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Proverbs 13:22 .
After a servitude of many years, in the family of Laban, Jacob resolves to return to his own home. And to this measure he is prompted, not only by the unkind treatment of Laban and his sons, but still more by a divine direction. The circumstances of Jacob's departure, with his wives and all that belonged to him: the pursuit of Laban after him: the gracious interposition of God for Jacob's protection, by the ministry of a dream on the mind of Laban: their interview: their reconciliation; their covenant of amity; and their final separation; these form the principal contents of this Chapter.
Sweet thought! When we can trace all our mercies into God's gifts, and all events which concern us, into God's ordination. See Genesis 45:7-8 .
Proverbs 3:6 .
Was not this the Lord Jesus? See Genesis 48:15-16 .
Precious, very precious, are the renewals of the first visions of God to his people. Jacob's Bethel was, no doubt, always dear to the Patriarch's remembrance. And Moses never forgot his Dweller in the bush. Exodus 3:2-4 , compared with Deuteronomy 33:16 . Reader! Do you know anything in your own experience, of the first manifestations of grace, and of the after visits of divine love?
And is not this the language of all gracious hearts, when divorced from the love of creature enjoyments: and when united by faith and love to the Lord Jesus? Psalms 45:10 .
Teraphim: probably images for worship. Judges 17:5 ; 1 Samuel 19:13 .
Observe: the parting of graceless acquaintances is of this kind, in songs and merriment. But gracious souls, when the Lord in his providence calls upon them to separate, take leave of one another in prayer and mutual blessing. What a sweet instance we have of such, Acts 20:36-38 . Reader! hath it never fallen to your lot to remark many instances of the former kind? If not, it hath been mine, and of painful observation too.
Job 33:15-16 ; Esther 6:1 .
What sorry gods must those be which are capable of being stolen, or hid away. For the contrast to this, see Psalms 146:5 .
Observe the diligence with which Laban sought after his false gods. Reader! may it provoke you and me to a greater earnestness in seeking for the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. How charming Job's desire! Job 33:3 . How delightful David's earnestness! Psalms 42:1-2 . How encouraging that promise! Hebrews 11:6 .
Is there nothing in those verses to prompt Ministers to watchfulness in their ministry; and servants to faithfulness in their service? Above all, doth not the Reader discover somewhat here to bring to his remembrance the unequalled ministry and service of the Lord Jesus? Was he not exposed for his sheep, in the day to the drought, and to the frost by night? Did he not, as their Surety, suffer the loss of all things? And did not God the Father, at his hand, require all, when he undertook their redemption? Precious Jesus! how sweet and endearing doth every renewed view of thy love appear, in which thou didst testify thy regard to thy people.
Leviticus 15:19 .
And are not all seals of the covenant in ordinances, like these stones, witnesses for or against the use, or abuse, of them?
The heap of witness.
Mizpah signifies a watch tower.
No doubt in reference to the promised seed.
In the perusal of this Chapter, methinks I would not have the Reader overlook the gracious interposition of God, in behalf of his servant Jacob, when Laban the Syrian pursued him in such determined anger. Rather than the poor servant should be injured by his unkind, and unnatural master, the Lord overawes his mind by the effects of a dream. Just so, depend upon it, my brother, is the watchful care of God over his people now. Oh! could you and I but be brought acquainted with the thousand and ten thousand instances of the kind, which are daily going on in life, we should see how sweetly the Church's history is again, and again repeated: he made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives. Psalms 106:46 . Reader! watch but the tokens of divine faithfulness towards you, in disposing the hearts of your enemies to be at peace with you, and, depend upon it, the evidences will fully appear. In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
But do not close the chapter until that you have remarked with me, how continually the Patriarch's history is leading us to the contemplation of the life of the blessed Jesus, of whom in numberless instances, Jacob was a type. Certainly the Holy Ghost, in his divine ministry of glorifying Jesus, intended the records of this man's memoirs to direct us more immediately to Christ. How was Jesus obliged to flee into Egypt to avoid the fury of those that sought his life! How was he afterwards led into the wilderness! What services did he sustain for the Church, both Jew and Gentile, which he betrothed to himself! And what persecutions did he go through, in those labours of love, for the souls of his people! Dearest Lord! may a sense of thine unequalled regard to our poor fallen nature, how base soever requited by the world, endear thee to my heart: and may it be my portion, with thy people, to have that testimony in my experience: We love him because he first loved us!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 31". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany