The Witness Heap

As I prepare to write the blog post about our sermon each Sunday, I look over my notes and references from the Bible text. I look to God for his guidance before I start to type and ask him to guide my words. This sermon series has been a tough one personally. When I look at the dysfunction in Jacob’s family, including his wives and his father-in-law, I see similar characteristics in loved ones from my own past.

We have all kinds of people in our lives and they will in turn influence our lives. I think we need to take a look at the five kinds of relationships people have with God to help us be aware of how their character may influence us.

  • First are people who don’t believe in God. (Atheists)
  • Secondly, there are those who don’t disbelieve in God, but they don’t see a need for God in their life. (Agnostic)
  • Then there are those people that know of God. They are all in as long as they get what they want. They have expectations which may cause them to be fickle. (Fans)
  • Fourthly we have people who want to put God in a box. They want God to work within their parameters. That way they can set the ground rules. They can choose who to love and they want control. (Management)
  • Lastly we have those who are totally in. They are lifting, walking, pursuing God as Jesus did. Jesus is the benchmark. (Jesus) We should be striving for this. It won’t be obtainable until we’re in heaven, but should be the goal

God made a covenant with Abraham to make him into a great nation.

1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

2”I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” -Genesis 12:1-3

It is this promise that causes God to watch over us even when we don’t deserve it. It’s his desire for us to come to him. This is why God was with Jacob through his travels to his uncle’s home and his pursuit of a wife. A lot of deceit throughout his time there as he worked for 7 years to earn the hand of his betrothed only to find that he was married to the sister of one he loved. So after a marriage of a week he was given Rachel to be his wife also. This required another 7 years of labor. Then there was another 6 years of work to earn his flock.

God watches over you and looks out for you. Even when we’re not all in, he wants a relationship with us.

  • What are you holding onto and what does it do to you?
  • What we take from…we take with us.
  • If we take it with us and it hangs around we begin to take on it’s character.
  • Chooses wisely what you take with you.

Back to Jacob’s story…he had a dream and God told him that he’d seen what Laban was doing to him. Leave this land at once and go back to your native land.

Jacob talked to Rachel and Leah and they packed up the children, flocks and all they owned and snuck away without telling Laban. When he found out they had deserted without a good-by, Laban was furious and began pursuit with his relatives at his side.

They argued when Laban caught up with him. Laban had been warned by God, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” So Laban pleaded with Jacob.

26 “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of tambourines and harps? 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters good-by. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s house. But why did you steal my gods?”

Gen. 31:26-30

Rachel was the one who had taken his gods, but she’d hid them in the saddle bag of her camel. Why she took them we don’t know for sure. Doubtful that she took them to protect her father from idolatry or that she believed in these gods. Perhaps Laban used them in divination. More than likely they were like deeds to property. Rachel may have looked at them as an inheritance or revenge for the deceitfulness of her father.

How can you trust a god who can be stolen?

What do you worship? Relationships with people can crumble. Money from your employment can disappear. You could be replaced in a heartbeat.

After this confrontation, Jacob and Laban agree to go their own ways and not harm each other. They made a heap of stones as a witness heap. A mizpah or watchtower to mark their agreement and God keeping watch while they’re apart. If either of them crosses the line, God will step in.

The Take Away

  • Make the choice to follow God’s call on your life and trust in His plan and protection.
  • Following God’s Call: trusting in God’s promise. the call to fulfill his will and our commitment to him. Fulfills His promise & mods us into who we were created to be.
  • Trusting His Protection: follow God’s lead.
  • Time to Leave: when deception becomes contagious, life keeps you from living the plans God has for you.
  • Ultimate source of wealth: blessings God has placed on you

As we respond to the message we need to discern what God’s will is for our lives and follow the call. Allow God to defend and define us. Jesus Christ is the one who has paid the ultimate price for each of us. Can you thumb your nose at someone who would die for you? I can’t. So I choose to seek him and his will.

This blog post is my response to the sermon of Jon Porter at Milan Christian Church in Milan, Indiana on 11/6/22. Here’s a link to Jon’s sermon on the Church’s podcast.

In Faith,

Pam

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