
"And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him: thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people." "And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother"
(Genesis 28:1-3 & 5).

Just as Isaac followed his father's example in marrying a woman who loved the Lord, so Jacob followed his father's example in marrying a woman who loved the Lord. This is a great example to us from those folks who acted the right way. The saved and unsaved are never supposed to marry. Why? What is wrong with it? It is easier for an unconverted person to pull a believer down (into sin) than for a believer to lift up an unconverted person (to righteousness). This is due to the fact of human depravity- the pull is always downward. This spiritual principle was true in those days and it is true today:
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
(2 Corinthians 6:14).

Jacob was obedient to his parents. He did not worship idols like Esau did. This was probably a result of the intercessory prayers of his mother and father. In a similar way, you and I need to keep praying for our children- prayer does not need proof, it needs practice. Don't give up. God answers prayer.

The name Padan-aram means "cultivated field or table-land". Where was this place? It was east of the Land of Canaan in Mesopotamia in the present country of Syria. Nahor, Abraham's brother, had lived there and Abraham's servant had gone there to get a godly wife for Isaac. It was a far and arduous journey by camel or on foot.


Jacob was the chosen one:
"...and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham"
(Genesis 28:4).

God had a plan for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. This plan was very important for Jacob because he was the one chosen by God to inherit the birthright and the chosen one through whom the Abrahamic covenant would be fulfilled. The Abrahamic covenant was passed on to Isaac
(Genesis 17:19-21) and then it was passed along to Jacob. Jacob was an appointed ancestor of the Messiah. In other words, the blood line (genealogy) of the Messiah flowed through Abraham, then through Isaac, and then through Jacob. God elected (chose) Jacob over Esau for this spiritual blessing (the spiritual part of the birthright)
(Malachi 1:1-3). God also has a plan for your life.


The old nature or the new nature (Esau tried to reform without help from God):
"When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying: thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram; and Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife"
(Genesis 28:6-9).

Was Esau attempting to right a wrong by marrying a godly wife? If so, it was never too late to right a wrong. This is always a good thing for every one of us to do, as well. However, Esau did not get rid of his other two idol worshipping wives, so this shows us that there was no genuine repentance in his heart.

Esau wanted to do what was right by marrying a godly woman like Jacob was instructed to do. By being religious and doing what was right, he would increase his prestige among his parents and their servants. This lifestyle is known as "turning over a new leaf". So, he married a daughter of Ishmael, who did not worship idols. His action was good but his motive was wrong. Also, he was trying to change without the help of God- one cannot depend on the help of sinful flesh alone in attempting to live a victorious life for God. Why? Because there is a lack of spiritual power. Resurrection power comes along with the new inner nature from Christ. So, Esau was still the same old unrepentant sinner with no inner spiritual heart change towards God. Sometimes an unconverted person will try to become righteous without a heart change. They put on a front and talk the talk but don't walk the walk. You can wash the mud off of a pig, perfume it, tie a ribbon about it's neck and take it to church. But when that pig gets back home, it goes right back to the mud again. Why? Because that's it's nature. This is similar to the unconverted sinner and his or her relationship to sin. However, the real way Jesus changes a person is from the inside outward rather than vice versa. There has to be a change of one's inner spiritual nature for a person to live holy for God and to make it to Heaven. When God possesses a person, that person's inner nature is changed towards God and away from evil. Jesus called this experience being "born again"
(John 3:3 & 7). For example, this change of my inner nature happened to me when I asked Christ to possess me (to come into my heart and save me). I now quote from my own written testimony:

"All the praying was finished by this time as it had only lasted a couple of minutes. I stood there dizzy, sensing something different in my heart. There was joy and peace there for the first time. I knew something had happened to me because I could feel the change. I did not have a desire (the nature) to swear anymore and my conscience was clear of guilt.

I did not mention a word to the others in the Bible study group about it. Firstly, I didn't understand what had happened to me. Secondly, I figured it was only a temporary thing and that all the burdens and guilt would be back the next morning.

When I woke up the next morning I was surprised to discover that there was still peace and joy in my heart. I was hoping this was not a temporary experience but a permanent condition and I was happy when I found out later it was. All through the day I kept continually noticing that there was something different about me. (I had a new inner spiritual nature). I had searched for inward peace for a long time but had given up on finding it. I was anxious to attend the Bible study that night to see if they had the answers to many of my questions and why I was so different.

After the Bible study concluded that night I told them about the change in me and that it had occurred the previous night when we had prayed. They started rejoicing and were very happy and were saying things like "praise the Lord!" and "hallelujah!". I asked them to please explain it to me. One reservist said, "Christ has taken up residence in you heart and taken the burden of your sins away. He has made you a new person (created in you a new spiritual nature) because you have been born again. You have peace in your heart because He is the Prince of Peace."

Chief Richards opened his Bible to a passage of scripture found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, and then let me read those meaningful words, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new..."

So, Esau tried to do the right thing without having a change of his inner spiritual nature. Many folks, who teach the bible, refer to this old unrepentant spiritual nature as "the old man", "human depravity", or "original sin". Such a person with such a nature is "spiritually dead". However, when a person is Christ possessed, he or she receives the new spiritual nature from Him that is referred to as the "new man" or the "new nature" or the "inner new creation". This is all part of being converted and the salvation experience. This same experience has happened to millions and millions of people over thousands of years. It is the song of the redeemed.

In New Testament days, the religious rulers of Israel were unconverted sinners. Like Esau, they were religious and relying on sinful flesh to help them. Each one had an inner spiritual nature contrary to God. Jesus told them they belonged to the devil
(John 8:13-59). Their works proved what was in their hearts- they crucified their own Messiah, they stoned Stephen to death, and persecuted the early church
(John 17:4, 19:6; Acts 7:59, 8:1). However, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea had the new nature from Christ and acted differently
(Matthew 27:57; John 3:3-21).


