Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?  (Romans 8:32)
God came to Abraham, and gave His blessing and promise.  Abraham believed Him and His promise.  Then he left his country without knowing where he went, but he followed God by faith.  Whenever he went, he built an alter to God and worshipped God by calling upon His Name.  He lived a God-Centric life, and God pleased with Abraham.  God richly blessed Abraham.  At his old age of one hundred, he received his son, Isaac through his barren wife, Sarah.  He also saw his grandchildren, Esau and Jacob. 
By the way, the younger grandson, Jacob was always jealous of the birthright of Esau, his older brother.   Jacob bought out the birthright from Esau with one bowl of lentil stew, but his jealousy had never end.   Later Jacob stole his father’s blessing reserved for Esau by disguising himself as Esau before his old father with poor eye sight.   The co-plotter of the deceptive plot was, in fact, Rebecca, his mother.  What a broken family!   Soon Esau found Jacob’s deception, and he decided to kill Jacob.   Jacob had to run for his life. 
Thus, Jacob became alone while pushing him down to the lowest part of his life.   He was lonely in the middle of wilderness at night.  He slept under the dark cold night sky while resting his head on a stone.  He was in extreme fear of everything, but God showed up in his dream, and blessed Jacob with the blessing initially given to Abraham, his grandfather.   God chose Jacob according to His good will, not because Jacob was better than his older brother, Esau.  Indeed, Abraham was chosen by God, not because of Abraham’s good character, but because of God’s good will toward Abraham.   Then Abraham believed, and became the father of all believers because of his absolute trust in God in all circumstances while fighting against doubts and fears and instead building an altar to God and calling upon His name.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11;6)
God, who was full of mercy and love, came to Jacob and richly blessed Jacob when he was most vulnerable, lonely and in extreme fear in the wilderness.   Then Jacob built an alter to God as his grandfather did, and worshipped Him.   However, Jacob was a really cunning man who deceived both his father and brother.   His earthly character was too strong to be broken at once.   He was far from to be a man of God like Abraham who was absolutely obedient to God.   Jacob had to fight against the old himself in him, who was still strong and acting in him.   In the following early dawn of the day, Jacob authentically and honestly prayed to God by pouring on an altar, but he was just a spiritually newborn baby who did know what was right and wrong before God.   His prayer to God was still worldly, but like loving parents, God loved Jacob as he was as His own child whom He dearly loved and cared for.
Jacob stood up confidently, and made another 1,000 km journey.  He had to pass through many wilderness lands, valleys, and strange places.    Although he did not know, many dangers passed by, but none harmed Jacob because God protected Jacob.   God, who dearly loved Jacob, walked with Jacob every step by step, and He was the impenetrable shield against all harms and dangers.   Some nights, he had to lay down in wilderness alone under the dark and cold sky, but no wild animals harmed him.   Some days, he was traveling in a deep valley, but he was not lost.    He also passed through towns where people spoke a strange language, but nobody harmed Jacob.   Jacob saw dangers coming at him, but none of them actually hurt him.   Every day, he remembered the promised of God and His blessing, which was the main source of power making him continue his journey.  Most of all, he could not forget his own vow made to God while asking for his safe returning to his home.  Jacob was traveling with God, but Jacob was still of the world.   Toward Jacob, God was merciful, and He continued guiding Jacob through wildernesses, valleys, and foreign lands.   Jacob did not and could not fully appreciate God how was closely walking with him all the way and always.     
After the long journey, finally, Jacob was arriving in the land of the East near Haran.   In the distance, he saw a large flock of sheep and goats with shepherds.   He ran to meet the shepherds.  As getting close, he saw three flocks of sheep and goats laying in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered.  But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well.
Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, “Where are you from, my friends?”
“We are from Haran,” they answered.
“Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?” he asked.
“Yes, we do,” they replied.
“Is he doing well?” Jacob asked.
“Yes, he’s well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock now.”
Jacob said, “Look, it’s still broad daylight—too early to round up the animals. Why don’t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?”
“We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,” they replied. “Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.”
Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her father’s flock, for she was a shepherd.  And because Rachel was his cousin—the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother—and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncle’s flock. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he wept aloud. He explained to Rachel that he was her cousin on her father’s side—the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban.
As soon as Laban heard that his nephew Jacob had arrived, he ran out to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story, Laban exclaimed, “You really are my own flesh and blood!”    Laban, his uncle, really welcome Jacob, who felt truly at home again.   Again, it was God’s blessing.  
After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.”
Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”
“Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.”
