DAILY DISCIPLINE #51
By Colleen Donahue
"Jacob have I loved." Malachi 1:2
The Bible says relatively little about Abraham's son Isaac - but about Isaac's son Jacob, we have great detail from the beginning to the end of his life. In Jacob we will see much of ourselves, for he is an illustration of our disciplinary schooling by the Holy Spirit. In Jacob, we will see our own extreme weakness and uselessness. Let's begin...
JACOB - Part I -- A Diamond in the Rough
Day 1- What is the family background and circumstances of Jacob's birth?
Day 2 -By natural instinct Jacob was a fighter from birth.
Genesis 25: 22-26
Day 3 -The all-knowing God who made us, knows how each of us will choose to live out our days.
Day 4 -And so God knew the life of Jacob (and Esau) before his birth. What had God purposed?
Genesis 25:23/Romans 9:11-13
As we progress in our study you will see that there was little in Jacob's life for which he deserved God to favour him over his brother. He seemed to have the most undesirable traits and yet God had chosen to love him. Jacob stands as a beautiful illustration for ourselves.
Day 5- What is the state of all men and women?
Ephesians 2:1 / Romans 3:23
Day 6- How has God shown us the same undeserved favour that He showed Jacob? Colossians 2:13/ Romans 6:23/ Ephesians 2:4-5,8-9
Day 7- As a young man Jacob had learned of God's will that he should be the elder and receive the first-born blessing. How does he set about to accomplish God's will?
Day 8- Jacob was a schemer and a manipulator. Not only did he cheat his brother once but some time later he cheats him again and deceives his own father!
Day 9- What was the blessing that Isaac gave to Jacob thinking that it was Esau?
Day 10- What was Esau and Isaac's reaction when they found they had been deceived? Genesis 27:30-36
Day 11- What was now left for Esau?
Jacob had wanted to see God's will accomplished. But he used his own cleverness to get for himself what God had fully intended to give him.
Day 12- How will God's will always be accomplished?
Day 13- God will never need our "help" to accomplish His will for us. In fact, what will need to happen to our own plans and "intelligent analysis" before He can work freely in our lives?
I Corinthians 1:19
Day 14- What was the conclusion of great men like Job, King David and Jesus with regard to God's ability to accomplish His own plans?
Job 42:2 / Psalm 115:3 / 135:6 / Matthew 19:26
Day 15- What did God Himself tell Isaiah about His abilities?
Day 16- Therefore what can WE conclude about God's abilities to accomplish His will for our lives?
I Thessalonians 5:24 / Isaiah 55:8-11
Day 17- What were the consequences of Jacob taking things in his own hands?
Genesis 27:41-45 (Vs.41 & 43)
Day 18- Even our own best abilities and personality traits come to us through our natural birth and NOT our "new birth". What is God's conclusion about anything that is "of the flesh" (i.e. man's own natural life)?
John 3:5-6 / Romans 7:18 / I John 2:16/ Romans 8:13
Day 19- "Everything which comes not by new birth but by natural birth is flesh and will only bring glory to man, not God."
"What is this natural energy? It is simply what I can do, what I am of myself, what I have inherited of natural gifts and resources." -Watchman Nee
Yet, what is true when we depend on the Lord for everything and not our natural abilities?
Day 20- We must therefore beware of taking any action (even good action) where we don't need to rely on God.
Galatians 5:17 / Galatians 6:8
Jacob is an example of the "NATURAL LIFE". Our natural life is composed of the abilities and strengths which God gave us from birth. These are meant to operate under the Holy Spirit's control. Yet because of our inherited sin nature these abilities are no longer submitted to the Holy Spirit and as a result we find ourselves trying to accomplish God's will with our own knowledge and strength.
Day 21- Jacob seems to have learned much of his scheming from his mother. Once again she makes plans for her son and tells her husband only the good and obvious reasons. What was Rebekah's main pretence for sending Jacob away?
Day 22- So, Isaac fell in with the plan and called for Jacob. What 3 commands did he give him?
Day 23- What is Isaac's final prayer for his son?
Day 24- Soon after Jacob had left home he had a dream in which God spoke with him. What seven things did God promise Jacob?
Day 25- It is interesting to see that God finally spoke to Jacob when he was away from family and friends and in a lonely place that was quiet. If you never draw yourself apart to be with God you may be missing His message for your life. Even Jesus, God's own Son, made times of quiet a priority.
Matthew 14:23 / Luke 4:42a / Mark 1:35 / Luke 5:16
Day 26- For Jacob, his lonely spot became the gate of Heaven. Despite his scheming personality, and misuse of natural strength, God gave him a ladder that represented his link with God. We may not have Jacob's dream, but we too have a "ladder" whereby we may enter the Lord's presence.
John 14:6 / Romans 5:1-2 / Ephesians 2:18
Day 27- Jacob's dream of ascending and descending angels on a ladder reaching between earth and heaven is a lovely description of what prayer is. We may be in a lonely place on earth but there is always ONE who will hear and answer.
Psalm 65:2 / Luke 18:1
Day 28- At this time when God gave Jacob the seven promises, he was not as yet a changed man. It is a beautiful picture of God's grace - i.e. pouring out his abundance to a sinner.
Day 29- God has done the same with each one of us. He has given us everything through His Son even while we were still sinners.
Day 30- Jacob awoke knowing somehow he had dealt with God for he was "afraid" (Genesis 28:16-17) . Yet, his true character comes through immediately. What conditions did he lay out for God to fulfil in return for his own loyalty and giving?
Day 31- Perhaps God has begun to speak with you in your life and yet you (like Jacob) seem like the "same old person". You can take heart for God is faithful and will shape any life to the image of His Son that willingly submits to His -- the Potter's--hands.
Isaiah 64:8 / I Thessalonians 5:23-24
We'll continue in the next study with the second stage in Jacob's life - his testing through difficult circumstances.
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