“For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. “ – Jer 31:11 (KJV)
Our text suggests that Jacob was in trouble.
He had sold himself to people more powerful than he is and would ever be. Either by indebtedness or by any other means, he had mortgaged himself, his life forever without any possibility of him being able to save himself.
God decides and declares that he has come to his rescue. The word redeem from where we got redeemed, means to recover by an expenditure of effort or by a stipulated payment.
Jacob served Laban, his father-in-law because he had no money to pay dowry and other expenses. One can, like Jacob in such a case, buy back himself by serving if he does not have the cash to do so.
And the word ransom implying the same means money demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner. The only difference in this is that the person (prisoner or slave) is not directly responsible for his freedom. It takes another, a guarantor, a bailiff, to deliver him. In either case, Jacob needed the intervention of another.
In this case, however, God was not referring to physical issues such as we have between Jacob and Laban, but between Jacob himself and the spiritual forces that made him “Jacob”, sup-planter, cheat, etc. He was up against forces that no amount of physical labour could quantify to pay for his release.
I remember a story I read about a horse that a man bought for a member of his family. They all fell in love with the horse, but it was not in the compound most times; always found in the lawn of their neighbour whose family had also fallen in love with the animal. In the fear that the horse might stir up a cold war between the man and his neighbour, the owner sold her to a Jockey.
When both families heard the horse was to compete in a race, they went to the race course to cheer the horse. Both men found themselves at the side of the Jockey who had mounted the horse, enabling the horse one more time to hear their beloved voices which I believe spurred her not only to clear all the hurdles set before it but also to beat all the other horses to return first.
The following day, the man woke to see the horse in his compound. Both families rejoiced at seeing the animal but that was before the Jockey came looking for it. The horse had to be bought back from him, even twice the amount they sold it to him. Why? The worth of the horse had appreciated!
The devil is the accuser of the brethren. We all know this. But one thing we do not all know is that in accusing us the devil puts us up in the spiritual slave market, to hand us over to the taskmaster that promises the most gruesome persecution and pain. That was exactly what happened to Joshua the high priest.
“And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” – Zech 3:2-3 (KJV)
Joshua was “a brand plucked out of the fire”. He was on fire, burning for God, Who makes His angels wind and His ministers a flame of fire.
“Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.” – Psalms 104:4 (KJV)
“And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” – Heb 1:7 (KJV)
He was in the spiritual state of godliness, with the fear of the Lord in him yet the devil “plucked” him out of that state and clothed him in filth, in rubbish and shame! The filthy garment certainly would have been upon him by a demon making his life miserable. Oh, let him that thinks he stand take heed!
God intervened by sending His angel to rescue him because he was valuable to God. If you were put up for sale in the spiritual slave market, how much would you be worth to God? Would God so value you, that He would give lives, or kill people just to redeem or ransom you? Would God readily give nations for your sake?
“For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” – Isaiah 43:3-4 (KJV)
Generally, God loves us all; and this is recorded in John 3:16. God is not partial and does not take sides. He is not committed to people, race, colour or language. He cannot be bribed or bought over either with our tears, words, thought or deed. However, He is committed to Jesus.
….to be continued.