This message is designed for all people who have a yearning—a desire or vision from God (and you do not have to be in a pulpit ministry to have a God-given vision) but what you believe God wants, could be different to what is happening in your life right now!
When God speaks, all of creation takes notice.
When God gives us a vision, all of creation knows it, but it does not always happen immediately, or at least in the way we think it would.
This message is for those who love...
Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east.
Allow me to tell you a love story that seemed as if it would never happen...
It is about Jacob
His father Isaac had instructed him not to marry anyone other than the woman God had for him. The lessons to be learned in this are extremely important. Marriage is a serious matter and should never be entered into lightly.
On the way, he set up camp for the night and God revealed the stairway to Heaven to him and made a profound vow.
God also stated-
If you think is is never going to happen...
Remember those last 3 promises.
They are as valid for you and for me as they were to Jacob.
If God said He would do it—He will do it.
I was not aware of it
Jacob went to sleep completely unaware that God was there. There are times when we might not think or feel that God is with us, but we have His promise that He will always be with us. Don’t rely on your feelings. They can be as changeable as the weather. Rely instead on His word. That never changes.
He fell asleep on a rock. My! He had to have been tired, but this makes me think of resting “on the rock”. You know who I mean… Tired as he was, he was able to sleep like a baby, because he was in God’s presence—and he was not aware of it.
Jacob finds Rachael
In our core text, we see the blossoming of romance. Please read it again. Jacob was polite and courteous as we all should be and making good conversation with the shepherds when Rachael arrived and he told her who he was. She told her father Laban and Jacob stayed with him for about a month.
Laban then made a deal.
“Work for me and I will pay you what you want.”
Wouldn’t you like to find a job like that?
Well! The poor man had fallen in love with a ravishing beauty called Rachael.
The bible describes her as being a real good looker; good looking with beautiful features (just like my Marjorie!).
When the agreed time had expired, Jacob asked for Racheal to be his wife, so Laban arranged a wedding, all in accordance with tradition.
It is difficult to describe the customs and traditions involved in weddings because of the changes that have occurred over the centuries. A wedding was in biblical times, as it is today, the occasion upon which a woman and a man formally initiated a new household with the blessing of their families. The term itself occurs only in Song of Songs 3:11; Matthew 9:15; 22:8-12; Mark 2:19 and Luke 5:34.
Strangely, there is no real evidence in scripture that a religious ceremony accompanied the wedding.
The occasion was a legal one.
Written contracts were probably signed, just as written bills of divorce could also be signed (see Deuteronomy 24:1-3; Jeremiah 3:8; Mark 10:4).
Nuptial celebrations consisted of a procession from the bride’s house to the bridegroom’s home as seen in Matthew 25:6.
A tent is often used as a symbol. See Numbers 25:8; 2 Samuel 16:22; Psalm 19:6; Song of Solomon 1:16.
Ceremonies today are often conducted under a canopy or khuppah under which the bride and groom conclude their vows. Both the bride and groom were beautifully dressed and ornamented (Isaiah 49:18; Jeremiah 2:32; Psalm 45:14-15), and the bride wore a veil (Song of Solomon 6:7) which she took off only in the nuptial chamber.
There is much more to share about weddings, but the point I want to leave you with is that after the “ceremony” and the feasting that could sometimes continue for days, the bride and the groom entered into the tent at a specific time to consummate the marriage. The veil she wore was only removed then, so this may explain why Jacob did not recognize her until morning.
He had worked for seven years to be denied the thing he loved...his Rachael.
How devastating could that be?
Now before we get upset over such a thing, remember that this man was still a supplanter (a schemer, cheat and plotter).
The heel catcher had not yet had his encounter with God that changed his life and nature that happened in Genesis 32.
You and I also needed such a life-transforming experience. It makes a new man out of you. It changes everything, including your future destiny. If you are reading this and do not yet know Jesus...ask Him to save you right now! Invite Him into your life. Visit the Salvation pages for more information. Click here.
