Summary: A teaching message on Genesis 29:31-30:23.

Genesis Series #55 July 28, 2002

Title: 5 Ways That God is Active in His People’s Lives Part 2 of 3



Welcome to New Life in Christ. Today we continue with message #55 in our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Genesis.

Read Genesis 29:31-30:23

Opening Prayer

Two weeks ago I shared on Genesis 28:10-20 which deals with Jacob’s dream of a stairway reaching to heaven and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. I pointed out that one of the purposes of the dream was to reveal to Jacob and to us that God is actively working even when we are unaware of it. In the dream the Lord promised Jacob that he would be actively working in his life wherever Jacob went. Chapters 29-31 of Genesis are a historical record of God fulfilling this promise. In these chapters we see 5 ways that God was actively working in Jacob’s life and not only in his life but in all of God’s people’s lives today.

There is a new TV show on The Learning Channel station. The show is entitled, "While You Were Out." The premise of the show is that one spouse will secretly contact the shows interior designers and carpenters and arrange for a room in the house to be totally redesigned while the other spouse is at work or on a trip. The unsuspecting spouse, who was away, then returns from work or the trip to discover that his or her spouse has been actively working even though they were totally unaware of it. This in a sense is how God works in our lives. Often we are oblivious to his activity until after the fact, but God has been actively working nonetheless. Last week I shared on two of the 5 ways God actively works in his people’s lives.

1. God actively works in his people’s lives by guiding them.

2. God actively works in his people’s lives by disciplining them.

Now let’s look at the third way God is working.

3. God actively works in his people’s lives by prospering them.

In this passage and the rest of Chapter 30 we see that God prospered Jacob by providing the two most important things that he lacked: children and flocks. God still does the same today for his people but it must be kept in mind that the word "prosper" does not always mean money, wealth, or possessions. God prospers us by providing us with what we need to fulfill God’s plan and promises. Jacob needed offspring and flocks but the Christian today can prosper in other ways. For example, we can prosper in our ministries. We can prosper in our relationship with the Lord. We can prosper by our growth in Christian character. The point is that God is actively working to provide all that we need to fulfill his purposes.

I look back on my own life and can see how God has provided for me. When I first came into full time ministry here in New Life in Christ my salary was $200 a week. It is obvious that this is not enough for family to live on, but God provided in a couple of different ways. First, I had a small amount of funds that came from a stock sharing plan that Publix had provided. This was not much but it was enough to get by for a short time. About the time that this money ran out an administrator/bookkeeping job opened up at the church daycare when Wendy Peterson got married. Since the duties were here at the church, I was able to take that job and continue my responsibilities as assistant pastor and get paid for doing both. By the time the daycare closed Pastor Sid had retired so I had received a pay increase and no longer needed income from the daycare. Here is the point, God provided for every need I had at the appropriate time in ways that I did not anticipate or plan.

3. God actively works in his people’s lives by prospering them.

Now this family looks like great candidates for the Jerry Springer show. Marrying two sisters was not a wise thing to do (Genesis 30:1) and was specifically forbidden later in Leviticus 18:18. Nevertheless God work through this dysfunctional family to produce 11 sons who, along with Joseph two sons, who each counted as half-tribe, would become the 12 tribes of Israel. I believe that the primary lesson of this chapter is that God actively works, even in the worst of situations, to prosper his people, but we also learn some other valuable lessons from the actions of the characters in the story.

One positive standout in this story is Leah. Even though she was not the most beautiful woman, God was going to bless her tremendously. God knew that Leah was not loved by Jacob as she should have been, so he had compassion on her and blessed her with being the mother of six of Jacob’s sons directly, including Levi and Judah, and two more sons indirectly by her maidservant. Even though she never won the affection of Jacob, she did move from an attitude of pity to one of praising God anyhow. In Genesis 29:35 she recognizes God’s blessing on her life despite an unloving husband and said, "This time I will praise the Lord." Genesis 30:17 says, "God listened to Leah" which indicates that Leah was prone to turn to the Lord to seek his blessing unlike Rachel who turned to superstition.

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