8 Kislev 5780
Welcome to Vayetzei (And He Left), this week’s study of the Word of YAHUVEH.
Vayetzei (And He Left)
· Genesis 28:10–32:2
· Hosea 12:13–14:9
· John 4:1–26
“And Jacob went out from Beersheba.” (Genesis 28:10)
Last week, in Parasha Toldot, Isaac’s wife Rebecca had a difficult pregnancy as the twin boys jostled within her. When she inquired of ELOHIM, HE told her that two nations were in her womb and the elder (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob).
This week, Parasha Vayetzei, describes Jacob’s travels to Harran, his mother's homeland, to find a wife and to flee the murderous plot of his brother Esau.
Jacob Leaves His Comfort Zone
Jacob was not a rough and tough adventurer like his brother, Esau. He had a quiet personality from birth, preferring to be at home rather than out in the woods hunting for game.
So, the call to leave his home for another land like the call of his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac may have caused much anxiety – since he was running to save his life, at his mother’s insistence.
On the other hand, Jacob had just received an extraordinary blessing from his father Isaac of “heaven’s dew and earth’s richness, an abundance of grain and new wine” with a promise of nations serving and bowing down to him (Genesis 27:28–29).
So Jacob set out for Harran, much blessed. Even so, instead of his comfortable bed or a warm inn at the side of the road, he spent his first night sleeping on the cold, hard ground without any kind of physical shelter and only stones for a pillow.
Jacob Receives His Spiritual Inheritance
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of ELOHIM ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12)
Any anxiety Jacob had that night must have fled his spirit when ELOHIM appeared to him in a dream.
In that dream, YAHUVEH was standing at the top of a ladder that reached into the heavens, with angels going up and down it. There, HE promised to give Jacob the same inheritance HE gave Abraham and Isaac – the land upon which he lay:
“And, behold, YAHUVEH stood beside him, and said: 'I am YAHUVEH, the GOD of Abraham your father, and the GOD of Isaac. The land upon which you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed.” (Genesis 28:13)
It is clear through this Scripture that the Divine title deed to this land belongs to the seed of Jacob whose name was later changed to ‘Israel’ and not the seed of his brother, Esau, who is the forefather of many of the Arabic people currently living in the Land.
It’s also easy to see that some of these descendants of Esau still hate their “brother Jacob” and seek to kill his descendants – the Jewish People.
Jacob awoke from his dream filled with awe, delighting in the presence of the One True GOD; and for that reason, he called the place Beit–El (House of GOD). In truth, though, any place can become a “house of YAH” when HIS Holy Presence invades the space.
This pivotal encounter with YAHUVEH is Jacob’s spiritual awakening.
It is here that he entered the role of spiritual forefather, moving forward in the promises given to his grandfather, Abraham – not only to receive the land, but also to bear fruit and bring blessing to generation after generation of all peoples of the earth:
“Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.” (Genesis 28:14)
What perhaps began as a journey of obedience to his parents now became a journey with YAHUVEH HIMSELF:
“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15)
While Abraham and Isaac had their own very personal encounters with YAHUVEH, until this time, it seems that Jacob had no such encounter. But as YAHUVEH reveals HIS power and presence, Jacob responds with clarity and a simple faith, saying:
“If YAHUVEH will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then YAHUVEH will be my GOD.” (Genesis 28:20–21)
In accepting the Lordship of YAHUVEH over his life, Jacob is not waiting for riches before he serves HIM and he also makes this commitment to HIM:
“This stone that I have set up as a pillar will be YAHUVEH’s house, and of all that YOU give me I will give YOU a tenth.” (Genesis 28:22)
When we honor the YAHUVEH’s real presence in our lives and reinvest our resources back into HIS work through tithing, offerings, and serving, we acknowledge that HE is LORD over our lives, that HE provides us protection, food, clothing, and shelter and that HE alone is worthy of adoration and praise all the time, everywhere.
Jacob Encounters Living Water
“And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.” (Genesis 29:10)
By the time Jacob arrives at his uncle Laban’s land, it seems that he had undergone a remarkable transformation. Earlier on, he had been described as a tent-dweller, in contrast to his rugged brother Esau who was an outdoorsman.
Traditionally, Jacob is described as a scholar.
Yet, suddenly it seems that he actually possesses remarkable strength. He is able to single-handedly move the heavy stone off of a community well in order to give water to his uncle’s sheep.
Either he possessed this strength all along, or it developed as he journeyed in faith and obedience.
If the first is true, then he is a remarkable example of someone who led a balanced life, not neglecting the need to develop his external strength as he developed his internal strength.
If the second is true, then he is an example to all of us as to how we can be transformed in our walk with YAHUVEH.
If we keep in mind that moving the stone single-handedly was a feat fit for Samson, there is room for both to be true.
The well is thought to represent YAHUSHUA, and the flocks powers that drew from the well.
In this interpretation, the rolling back of the stone represents the future Messianic Age when exile will end and YAHUVEH redeems HIS people.
Water is a rich symbol in Jewish writing, and in Jeremiah 2:13, YAHUSHUA calls HIMSELF the "Spring of living water." Life flows from HIM, our LORD and SAVIOR YAHUSHUA HAMASHIACH.
The water in the well represents YAHUSHUA, who proclaimed, "Whoever believes in ME, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." (John 7:38)
It is only through YAHUSHUA, the source of Living Water, that anyone can come to the FATHER to receive the gift of salvation.
“YAHUSHUA said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the FATHER except through ME.” (John 14:6)
The rolling away of the stone perhaps also reminds us of the miraculous rolling away of another stone – the one that covered YAHUSHUA’s burial place. When that stone was rolled away, the resurrection of YAHUSHUA was revealed.
Prophetically, once Israel sees YAHUSHUA as the Messiah who died, was buried, and rose again, then resurrection life will come to the entire world.