I. The PROMISE TO GUIDE, protect, and bless fulfilled in connection with the employment of ordinary faculties and instrumentalities. Jacob's craft partly natural, but in this instance specially assisted that he might be helped in an emergency. The "supplanter" in this case represented the better cause.
II. HUMAN DEVICES only apparently, and not really, thwart the purposes of God. Jacob represents the people of God. The victory is appointed them. Their interests must be served by the kingdoms of this world, though for a season the advantage appears on the side of the mere calculating, selfish policy. The true wisdom is that which cometh from above.
III. INCREASE in the best sense is God's promise. It will be sent as he wills and when he wills, but will be found the true answer to prayer and the true manifestation of love. On all that belongs to us the blessing rests. Spiritual prosperity carries with it all other. Though the individual may be called to suffer for the sake of the community, the promise to the Church must be fulfilled. "It is our Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom." "The meek shall inherit the earth." - R.
1. It becometh wives, especially in good families, to listen unto advice of husbands from God.
Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house.
I. THE CRY IS PERSONAL. Men do not ask, "Is there hope for the lost — the profligate, the vile?" but, "Is there hope for me?" The soldier lying wounded in the battle-field thinks of the home harvest-fields far away, and the soul amid its wounds and woes whispers, "I will arise and go to my Father. There is a home-returning way for me!"
II. THE CRY IS ANXIOUS. "Is there yet?" Once the soul was ready to surmise there might be! But is there now? when sin has consolidated into habit, when the door has been shut so often in the marred face of the Man of Sorrows! "My sin is ever before me," is the great cry of conscience. We sympathize with human anxiety. We watch with moistened eyes the widow who asks, "Is there yet a table in the wilderness for me and my little ones?" In reply to the "yet," let us answer, "Though thy sins be as scarlet, He shall make them white as wool"; "He shall blot out thy transgressions as a cloud, and thine iniquities as a thick cloud"; "He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him."
III. THE CRY IS CHILDLIKE. "My Father's house!" For we are, in one sense, all of us God's offspring. True, we have lost likeness to Him and peace with Him; and only by faith can we become the spiritual sons of God. But there is memory of the lost estate in every heart. Man was made for God, and He is the only home of the soul. God gave us our earthly homes and relationships, to be parables of that great central truth. No word thrills us like "home"; no picture on Academy walls touches us like Provis's interiors. And this is natural. For let home be dark or deserted, let the dove of peace leave that, let those sweet sanctities be desecrated, and no outside joys, no travels, no pursuits can make compensation! And to know the value of a home, you must lose one.
IV. THE CRY IS ANSWERED. Yes! in many parables, in many promises, in deeds of love and sacrifice. Faith leads all along the way, from justification to glory. But it were wrong to conceive of the inheritance as all future. Heaven does begin on earth, because the heavenly principles, purposes, and pleasures may be ours now. CONCLUSION. We close with the remembrance that there is welcome for us, room for us, reward for us. Have you ever stood outside a flower-show in the summer-time, and seen carriage after carriage drive up, with rustling silks and dazzling liveries and crested panels, pride and pomp entering in; and then caught the wistful face of a poor child at the gate, with another child in her arms, shut out from seeing God's beautiful flowers? The poor, the blind, the maim, the halt, the prodigals of every type are welcome. What, does He want me? does He wait for me? has He asked for me?
(W. M. Statham, M. A.)
2. God can make them that disagree in a family sweetly to concur to do His work.
3. It is unnatural for children to find no portions in their father's house, when they abound.
4. Such brands of cruelty are left upon unnatural fathers by the Spirit (ver. 14).
5. It is cruel for fathers to use their children as slaves and make merchandize of them.
6. It is savage for parents to consume the substance of children for whom they should provide.
7. Such unnatural dealings, in God's justice, alienate hearts of children from parents (ver. 15).
8. It is fit to consider how God recompenseth cruelties of unnatural parents in depriving them of their children.
9. What God giveth to parents and children may be justly owned by them.
10. Good women will be free and helpful to their husbands to go and do whatever is the will of God unto them (ver. 16).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
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