There is a spiritual law that never changes. It is the law of the harvest that is, “What you sow...you will reap”. See Galatians 6:7-8, but keep your thumb there.
We will look at the following verses on the last page.
Unless we change the status quo in a biblical manner, we will reap a harvest that could be good or not good, depending on the seed sown. The man who cheated had been cheated in return.
Jacob and Laban then cut another deal.
It was another seven years’ labor to win the love of his life. Laban asked him to honor the week’s tradition and finish the wedding feast for Leah, after which Rachael could marry him.
If you read chapter 31 closely, you will see that Jacob worked for Laban for 20 years—seven years for Leah; seven years for Rachael and six years for the cattle that I have not mentioned yet.
That’s 20 years—during which time, Laban changed Jacob’s wages 10 times. Do the math.
I’ll stop there because I have now laid a foundation for what I really want to share with you.
Remember the comments in red at the top of the page?
Have you had a promise from God that excited you, but it has not yet been fulfilled?
Have you a dream or a vision that has impacted your life and you are waiting for it to come to pass?
Are you doing something that might be “good” but you know full well that it is not the ultimate—that thing you know you should be doing but just can’t get it together yet?
A work in process
We are all a work in progress on the journey to our promised land. Remember however that there are always giants in the land, no matter what you think or what you are doing.
They are there to hinder and oppose you every step of the way and you have to go in and take your personal Jericho.
When God told Joshua he was to lead the people into their inheritance, He gave strict and specific instructions on how to go about it.
Read about it in the first few chapters of the book of Joshua. The first thing he did was to check out the situation.
He did that by sending two spies into the land ahead of them. Many people never get their Rachael, because they just do not prepare themselves. It is one thing to whoop and holler over a great message or prophecy, but another to apply it and prepare for it.
Only one person had enough faith to believe and she was a harlot!
In Hebrews chapter eleven that is the great faith chapter listing the champions of faith, this women, Rahab was named.
In verse 31, God calls her the harlot...Rahab!
Whoa! How can a harlot be included in this hall of fame?
What about righteousness? Doesn’t the bible tell us that such people won’t make it?
Well, it does, but not the way legalistic preachers often advocate.
She was a woman of faith and God honored that—because she believed—when she was a harlot. She got her life together afterwards!
When Joshua received his report from those spies, he formulated strategies and made plans. God told him in chapter six that He had already given Jericho to him, but he had to put that promise to work.
God’s way for him then was to have the priests carry the ark and march around the city six times; once a day—in silence! On the seventh day they did this again, but then they blew their trumpets and the people shouted. That great wall simply fell down flat and they walked in unhindered.
Why remain silent for 6 days?
It was to stop unnecessary negative speech. “Awww, this faith thing does not work. I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work. I’ve sown my seed and haven’t got a harvest yet. Well… I know that the bible says somewhere that Jesus healed me, but l’ve seen the doctor’s report and aint good.”
Come on now. Do I really have to spell it out?
What did God say? Are you saying what God said or not?
You see, you will have what you say you have. If you keep saying you are poor, you will always be poor.
Either God’s word and thus His promises are true or not.
You do not have to be anyone special, or live in a certain country, or have a certain education, or attend a certain Church or whatever to receive the promise. A harlot who did not know Jesus (then) believed and she is added in God’s list of faith champions in the bible.
She got her life into order of course, but God called her Rahab the harlot to show us that if she can believe—before the event—and receive the promise, so can we. In fact, we should be much further along now, because that was in the Old Testament and she didn’t have a bible!
We’ve got the Holy Spirit to teach us, the word of God to teach us, men of faith to teach us and the testimonies of all the heroes of the faith you care to name.
She didn’t, but believed!
What’s your excuse?
Abraham had a promise. God repeated it to him several times and he wouldn’t wait. Ishmael is the result.