So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. (Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)
But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?”    Jacob was deceived by his uncle, Laban as he did to his brother and father.   Jacob did not know why, but he experienced what would be if deceived by one whom he trusted.    God started a lesson on him, but Jacob did not know what was going on.   He was still of world. 
This is one of the important lessons before God.  Yes, God is love.  Therefore, God always does the best for His children.   Jacob had a truly bad nature of deceiving others.  So far, he outwitted others.  Then he could grab what he wanted from them.  He was a thief, but he did not know that he was actually a thief.    God gave an excellent opportunity for Jacob to understand what he did, but he couldn’t.   He could not connect the dots.   If we were Jacob, we could have had realized what God was doing to us, and we humbly bow down and prayed to God for his forgiveness while repenting our prior sins.   Then we make one hundred eighty-degree turn, and start following God.    As a result, we live out Godly life, a completely new life on earth.   Jacob did not.  Jacob was a still spiritually baby.    Jacob had to grow and learn more about God by experiencing Him.   God prepared a series of special life lessons ahead of Jacob.   Jacob still thought that he was steering away his own life with his own smartness, but it was not.   God carefully held Jacob and gently and lovingly guided him who had a strong tendency of continuing his own earthly life.   After all, Jacob was under God’ special care and protection although Jacob did not know.   This reflects the true nature of God, who is full of love and righteous.   
God was giving a lesson to Jacob using Laban.  “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied.  “But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”
So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too.  (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.   Jacob had to spend total fourteen years to get what he wanted – having Rachel as his wife, whom he loved at his first sight.   Please note that God did not allow him to get what he wanted, which could have made him even worse by perpetuating his bad habit of deceiving and getting whatever he wanted using his earthly wisdom.  For this time, Jacob was deceived by Laban.  It was the first lesson from God, who dearly loved Jacob.   Even so, the worldly Jacob did not understand God’s hand behind the scene.  He was little changed out of this deception of Laban.  
God added more pains on Jacob.    The Jacob’s family was not calm and peaceful.    There was a strong jealousy between Rachel whom he loved more and Leah whom was given to him by his uncle, Laban.    And the jealousy between Rachel and Leah was getting escalated as time went by.   By Jealousy, Leah bore six sons for Jacob, but Rachel could not bear even one single child.   Rachel was suffered, and it also made Jacob crazy.  
When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”   Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. “Am I God?” he asked. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!”
By that time, Jacob at least learned that God was the master and in charge of everything including having a baby from his beloved wife, Rachel.   But he could not connect this knowledge to changing his own lifestyle before God.   If we were Jacob, what have we had done?   Shouldn’t we have prayed to God for His mercy on Rachel and himself.   But Jacob did not.   God waited and waited, but Jacob did not know that he had to come humbly to God as a broken man.   Jacob was spiritually a baby who did not know left and right.
What do worldly parents do to their baby who do not know right and wrong?  First, parents carefully watch over their baby while letting their baby figure out what they have to do.   If their baby continues failing to do a right thing, then earthly parents help their baby.   Jacob did not know what was right thing to do before God.  God watched over the long suffering of Jacob and Rachel, who was in pain while watching Leah who bore six sons.   God, who was merciful, finally opened Rachel’s womb.  Rachel bore a child, whose name was Joseph.   
Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Please release me so I can go home to my own country. Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.”
“Please listen to me,” Laban replied. “I have become wealthy, for the LORD has blessed me because of you. Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.”
Jacob replied, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The LORD has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?”
“What wages do you want?” Laban asked again.
Jacob replied, “Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks.  Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages.  In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you’ll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.”
What a wonderful deal proposed by Jacob to Laban!   Of course, Laban could not refuse the deal.   Did Jacob really give an honestly good deal to Laban?    No, he did not.   Jacob deceptively gave all good words to Laban to soften his heart.  Then he even made an offer that nobody could refuse.    Please remember that Laban was also a tricky person, who tricked Jacob and made Jacob work seven more years without pay.    Uncle deceived his own nephew, and now the nephew was about to deceive his uncle with all good words and an irresistible but deceptive deal.   Laban immediately grabbed the deal out of his greed.  If Laban was an upright person, he would have had asked first why his nephew offered a strangely good deal.   Jacob was his nephew, and he should have cared for his nephew who worked for him tens years, and indeed Jacob also was his son-in-law.   Instead Laban grabbed the deal, and Laban was trapped.   Jacob’s cunning plot worked.  Then Jacob slowly and steadily made his own wealth grow bigger and bigger while expensing the wealth of Laban.
