10. Hope in God’s Help

lynnPsalm 146

Psalm 146:5

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:

The happy woman has God for her help and her hope (v. 5). She trusts in the Lord. God promises that she shall be like a tree planted by a river. Even in the heat her leaf is green. She does worry about droughts and yields fruit even in those times (Jer. 17:7-8). We can have a happy and fruitful life even in these times of recession.

Our God is the same God who watched over Jacob. Now Jacob was by no means perfect. He cheated his brother, Esau, out of the birthright and the blessing. Consequently, his twin brother, Esau, hated him and wanted to kill him.

Jacob fled to Haran. On the way he became weary and fell asleep with only a stone to lay his head on. He saw a vision of angels ascending and descending upon a ladder. God promised, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goeth.”

Jacob arrived in Haran where his Uncle Laban lived. This man looked out for his own interests and tricked Jacob into marrying Leah instead of Rachel whom Jacob loved. Jacob had labored seven years for her. Now Laban forced him to labor seven more years for Rachel. Jealousy arose between his two wives and contention.

Because Jacob hated Leah and loved Rachel, the second wife bare no children. Her anger lashed out at Jacob, “Give me children , or else I die.”

Jacob’s anger waxed hot. He said, “Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” Rachel sinned and gave him her maid, Bilhah, that she might bear children for her. She bore two children. Leah had born four children. Leah followed Rachel’s bad example, and gave her maid, Zilpah, to Jacob. This made bore two children for Leah. Leah gave birth to two more sons and one daughter, Dinah. At last Rachel birthed one son, Joseph.

God blessed Jacob. He served Laban six years for his livestock Jacob’s livestock multiplied Laban ended up with the least desirable of the animals. Laban had changed Jacob’s wages ten times.

After this, God spoke to Jacob and reminded him of a promise he had made if he returned to Bethel in the promised land (Gen. 28:20-22). He said, “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” Jacob left with his family and with his livestock.

On the way the angels of God met him. Jacob said, “This is God’s host.” Jacob sent messengers to Esau. They returned and told him that Esau was coming to meet him. Jacob was greatly afraid.

He divided the people and the animals with him into two bands. He said, “If Esau come to the one company and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.” Then he prayed, “O God of Abraham…I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies…Thou hast shown unto thy servant…Deliver me, I pray thee…from the hand of Esau…Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.” He stayed there that night, and prepared a present for Esau. He divided this gift into three droves with servants. He thought to appease his brother’s anger with these gifts.

That night Jacob was left alone. That night he wrestled with a man whom he later learned was God Himself. He called the name of this place, Peniel. He said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” God touched his thigh and Jacob limbed from that time onward. The Lord changed his name to Israel, a prince with God.

Jacob awoke and saw Esau. He ran to meet him, and hugged him. He fell on his neck and kissed him. At first he refused to take any gift from Jacob, for he said, “I have enough. Jacob insisted; he took the gift. Then the two brothers parted and went their own ways.

See Genesis 25:29-34; 27-33 for this story.

We are not better than Jacob. We are all unworthy of what God has prepared for us. God says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). God is a merciful and just God. He wants to bless you as He blessed Jacob. He has blessed me greatly. The greatest blessing is my salvation from my sin and the punishment it deserves. He called me to do a work for Him.  I feel so unworthy, but He keeps pouring out His blessings.

He does not promise us a trouble-free life, but He promises to go with us just as He did Jacob. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).

He opened the way for me to live on my parents’ farm. I love to watch the robins, mourning doves, hawks and other birds. Deer bound along on this property. I gaze out the windows and see the San Juan Mountains. I walk to my mailbox, look the other way, and see Grand Mesa.

One day a raccoon sat up outside my bedroom window. A skunk goes outside the same window. He looks so cute, but, oh, the smell!

Even in my troubles, He brings a blessing. The other day a big truck backed into me as I went on the homeward path. As we waited for the police, we spoke together, and a woman bought one of my books. I held up my book, Our Lifeship: A Study in Proverbs for Women. I said, “I wrote it to help women sail calmly on life’s troubled seas.” She wanted it and her sister bought it for her birthday.

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