Isaac received the promise and he nearly fell into his father’s habits. He did lie about his wife though.
Jacob had the promise, but he tried to make it happen and conned his father into giving him the blessing. Once the blessing is imparted, it cannot be changed or withdrawn.
His brother Esau wanted him dead for that trick.
Now, here is Jacob out there at the well of Haran and the things that God had spoken about to him were right there in front of him.
We know that never happened, but he did something that we could emulate.
He occupied! He worked the vision. In other words, he worked the system and this is something Jesus spoke about in Luke chapter sixteen. The steward He mentioned was an unjust steward. Jesus said so, but He also said that an unjust person—a man without a covenant—worked the system wisely—whilst the children of the light goofed off. They were not making full use of the talents and the resources God had given them.
It’s one thing to get excited over a faith sermon, but doing it is something else.
It’s like the things James said about faith and works. They have to go hand-in-hand.
Many ministeris I know with lage and successful ministries worked the system (God’s system).
They had a dream and went through hell on earth before it came to fruition. I know what that is like! Jacob also had a vision and rather than getting angry, talking wrong, walking out, went straight back to the negotiation table and said that he would work another 7 years for his Rachael.
In the time he lived there, Laban changed the terms of his contract 10 times. Jacob “worked the system” and finished up becoming more powerful and far richer than his father-in-law. Check it out. He might have been sneaky to a certain extent in how he went about it, but it did work for him. God had a plan and Jacob had to get into alignment with it.
We know that he wrestled with the angel later and his life was changed. God changed not only his name to Israel, but the way he walked (symbolizing his way of life) and his character.
How does this apply to us?
Jacob treasured his promise and his wife so much that he didn't give a hoot about having to change his plans and go through stuff. He remained active. He worked the system. That’s how it applies to us.
Sometimes life is not fair.
Sometimes we have a promise from God and expect it to fall out of the sky and hit us in the face. I wish!
When we are on the road to our promise, the devil could try to ambush us at the pass.
Paul told the Church in 1 Thessalonians 2:18 that he had tried time after time after time after time after time to get to them, but satan hindered him. It was as if the devil got a big D9 bulldozer and cut up the freeway.
When he tried to get to Rome, he got into the car only to find the battery was dead. He tried to get onto a train but the bridge was out. He wanted to fly to them but the airplane developed an engine fault. He got shipwrecked and lost all his belongings, but he got there, because the Lord told him he had to go there. You know the story.
He and Jacob could have had a great pity party, but they didn’t.
The way this applies to us is this-
and so on…
Breakthrough is coming
Most of us, if not all of us, are waiting for significant breakthroughs in our lives and it looks at face value that the breakthrough is further away than ever.
Two things could be happening and I assume that you are not shooting yourself in the foot of course.
The first thing is that there is a Laban working on your case. Your battle is not with him (a human being) but with the one who is pushing his or her button.
The enemy is using various circumstances with many to whisper lies about God’s nature and faithfulness and that your breakthrough is further away than ever. He wants you to retreat, but stand your ground, because your Rachel will be yours one day soon.
Imagine Jacob quitting at the end of 6 years and eleven months.
I could give you more illustrations, but I think I have painted the picture. I’ve read the end of the book and we win.
The second point I want to make is that what might look like a delay or a hindrance is actually God working on something!
You do not know everything that is going on behind the scenes. God’s angels are on assignments. Sometimes we cannot see the wood for the trees and if we fret over stuff because it didn’t happen the way we wanted it and when we wanted it and if we start mouthing off, we could actually be fighting against the very breakthrough we need.
Joseph is a good example. I shared somewhere that his brothers hated him and tried to kill him because of his dreams and he was sold into slavery in Egypt. There he was lied on and treated unfairly, but all those things were part of God’s plan.
I hope you see it.
This can work in many ways.