Jacob dreamed a dream of the ladder of God:
"And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it
(Genesis 28:10-12).

There was a caravan route from the Land of Canaan to Damascus and then to Haran. I imagine that Jacob was traveling alone and on foot. He did not appear to have much food or clothes for the long journey and I doubt if he had much money. This reminds me of a hitchhiking trip I made in 1969 when I was single. I traveled alone and had a few clothes and a sleeping bag in my canvas "war bag" that I slung over my shoulder. I didn't have much money. I had on my Aussie hat and had a full beard. I hitchhiked from California across the U.S.A. to the east coast. I took a plane from New York to Lisbon, Portugal, and then hitchhiked across Europe. And then I hitchhiked back across America to California again. The trip lasted a total of two months.

The spiritual highlight of my trip was when I was hitchhiking out of Lisbon. There was a white man with a red beard standing close to me hitchhiking in the same direction. We were strangers. I separated from him a ways as it was easier for one person to get a ride rather than two. A car stopped and picked me up and we traveled a little ways and I got out. While I was standing and hitchhiking again, a car drove by me that had my red beared "friend" in it. Then I got a ride and passed by him as he was standing and hitchhiking. We continued to leap frog like this all the way to Madrid. We each got out of separate cars nearly at the same time and at the same location in Madrid. Then he came running over to me, thinking that our leap frog experiences were ordered of the Lord, and asked me what the message from God was that I had for him. I was a little puzzled- maybe he was praying to God for a sign or something. Anyway, I had just finished reading a gospel tract with the title: eighteen inches. I told him there was 18 inches from his head to his heart and that he had to have Jesus Christ in his heart and not just in his head. He replied that he had been thinking along those same lines and accepted my witness to him. He thanked me and left and I never saw him again. I wonder in the spirit what that was all about. God does work in mysterious ways...

So, Jacob was young and experiencing life. I can guarantee you that this was quite an adventurous trip for him. And God was with him, protecting him, and helping him meet the right people at the right time. And it was good for him to go and see his relatives. On my hitchhiking trip across America and back, I stopped in Texas and visited many of my relatives who lived there at the time. The ones who loved the Lord were a joy to me and we had some great fellowship.

The story of Jacob's ladder shows us that
1) Heaven and earth are united, and that
2) angels ascend and descend from Heaven to earth continually.

From the bible book of Job we learn that God watches over the entire earth- His messengers (ministering angels) go to and from Him continually
(Job 1:6 & 10). And from the bible book of Hebrews we learn:

"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
(Hebrews 1:14).

This ladder is a type of Christ: "And He (Christ) saith unto him:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man"
(John 1:51). Jesus saith unto him: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me"
(John 14:6).

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus"
(1 Timothy 2:5).


God confirmed the birthright to Jacob:
"And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said: "I AM the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of"
(Genesis 28:13-15).

Isaac had transferred the birthright from Esau to Jacob, and, at this point in time, God confirmed it to Jacob at Bethel.

We learn something about God in this passage of scripture. God is a mighty King- ruler of Heaven and earth. He is all powerful and is in total control of this universe. Powerful angels do His bidding continually. There is nothing that He cannot do. Jacob was afraid and was in dread of God's great majesty. A sinful man may feel that way in the presence of a holy God. The prophet Isaiah also felt that way
(Isaiah 6:1-7). This visitation from God definately got Jacob's attention. I don't think he ever forgot it. God has ways of getting your attention and my attention. He got Saul the persecutor's attention after Saul fell down
(Acts 9:3-8), He got the attention of Zacharias when he saw the angel, Gabriel
(Luke 1:11-20), and He got a young groom's attention named Joseph
(Matthew 1:20-21). And there are other examples in God's holy word that are not mentioned here. Let us always be sensitive and obedient to the leading of God the Holy Spirit after He gets our attention.


Jacob promised to pay tithes to God:
"And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said: surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said: how dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. 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, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: 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"
(Genesis 28:16-22).

Jacob was at Luz. The name Luz means "separation" or "departure". It could be that camel caravans left this place for destinations to the east. Because Jacob met God there, he called it Beth-el meaning "the house of God". In a similar way, each of us should leave our sin and start heading in the right direction.

Jacob confirmed his dedication to God by pouring out the oil. Sometimes, a pastor today will use olive oil (that is a symbol of God the Holy Spirit) in his or her church service. Anointing oil is especially used in healing services to anoint many folks who are dedicated to God.

Jacob indicated that he would pay tithes in response to God's physical blessings to him. The paying of tithes is ten percent of one's income. There is an association here- tithing is associated with the house of God. Many folks who loved the Lord in Old Testament times paid tithes as one form of worship to God. And many folks in New Testament times did the same. God would not have started the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament nor the church of the New Testament unless He had some way to finance and support it. Tithes has been and is His method of support for His work on this earth. As a result, the house of God has been enabled to do what God has called it to do. God has promised a substantial return on anyone's investment who worships God by paying tithes to Him
(Luke 6:38).

Some preachers may get carried away and call their church members "liars" and threaten them with "hell fire" if they do not pay their tithes. A minister is usually desperate to pay church or ministry bills when he or she resorts to such desperate means. The paying of tithes is not connected with one's salvation but is associated, rather, with sanctification. A preacher has no scriptural justification for threatening anyone with eternal damnation for not paying tithes. This is just a manipulation ploy and God will not bless any pastor who scatters the sheep rather than gathers the sheep. A pastor should use wisdom and truth in dealing with his congregation. The paying of tithes is a love service and one form of worship to God. If you are a true believer and love God then you should pay tithes to God- this is His will to keep His work on this earth moving forward.


Genesis chapter 29






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