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“Looking into the Word”
by Art Sadlier   
December 11th, 2010

The Place of Blessing

Jacob is described in Hebrews as a man of faith, and he sought the blessing of God early in his life. It is also true that Jacob spent much of his life learning how to live the life of faith instead of walking by sight. He schemed and sought to manipulate his way to the place of blessing and prosperity. At times he acted as if there was no God.

At Peniel we see God wrestling with Jacob to bring him to the place of greater faith and trust in Him. I believe God would wrestle with all of His children to bring them to greater trust and faith in Him. God may be wrestling with you even now, do you recognize it? At Peniel Jacob did surrender to the lord in a new way. Yet as Jacob moved on from that experience he had much more to learn about totally trusting God.

We see Jacob in Genesis 33 still stumbling around in lack of faith, still under the influence of his carnal nature. We must be truthful, we believers experience all too much of that. Verse 17, “And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.”

“Jacob journeyed to Succoth,” Succoth was not the place of blessing for Jacob. The Lord had said unto him, “I am the God of Bethel,” not the God of Succoth. This man of faith is out of the will of God, he is living in the wrong place. “And built him a house,” this man of faith has departed from his pilgrim life; Jacob forgot that he was a sojourner in this world. He was putting his roots down in the wrong place. Later in Genesis 35:1, we read. "And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God."

Jacob found no satisfaction in Succoth so he moved on to Shechem. In verse 18 we read, “And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.” Jacob is still not in the place of blessing, “And pitched his tent before the city,” Shechem was low ground for Jacob. He now has his eyes on the world and the things of the world. He was like Lot who pitched his tent toward Sodom. Jacob may not end up in the city and be corrupted, but his family would.

What tragic consequence would befall Jacob for his moving away from God’s appointed place of blessing. Genesis 34:1-2; “And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.” What an aweful price Jacob would pay for his being out of the place of blessing!

Later Simeon and Levi, Jacob’s sons would slaughter the men of Schechem in reprisal, and bring great reproach on Jacob. Genesis 34:30, "And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house."

At this point Jacob makes another great mistake, he blames Simeon and Levi for his troubles. He failed to recognize that it was he who had departed from the place of blessing and brought the chastening of God down upon his own head. It was Jacob himself who pitched his tent before the city and exposed his family to disaster.

How often do we see Christian parents in anguish of soul about the waywardness and worldliness of their children. All the while they have mainly to blame themselves for not walking faithfully before God in reference to their family. They have pitched their tent toward the world and not demonstrated to their children a proper relationship to the world and the things of the world. They have walked on low ground. Now we know God is faithful and will forgive and possibly bring deliverance to the situation, but the place to start is to recognize the failure and repent and look to God for the grace that is needed.

Jacob was a man of faith, but he must learn that to fall short of being in the place of God’s appointed blessing will bring the chastening of God upon him. God loves His children to much to allow them to live on low ground.

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