We wanted to go to a certain place and the Lord had indeed told us that we were to do so. All that He told us is, “I want you to go”. He did not say when. Super-spiritual Robert jumped up and started planning. I booked flights, hotels, hire cars, checked out where we would eat and picked the clothes I would wear and so on. We did go, but not when we thought we would. In the process, Marjorie and I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and kept asking the Lord about it and He kept saying, “I want you there”—but we thought He meant immediately. It never eventuated...then! We had two other assignments we had to fulfill first. An opportunity came to minister to one man who had become disillusioned after being hurt big time by the church and it was one of those “chance encounters”. If we had gone when we thought we would, we would never have met him. What would have happened? We do not know. He could have become bitter and twisted (the signs were there) or worse, gone into deep depression. He is a leader! I will say no more. He is a leader!
Another opportunity came that has a major impact on our own ministry. If we had not been here, we would have missed it.
That was a delay indeed, but God initiated it. We presumed something! Does this sound slightly familiar?
There is a right time and season for everything. A major problem in many churches and ministries is presumption. It’s not that the person is doing anything wrong, but simply getting a little out of step with God...ahead of Him. An American pastor we know who has a large ministry in Moscow shared how he had booked a holiday in Phuket for himself and his family. On the very eve they were to fly out, he started to have a feeling that they should not go. He called the family together and told them it was off.
If they'd gone there, they would have been caught up in that tsunami.
Marjorie and I went to Monrovia in Liberia, West Africa. I had booked the flights and arrived at the airport where we were not permitted to board the aircraft. That was in Brisbane, Australia! The duty manager of the airline company spoke with us and telephoned her counterpart in Sydney and arranged for us to fly out from there a day or so later. We knew that we had to go, but could not understand the delay. It was not a delay, but a God arranged thing that took us to Brussels in Belgium and also avoided an assassination attempt on our lives in Arab territory! I’m serious folks.
There are folk in other countries who keep asking us to visit them. I keep saying that we would like to come, but do not know when, promising to let them know when we know. That aught to suffice, but they keep asking when we will come. I understand their anxiety, but if God has not said, “Now”, there must be a reason. It is all a seasonal thing and getting out of step could be disastrous.
We have just entered into Spring here. What once looked dead, barren and lifeless is breaking out into fresh green shoots. Daffodil and Tulip bulbs that had been unseen and apparently dead and gone have blossomed. My roses that I pruned heavily (I have 50 rose bushes) looked like dead sticks a few weeks ago and the first buds are forming.
Things are changing. Your dream or vision that might have looked a lost cause just might have been winterizing and a change of season could produce the life you have longed for. God talks often about new things. He said-
...I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
Those of us who have something burning in our hearts, a dream or a vision of some kind that we have prayed about, wept over, agreed with others in prayer and done all the “right things” but nothing seems to be working are on the verge of greatness.
Some of us who have been doing certain things for the Lord, knowing that this is not where God really wants us are in good company. You could be a deacon in a church somewhere; a Sunday School teacher; someone who greets people at the door of a Church and are chafing at the bit to get going in the thing God has for you.
Don’t you dare think of quitting yet, or trying to make it happen, unless God has given you specific and unmistakable instructions to start running.
Keep doing what you are doing with all righteousness, faithfulness, enthusiasm and excel in it. The first half of Ecclesiastes 9:10 says-
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might
What you are currently doing could be your Leah! Did you see it? I’ll say that again! What you are currently doing could be your Leah!
If that is so, then marry the girl. Love on her. Don’t take this to literally mean marrying anyone—it has to be a God ordained marriage.
It might not be the ultimate, but whatever it is...be good at it. Excel in it.
You do not know but that this could be your training ground for what God has ahead and He wants you to find out what you can or cannot do.
Many people start off well, but do not last the distance. It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters. Keep your eyes on the objective.
If you flunk this course, do you really want to repeat the lesson?
When you’ve graduated from the School of the Holy Spirit, that just might involve working for a Leah, you can then in all reality say, “This is my Rachael”.
I hope you see it.