Depending on how you answered the above questions the answer to the following will be quite evident. Are you living victoriously? Maybe the more accurate question that needs answering is, are you living in such a way that the Lord would say you are living a victorious life because you are trusting that the Lord’s plans for your life are being fulfilled? Do you have faith in His absolute promises that He will bring you through even if you do not understand? “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) Is He your Rock each and every day? Are you are living a victorious life because you desire more than anything that others who are watching you will be drawn the Lord? Is this what the Lord sees in you?
What might a victorious life look like? The biblical definition would be that one is living triumphantly over sin, he/she is manifesting the righteousness of Christ in their lives and the fruit of the Spirit is the result. What it DOES NOT mean is that a person is living in financial prosperity, perfect health, raising a perfect family or not experiencing daily trials. Some of you may be challenged (or even resistant) to hear this, but nowhere in scripture does it say that God’s intended victory for us is any of those things. We might experience one or more of those things but I would challenge you to be honest if they are from God. They could be blessings from Him, but they are not always. You might have achieved them in your own power. Let me give you an example through a conversation I had many years ago with a young lady. I had the privilege of ministering to women who had become addicted to drugs and alcohol. One day in a Bible study one of the ladies “testified” that God had blessed her and her son with abundant material possessions (TV’s, video game apparatus’, etc.) even when she was active in her addiction. This was definitely a false testimony and the truth had to be revealed. Those items had been purchased by drug money, they were not “blessings” from God. God does not bless sin!
When God blesses financially it is primarily for His Kingdom on earth providing for the spread of the Gospel to hurting people, orphans, widows, sending out missionaries, meeting needs of the elderly who need repairs where they live and so much more.
A greater truth that we need to receive into our lives is that God’s blessings and provisions are not manifested through great outwardly accumulations that give you or me prestige and stature. God does bless the work of our hands and He is not opposed to financial wealth. It’s the foundation of how that wealth came about and what it means to you that is important. Remember the rich young ruler? (Mark 10:17-21) Jesus didn’t have a problem with his wealth. The problem was that his identity (his self-worth) was attached to that wealth. That wealth was his idol, his god. He could not let it go. He had no desire to give it away to help the needy who didn’t have anything. And he wasn’t interested in following Jesus to learn the true path to eternity. He wasn’t interested in receiving his “treasure in heaven”, he already had his treasure! Are you getting the picture? In God’s eyes this is real serious and you will stand before Him and give the account of what you did with what He gave to you! “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) “and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)
Contrast this life of the rich young ruler with the Apostle Paul. Read his words carefully and compare them with the previous young man. “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13) “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8) “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," (Hebrews 13:5) The above verses are what the victorious life looks like. It comes when our whole purpose for our lives it to please the Lord no man what the cost.
This seems to be a good resting stop for a moment so we can sit with the Lord and allow Him to search us and reveal to us how we are doing in this area of our lives. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24) When King David prayed to reveal any “hurtful way in me” he was asking the Lord to reveal any areas of his life that were in opposition to the will of God for him! Was he hindering God’s work in him or in others around him? Was he misusing anything in his life that would give others a wrong impression of God? Was he considering his wants/needs before the desires of God?
There are many in scripture we can look to for an example of living victoriously in the righteousness of the Lord and some who didn’t live victoriously. The first person I’d like to talk with you about is Leah. Have you ever thought about Leah, the first wife of Jacob? Remember the story? Jacob is sent to his mother’s brother, Laban, after he purchased his brother Esau’s birthright and then deceived his father Isaac and received Esau’s blessing. So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.” (Genesis 28:1-2) (Before you think too badly of Jacob you need to seek God’s wisdom regarding both Jacob and Esau. We will get back to them in a bit.)
