|@January 31, 2024
|M’Cheyne Plan 2024
Genesis 32:7–11 (ESV) 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, 8 thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.” 9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children.
Jacob, distressed at Esau’s coming since he had made death threats twenty years earlier (Gen. 27:41-42), proactively splits his flocks and herds to reduce the potential loss. He then goes to the Lord and asks to be delivered from Esau’s hand (Gen. 32:9-12). He recounts God’s words to him and acknowledges his unworthiness of God’s favor, knowing that he had wronged his brother, Esau. While it seems a bit inauspicious to take action out of fear to preserve his flocks prior to going to the Lord, Jacob did still come to Him and God remained faithful.
Mark 3:20–21 (ESV) 20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
By this point, a great crowd had begun to follow Jesus so that He and His disciples could not even eat. Hearing of Jesus’ activities, His own people felt that He was out of His mind and sought to take Him away. It seems the motive was more from a place of embarrassment that they were related to such a religious zealot. Worth noting is that only Mark mentions how Jesus’ family thought He was out of His mind, neither Matthew nor Luke speak about this.
Esther 8:2, 8, 10a, 15 (ESV) 2 And the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. … 8 But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.” … 10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service … 15 Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced.
After being given the signet ring from the king, Mordecai proceeds with a number of actions that would normally be attributed to royalty, even as far as wearing royal garb in the city of Susa. This is demonstrative of a complete reversal from previous events. While the king and Haman were in power, the Jews were set for destruction. However, now that Mordecai was in control, the Jews would be protected, even given warrant to retaliate against people or provinces that might attack them. It is an amazing instance of God’s work of protection and provision.
Romans 3:8 (ESV) 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.
In this section, Paul addresses several implications to which critics mistakenly thought his teachings would lead. One of these was the thought that a person could do evil if the motive was a good outcome. Paul swats this down harshly, saying that those who conduct themselves in such ways deserve condemnation. The takeaway is to see that pursuing a righteous end should not entail using unrighteous means. It matters in how something is achieved as much as what is achieved.
Carson on Genesis 32
Twenty years or so have passed since Jacob’s outward-bound journey. Some people learn nothing in twenty years. Jacob has learned humility, tenacity, godly fear, reliance upon God’s covenantal promises, and how to pray. None of this means he is so paralyzed by fear that he does nothing but retreat into prayer. Rather, it means he does what he can, while believing utterly that salvation is of the Lord.
It is good to reflect here on Jacob’s progress despite imperfection. God was continually at work in him, producing the fruit of faith, and it is much the same with us. Although to remain broken this side of glory, He is ever gracious to shape and refine us until the day we be fully conformed to His Son.
- J. I. Packer et. al, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
- D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: Volumes 1 & 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006; hosted on thegospelcoalition.org)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)