These chapters that conclude the history of Jacob’s sojourn among the Syrians, complete a chiastic structure:
1A: Gen 28.10-12, Jacob meets the angels of God;
1B: Gen 28.13-22, Jacob’s covenant with God;
1C: Gen 29.1-14, Jacob arrives to Laban;
CENTRAL AXIS: Gen 29.16-30: Jacob’s wives; Gen 29.31-30.26: Jacob’s children; Gen 30.27-43: Jacob’s flocks; i.e., God fulfills His promise to Jacob;
2C: Gen 31.1-24, Jacob flees from Laban;
2B: Gen 31.25-55, Jacob’s covenant with Laban;
2A: Gen 32.1-2, Jacob meets the angels of God.
We saw previously that God fulfilled His word to Sarah (Gen 21:1); that God did not forsake His lovingkindness or His truth to Abraham (Gen 24:26-27), and now He is putting neon flashing lights around the central axis proclaiming that He fulfilled His promise to bless Jacob and be with him. Repetition is a teaching tool of Scripture! God does not want us to miss, that He keeps His word and He fulfills His promises!
Notice, however, that Abraham did have to wait for the fulfillment of the promise, and things weren’t perfect for him, even though he walked in God’s ways and kept His torah. God kept His word to Isaac, but things weren’t perfect for Isaac; he also had to wait on God; his family also was not perfect. And things did not go perfectly for Jacob either. He waited on God, and dealt with trials and tribulations in the process.
Things can be going wrong around us, and we can still be in the perfect will of God. Did you know that perfection and lack of trouble is not necessarily God’s will for our lives? We can still be in the place God wants us to be in; we can still have the family God wants us to have; we can still be doing the work God wants us to be doing; we can still be walking in obedience day by day. All the while we might experience famine or drought or other natural disasters, hostile neighbors or war, trouble in the household, cheating at work — and through it all, God does what He says He will do, just as He did with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob. God does not forsake His lovingkindness or His truth to Abraham or to Abraham’s seed.
For further study: Are there elements in Jacob’s life that we have seen in these two chapters, that continue the chiastic structure of the Patriarchs that we began yesterday? Find them and fill them in, if so.
Finding Messiah: First the Scripture says a Man wrestled with Jacob till daybreak (Gen 32:24) and then the Scripture says of Jacob’s encounter with this Man, that he had seen God face to face (Gen 32:30)! Which is it, Man or God? It is God and Man, a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the places in the Old Testament that taught the apostles and Paul, what the doctrines of the nature of Messiah Yeshua were.
For further reading:
Israel – Hebrew word study (Brad Scott)