Brethren Archive

The God of Jacob

by Inglis Fleming

“How could God love and care for Jacob, seeing he was such a man as he was?”

The question had been asked of a young Christian. Not being able to give an answer herself, she put the query to an older Christian.

“I have a greater difficulty than that,” was the reply. Why did God love and care for me seeing I was such as I was?

A short conversation followed in which Deuteronomy 7:7-8, was turned to. There we read the words of Moses to the people of Israel, “The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people. But because the Lord loved you.”

So it was with Israel as a nation. So it was with individual saints of old. So it is with every believer of the gospel today. He loved them because He loved them. He loves us because He loves us. There is the secret.

It was not because of what was in Jacob that God loved him. It was because of what God was in Himself. In sovereign love He chose to love. In spite of what Jacob was naturally God cared for him, and saw him through all his difficulties and distresses. And Jacob on his part had valued the birthright, and the blessing of God, that went with it. He was willing to forego the pleasure of the present in view of the future. On this account he gave up the red pottage to Esau, who proved himself “a profane person,” not appreciating the God-given privilege of birthright blessing, but selling it for a basin of soup. Every child of God today may rejoice in the fact that God in His Almightiness, cared for Jacob. We find so much weakness in ourselves that we are encouraged to place our confidence in God, as we read the life story of the patriarch, and know that “the God of Jacob” is our refuge also (Ps. 46:11), and He is “the Lord of hosts.” It is to be remarked that in the picture gallery of faith (Heb. 11), Jacob has a place as well as Abraham and others. In the tenth chapter occur the words, which have been the source of gladness to so many, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (v. 17). And so it is that in chapter 11 there are no sins or iniquities recorded of the worthies named, in the list of those who “all died in faith.” If one had that chapter only one would never have known of any failure or deceit on the part of Jacob. He has nothing but honourable mention there.

He is seen as a pilgrim, a dweller in tents (v. 9).

He is seen as an heir of the promises of God (v. 9).

He is seen as a worshipper (v. 21).

He is seen as a blesser (v. 21).

In this fourfold way he pictures the believer in this day of gospel grace. As a


he is viewed looking for “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” No city of earth has moral foundations. All here is shakeable and will be shaken. As of old the call comes to us who have found our refuge is Christ, “Arise ye, and depart: for this is not your rest: because it is polluted” (Mic. 2:10). We are to “seek a country.” Thus Peter exhorts us “as strangers and pilgrims to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” Our Lord Himself when here was but a pilgrim in the world of His creation. And He calls us to follow Him in the path He has trodden, having left us an example that we should follow His steps (1 Pet. 2.21).

Redeemed by His precious blood “as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,” we are called to have our loins girt and our staff in our hand, as Israel on the Passover night in Egypt. Our home is in the Father’s house, where our Lord has already gone before us. We are pilgrims on our way there.

Then Jacob was an


And we are heirs of God. Can aught be greater than that? Yes! we are joint-heirs with Christ. In the wonderful counsel and purpose of God we are linked with His beloved Son for ever. We are to share with Him the inheritance which soon will be placed under His control. “We see not yet all things put under Him.” But we see Him seated in highest heaven “crowned with glory and honour,” and soon we shall see Him come forth to take the dominion which is His. And “His own” are to have part with Him in those Kingdom glories. He died “that we might live together with Him.” His sufferings have secured companions for Him for the days of His glory. It is ours to suffer with Him now that we may reign with Him when He comes.

Then as a


Jacob is seen at his highest. He “worshipped leaning on the top of his staff.” His worship is connected with his pilgrim-staff. And so it is in Hebrews 13. We are seen first as having “no continuing city” but seeking a coming one. And then “by Him,” by Christ, we are viewed as offering up “the sacrifice of praise to God continually,” that is the fruit of lips confessing His Name. The wanderer becomes the worshipper.

Jacob, the pilgrim, had had his altars. He had called on the name of the Lord and now in his last hours he worships the God which fed him all his life long. And the God who cared for Jacob throughout his life is “our God for ever and ever.” He has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Well may we pour out our hearts in praise before Him who delights in the worship of His people, “He that offereth praise glorifieth Me,” He has said. And so we join the Apostle as we say, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jacob was blessed and in his turn he became a


In the sense of the favour of God which rested upon him he had blessed Pharaoh, the mightiest monarch of his day, probably. And in his last days be blessed both the sons of Joseph. He was made the channel of blessing to others. And for this in part at least we are left here. Great indeed is the privilege of being allowed to be used of God as vessels of help and profit to those about us. To Abram God made the promise, “I will bless thee and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing.” Applying this to ourselves, we can rejoice in the wealth of blessing which has been made ours. Great indeed has our name been made as being linked with Christ, as sons before the face of His Father. And in the power of the Holy Spirit, given to us, we may become succourers of the sons of men with whom we come into contact day by day.

Happy and honoured are we in being numbered among the children and servants of God. May our course be such—our confession so plain that we “seek a better country that is an heavenly” that God may not be ashamed to be called our God (Heb. 11:16).

Let us ever bear in mind that God loved us, and loves us because He is love.


S.T. 1937

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