Summary: A teaching message on Genesis 29:1-14.

Genesis Series #54 July 21, 2002

Title: 5 Ways That God is Active in His People’s Lives Pt 1 of 3



Welcome to New life in Christ. Today we continue with message #54 in our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Genesis.

Read Genesis 29:1-14a

Opening Prayer

Last week we looked at the story of Jacob’s dream of a stairway reaching to heaven, with the angels descending and ascending upon it. I noted that this revelation of God’s presence occurred at an unexpected place and time and yet God was present and active, even though Jacob was unaware of it. In Jacob dream, God promised to continue to be with Jacob and to actively bring about his good plans for Jacob’s life. I noted how this promise applies to all of God’s people and how it is encouraging in uncertain times.

After the dream, Jacob continued on his journey. Chapters 29-31 are a summary of that journey and the next 20 years of Jacob’s life. These chapters are more than a biography of Jacobs’ life; they’re also a history of God’s presence and activity in Jacob’s life. They are example to us of the way that God works in all of his people’s lives. In particular I see in these three chapters 5 ways that God actively works in his people’s lives. The first way is found in Genesis 29:1-14, which we read a few moments ago.

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

In other words, the Lord is providentially directing his people’s lives so that his good plan is fulfilled. Our lives are not controlled by fate, chance, or luck, whether good or bad. God’s active guidance of our lives may not always be obvious but it is always there. It is easy to see God’s guiding hand in Jacob’s life.

Think about it, did Jacob just happen to arrive at the very well where there were shepherds who were from Haran and knew Laban? (Genesis 29:4,5) Was it just coincidence that Laban’s daughter Rachel shows up at the very time Jacob is asking about the family? (Genesis 29:6) Was Jacob just lucky enough to have encountered lazy shepherds who were unwilling to move the large stone from a well? (Genesis 29:8-11) This laziness gave Jacob the opportunity to demonstrate his strength and kindness to Rachel and therefore capture her heart. This feat of strength also gained Laban’s recognition and acceptance of him because Laban could recognize what an asset Jacob would be as a worker for him. The answer to all of the above questions is "no." Clearly the circumstances were not coincidence but were evidence of the unseen God actively working in Jacob’s life.

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

In verse 12 we’re told the Jacob "kissed Rachel and began to weep allowed." These were the first "kissing cousins." Actually the kiss on the cheeks was an appropriate greeting in that culture. Jacob’s weeping was tears of joy at having everything work out so wonderfully, but we know that things did not just "work out"; they were instead directed by God. When Jacob left the Promised Land he was not sure if he would ever make it to Haran, or if Laban was still alive, or if he would be accepted by the family. Remember that Rebecca, who was Jacob’s mother, left Laban’s household against his wishes. (Genesis 24:54-59) Nevertheless God guided Jacob’s life so that everything did work out, including Laban receiving him into his home as a member of the family. (Genesis 29:13-14 a)

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

What is true Jacob is also true of all of us. Whether we encounter seemingly good circumstances like Jacob did or seemingly bad circumstances like Joseph does later in Genesis, we can be sure that God is present and active in them to bring about his plan. Sometimes life may seem out of control and it may seem that were heading in the wrong direction. Sometimes it may seem that we are all alone. During those times we need to know by faith in God’s word that God is at the helm. He is a pilot who was directing our lives. Now let’s read the next passage of Scripture where we see another way that God is actively working in his people’s lives.

Read Genesis 29:14b-30

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

In other words, God orchestrates the circumstances of life to sometimes cause us pain and trouble so that we’re disciplined for those wrongs we have committed and learn not to do them again. He does this not to harm us or in anger but rather to shape and develop us as his people. We must learn that certain actions have consequences. When we disobey God’s standards or act in distrust of him we’re going to pay a price. We’re going to be disciplined by our loving Father.

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