Learning in the School of God

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Genesis 28:1-121And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. 2Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. 3And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; 4And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. 5And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother. 6When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; 7And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram; 8And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; 9Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife. 10And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. 11And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:1‑12)
The life of Jacob is one of the most interesting records of the grace of God to be found in the Bible. God has been pleased to tell us a great deal about poor Jacob, and more than that, God calls Himself the God of Jacob more often than the God of either Abraham or Isaac. Every time we read about God being the God of Jacob, it tells us of His grace that blesses in spite of all our failure.
The Path of Faith and Obedience
Isaac told Jacob not to take a wife of the daughters of the land, but to choose one of his own kindred — that is of the family of faith. No doubt your father and mother have been telling you that you should not take a life partner from the unsaved people around, whom you meet day by day. Perhaps you are inclined to think that such a path is difficult and that there are few to choose from. Jacob found this too, and he had to go a long way to get his wife, and things were any­thing but easy. The path of faith is not easy. It is a rough path, but there is always blessing at the end. Jacob obeyed his father and mother in this matter. Are you going to do the same, dear young Christian?
Esau, on the other hand, was very willful in his disobedience and refused to hearken to the voice of his parents. Even though he knew that they did not want him to choose a wife of the daughters of the land, he went out and married one of them. He would have liked to receive the blessing from his father, but he surely did not honor his parents as God says we should.
Jacob was a man of faith, but he had a great deal to learn in the school of God. Perhaps some of our readers are wondering what the school of God is, for you did not know He had one. Yes, God has a school, and the moment we are saved we enter it. He has many things to teach us, and being very patient, He will never expel us from His school; nor can we ever gradu­ate as long as we are in this world, for there are many things to learn, and it takes a lifetime to learn them.
Fresh Reminders of Love and Grace
Jacob started out from Beersheba and went toward Haran, and while he was traveling along, the sun set and the darkness overtook him. How many a young Christian who goes on well for a time, comes to a place like Jacob where the sun sets and he lays down to sleep. Jacob had stones for his pillow! Such is the path of one who is going on with unconfessed sin in his life as Jacob was. There is no comfort in such a course for the pillows are made of stones!
God sometimes speaks in dreams, though we have to test even our dreams by the word of God. Here God spoke to Jacob through a dream, and what wonderful promises He made to him. When we are getting away from the Lord, how often He sends us some fresh reminder of His love and grace in order to recall our wandering hearts and feet. The ladder stretched up to heaven which Jacob saw with angels of God ascending and descending up­on it, points on to the time when Christ will reign in power. Then the heavenly Jerusalem will be over the earthly Jerusalem, and the redeemed in heaven will reign with Christ carrying out His righteous government in the earth in­stead of the angels who are now God’s “ministering spirits” (see Hebrews 1:14; 2:5-714Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)
5For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: (Hebrews 2:5‑7)
; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3).
Further Meditation
1. In what way did Esau disobey his parents?
2. Why can we be thankful that the Lord doesn’t make it easy for us when we are going our own way and rejecting His direction for our life? What would happen to us if He didn’t act to stop us?
3. Thinking about Jacob’s life reminds us of how important it is to obey. Obedience and Submission: Healing Principles by J. H. Smith is an excellent pamphlet for laying out the simple and essential value of obedience to God and the authority He has placed in our lives.