Soon, Laban’s sons found out what was going on, and grumbling about Jacob.   Jacob even noticed a change in Laban’s attitude toward him.   Jacob was no longer able to stay with his uncle and his household members.   Jacob was corner again because of his cunning mind of deceiving Laban.  Again, Jacob had to flee.  After all, Jacob was not changed at all.   He did practically learn nothing.   Therefore, he was forced into a difficult and dare situation.  Jacob, first, thought about returning to his own home, but immediately he could see his brother’s face who was waiting for Jacob in order to kill Jacob.   Staying with Laban was not an option either.  Laban and his sons were against Jacob.
What would God do in this situation, who was merciful, patient and loving?    Again, God came to Jaco, who was being trapped by his own cunning and deceptive mind by deceiving his uncle, Laban.
Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.”  (Genesis 31:3)
Surely, Jacob knew he could not return to home.   Esau, his brother, was waiting for his return to kill him.   But God told Jacob to return to his own house.  Jacob cold not make a decision, because he knew he could not return to home due to what he did to his brother, Esau.  He stopped everything in his life, and he was quietly pondering what he really have to do next.    Of course, there was no clear answer.   He really wanted to flee to somewhere nobody could spot him again.   He struggled and struggled.   Suddenly, he could remember one thing that he heard from God – “I will be with you.”    He recalled how he could cross the wildernesses, valleys and foreign lands.   It was God who was with him always and led him through all the way to the Laban’s house.   His mind was getting clearer.   He painly made a decision to follow God.  Yes, he knew his return to home would not guarantee his life.  Even so, he chose God.  He put trust on God above all of his fears and danger of getting killed by his brother.  It was a small step toward God, but it was a significant step forward to God through the journey of his faith.    He chose God by leaning on God and trusting His word over his own rationale. 
By the way, why did God tell Jacob to return to his own home and the land of his father and grand father?   First, it was the promised land.  Second, more importantly, Jacob had to make a closure of what he did terribly wrong – stealing the blessing reserved for his brother.   Did this voice of God make Jacob comfortable?   Absolutely not.   Jacob would rather to go a third place where he could live freely without being bothered by either Esau and Laban.    God’s plan was not what Jacob wanted, which was out of God’s love toward Jacob.   The sin committed by Jacob was still within him, and it had to be completely removed from his heart.   So far, he fled.  However, he could not escape from his own sin.   Rather the sin would deeply go into his heart and stay with him forever throughout his life.  Then it would constantly press on him.   Jacob barely felt this pressure so far because he was a strong man, but when his strength could not stay forever.  When he hit a bottom of his life, his sin dormant in him suddenly woke up and added the heavy weight of sin on him, who was already feeble out of his life weight.   It was the time that his prior sin became unbearable.   However, it was the moment that he should have had the most intimate relationship with God rather than being suffering from the weight of prior sin.   God knew the root of Jacob spiritual problem.  Additionally, his prior sin prevented him from growing into God.   Jacob had to reconcile with his brother in God’s forgiveness, but Jacob could not take his own initiative.   Instead God used another terrible sin that Jacob was able to commit against Laban as an opportunity to reconcile with his brother, Esau so that God could take away the weight of the prior sin forever from Jacob’s heart.   What a wisdom of God, who dearly loves His children!
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  (Romans 8:28)
God, who are merciful and full of love, sometimes provides us something that we really don’t want to do.    God, who sees the deep in our heart, knows everything that we did, and then according to his infinitely goodness, He forces to go through a way in order to take away the weight of sin in our heart.   Although we feel it is really painful when we choose what Good wants, God leads us through the paths of righteousness and takes away the pressing sin in our heart forever.  This is one of the holy manifestations of Our God, who unfathomably loves us, and has an unbounding mercy.   Therefore, we confidently come to God, and we can always hope in Him.  
We know His love is forever, and we will experience Him throughout our lives.   Why?  He is our true shepherd, and our guide and light throughout our journey on earth.  Thus, we are called  the blessed.   The blessing only comes from our God, the Ever-Loving Father.  Praise Him, One who dearly loves us!
When We Walk With the Lord
1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of his Word
What a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, he abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
2. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But his smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh nor a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.  [Refrain]
3. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil he doth richly repay;
Not a grief nor a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey. [Refrain]
4. But we never can prove the delights of his love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor he shows, and the joy he bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey. {Refrain}
5. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at his feet,
Or we will walk by his side in the way;
What he says we will do, where he sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey. {Refrain}
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

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