Throughout God’s dealings with His covenant people, we see flip-flopping extremes. From time to time, the people are setting up altars and showing themselves honorable, and the next thing we know, there’s violence and bloodshed.
These chapters certainly exemplify this trend. Jacob, very concerned about his reconnection with Esau, plans his approach very carefully. When things go well, he builds an altar to God as thanksgiving.
Next thing you know, Jacob’s daughter gets raped, and two of his sons trick the local clan into weakening themselves through circumcision, so they can slaughter every male. Not exactly the best way to win friends in the new territory.
Back to God. As Jacob approaches Bethel, where he had wrestled with the angel, he encounters God again – with another promise that God will continue to bless him and his lineage.
We have a long suffering Heavenly Father. As we proceed through these chapters, there will be times when we can’t imagine how God could bless such a raucous bunch of people.
Then we realize that He is dealing with us in this day and age. He blesses us – many times in spite of ourselves. He picks us up, dusts us off, and tells us to go again, and try to do better next time.
I think there is a powerful lesson in the first part of chapter 11. John the Baptist had baptised Jesus and recognized Him as the Lamb of God. But now, as John is in prison, he begins to doubt.
That’s the way we can be sometimes. We may hear God’s voice so clearly giving us direction. We know that we know that He has spoken to us. Then when circumstances arise which look differently, we need more confirmation. We begin to doubt.
So John sends to Jesus a question. “Are you the One or do we look for another?”
Notice how Jesus answers. He could have easily said, “Yes. I am the One.” But he doesn’t do that. Instead He answers with scripture.
He says “The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raise, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” All of these are prophecies which appeared in Isaiah when he was speaking of the Messiah to come. (Is. 29:18; 35:5,6; 61:1; and 8:14) Jesus knows that John the Baptist is familiar with the prophecy. He is saying, “Yes, John. All of these prophecies are being fulfilled.”
I use this same principle when I am asking the Lord for confirmation. I ask for scripture. It’s amazing how much faith is generated when He answers with the Word.
Verses 28-30 are some of my favorite verses. Jesus speaks of His yoke, which is not burdensome.
When we are yoked to Jesus, He is the load-puller. We are just along for the ride, so to speak. He is the One with the power and strength.
There have been times during my walk with the Lord when extremely troublesome issues have come up. During those times, I have seen myself gathering the problem into a net – much like a fisherman’s net and handing it to the Lord.
Every time I hand it to Him, an unspeakable peace comes upon me – even when a storm is raging around. He will then give direction – say this; do that. I am working with Him, but Jesus is the burden-bearer. I am yoked to Him, and He is carrying the load.
Blessings and be sure to let Him carry your load!