January 10

Genesis 32-34, Psalm 10

A half-truth is still a lie. We saw the results of a half-truth in the life of Abraham in Genesis 12 when Abraham told Pharoah that Sarah was his sister and not his wife. Though she was his half-sister, the intent of the comment was to lie to protect himself. This resulted being sent away with Hagar who was given to him. This resulted in the birth of Ishmael and the current Mid-East conflict. Being partially obedient is still being disobedient and we will see in the life of Jacob this will have tremendous ramifications. This is no different in our own lives. When I began my walk with Christ, there were areas of my life that I was faster and slower to yield to Him, despite being obvious according to His Word. This partial obedience or lack of yielding on my part resulted in years of not being able to be used by Him. I saw this in the life of my son, Michael, who began his walk with Christ a little over 5 years ago. For many years he kept one foot planted firmly in the world with the other planted with God. As he put it, he walked with God from Sunday to Thursday afternoon, but not Thursday night through Saturday night. This partial obedience led to many difficulties for a season. It was only when he rid himself of those things one by one that he began to experience and feel God's blessings in his life.

We see in Genesis 31:3, "Then the Lord said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you." We see in the ensuing chapters that Jacob does indeed leave the land of Laban and move towards the land of his family. We read in 33:18-20, "Then Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan Aram; and he pitched his tent before the city. And he bought the parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father for one hundred pieces of money. Then he erected an altar there and called it El Elohe Israel." This sounds great, he even dedicated an altar to God. The problem was he disobediently stopped 80 miles north of where God instructed him to go. Shechem is 80 miles north of where his family lived in Beersheba. This act of disobedience wound up costing him dearly. We read in Genesis 34:2, "And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her (Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob), he took her and lay with her, and violated her." The first result was the rape of his daughter. When Dinah's brothers became aware of the rape, it resulted next in a lie, as we see in 34:13, 15, "But the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father, and spoke deceitfully, because he had defiled Dinah their sister...But on this condition we will consent to you: If you will become as we are, if every male of you is circumcised." This lie then enabled the next thing, murder, as we see in 34:25, "Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males." This last act then resulted in robbery, as we see in 34:27, "The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled." So, the consequence of Jacob's act of disobedience was: rape, lying, murder and robbery.

We are all prone to this. We see this in the picture of Peter when he walked on the water. In Matthew 14:28-31, "And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus." But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" When Peter had his eyes on Jesus and obediently followed Him, he literally walked on water. When he lost his focus due to the winds and waves, he disobediently took his eyes off Jesus and chose to focus on the problems around him, which resulted in him sinking. When we find ourselves drowning in our own lives, rather than yelling, "God, where are you?" We should first ask ourselves are we yielding to God and His Word, or are we holding firm to the things of this world and being disobedient or "partially-obedient" as Jacob was. Though Jacob erected an altar dedicated to God, God does not need our things as much as he desires our obedience. We read in Hosea 6:6, "For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." In this marathon life of ours, let us all fix our eyes on Jesus and obediently yield to His calling.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster