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"Peace amid Pain "
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Why is Pain?
First: Jacob and the divine purification (3)

Jacob got out of Laban’s experience but the spirit of self-dependency was still in him. When Jacob knew of the coming of Esau to towards him, he prayed to the Lord saying: "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children” (Genesis 32:9,11), but the prayer did not stop Jacob from trusting himself and leaning on his own understanding, for after the prayer, he immediately prepared a present to his brother Esau to solicit his sympathy  for he said "I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face.”(Genesis 32:20). 

Then God came to him and wrestled him till the day broke in; He touched the socket of his hip to let out all impurities of deception, trickeries, and his dependency and leaning on his self understanding; the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint and he limped on his hip while his thoughts have not limped yet.  Jacob kept on planning; he divided his children into 4 groups in order to protect his beloved Rachel and Joseph from any evil. "Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and there, Esau was coming, and with him were four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maidservants. And he put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children behind, and Rachel and Joseph last”(Genesis 33:1,2). 

Our Holy God does never fail, He keeps on with His dealings until He removes all impurities which do not please Him, so he puts Jacob into a harder experience with his daughter Dina in Shechem "Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her.” (Genesis 34:1,2).  Up to here, Jacob couldn’t stand anymore; the trial’s fire got fiery on him and God appeared to him saying "Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” We can see here, how this bitter trial was able to get the impurity and uncleanness out of Jacob "And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments.  Then let us arise and go up to Bethel” (Genesis35:1-3).

O Jacob, are you keeping the foreign gods in your house until now? God did not ask Jacob to drive away the foreign gods from his house but he asked him to go to Bethel and build an altar. Jacob wanted however to purify himself and get rid of every strange thing. "And Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem” (Genesis 35:4).  Then after that painful trial Jacob had to surrender and give up by expelling and burying all impurities. The wonderful picture was completed when God has taken from him Rachel and Joseph, the ones he put last and protected in his lap; then he stood before Pharaoh to bless him and bless Joseph and his brothers.

Dear reader, I hope that the impurities in your life are not mixed up and mingled strongly with the gold so that you will not be exposed to such a stage of divine dealings to pull them out.

When God allows the fire in your life, trust it will be easy, tolerable, purifying and for your good "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit”(John 15:2).  When the three youngsters entered the furnace, the fire could not catch from them but the chains. And when God puts us in a trial we will not lose one hair of gold while tons of impurities like evil thoughts, deception and sins will burn and perish and we become purer.  May God help us to tolerate every trial that His good hands will allow, so that we get purified.

Magdy Samuel

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