Leah is that person who is easily overlooked. Scripture describes her in a very interesting way, “And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face.” (Genesis 29:17) Her younger sister, Rachel, was the one who caught everyone’s attention. Jacob took one look at Rachel and fell in love. (Genesis 29:18) He was so in love that he agreed to work for her father for seven years in order to be able to marry her. (Seven in Hebrew refers to sanctification, setting apart, set apart for a purpose.) “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” (Genesis 29:20) But on Jacob’s wedding day, Rachel’s father Laban, deceived Jacob and instead of giving him Rachel he gave him Leah. “Now in the evening he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her.” (Genesis 29:23) “So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?’ But Laban said, ‘It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years.’ Jacob did so and completed her week, and he gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife.” (Genesis 29:25-28)
“And Leah’s eyes were weak”. What is the Holy Spirit trying to tell us? Much is revealed through the eyes, laughter, fear, tears, joy, emptiness, etc. According to the Hebrew dictionary it might also imply that she was lacking in mental or spiritual capacities. While it might be true that the culture in which Laban lived believed that the oldest should marry first, I sense that Laban felt that this was the only way he had to make sure she did marry, so he tricked Jacob. I can fully understand Jacob’s anger, but can you put yourself into Leah’s shoes? What might she be feeling?
I can guess that many reading this can easily begin to name the feelings that she must have been experiencing. Most importantly, God saw Leah and had compassion on her. “Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.” (Genesis 29:31) (emphasis mine) Aren’t you glad that God sees us? He knows our every thought, every feeling, every hurt.
As I meditated on this situation the Holy Spirit pointed out something that I think we can all relate to. We have all experienced it, some of us have been the recipients of it, some of us have been the initiators of it; if we are truthful we have been both. What am I talking about? Notice that the scripture says that God opened Leah’s womb. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to four sons. Here’s the point, Jacob was not ignoring Leah, he was attentive. But there is a great difference between someone’s attention when they “favor” one person over another. The person is not being treated badly or even inconsiderately, but there may not be that compassion or tenderness or deep love that comes from an intimate relationship.
But God was trying to teach Leah something, the same thing He wants to teach you and me. Let’s look at the scripture and see what God was trying to teach Leah. “Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, ‘Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.’ “ (Genesis 29:32) Have you ever tried to win someone’s love? That is what Leah was doing. She was trying to be better than her sister Rachel so that Jacob would love her like he loved Rachel, or maybe even more than he loved Rachel. Jealousy is a terrible thing. It destroys not only relationships, but it destroys us.
Have you ever tried to “win” God’s love? For some that may be that for once would you like to be the one who was recognized for all the hard work you do (fill in the blank _______________, setting up the meal at church, hosting the group Bible study, etc.) Or maybe you know that God has given you a talent or a message to give but no one is willing to open the door for you to use it?
I’ve been there, I completely understand your emotions. There are some people who take charge and there is nothing that is going to move them from their “positions”. But be at peace, God also sees, and the fact that they are in the spotlight does not mean that they are “favored”. God knows the heart. The lesson we need to learn is to keep our eyes on Him and not on our circumstances. Let’s continue and I think you will see more clearly the desire of God.
“Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.’ So she named him Simeon.” (Genesis 29:33) She’s still trying to “perform” her way into having her husband love her.
“She conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ Therefore he was named Levi.” (Genesis 29:34)
“And she conceived again and bore a son and said, '‘This time I will praise the LORD.’ Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.” (Genesis 29:35) Leah finally turned her eyes to the Lord and began to worship Him for His goodness! Unfortunately this didn’t last very long because the rivalry between her and Rachel continued. So why did I choose for us to look at Leah today? Because she is the perfect example of one who found the “secret” of God’s blessing…..WORSHIP! It brings peace and contentment because our eyes are stayed on the Almighty One and not on our circumstances. This is God’s desire for us, this is His blessing! “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Hebrews 12:1-3) “My eyes are ever toward the LORD, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” (Psalms 25:15)
Leah allowed Rachel to steal her joy! Have you allowed someone to steal your joy? I believe this is a major trap that the enemy has set before every believer and when we embrace it the roots run very deep and not only is our peace destroyed but it affects everyone around us. As I reflect on this situation I honestly can’t imagine the tension and contention that affected the lives of every person in that family daily. We see the outcome of that in each of the sons and their lineages. It amazes me how God is not afraid to show us the failures of His children. He does it because of His great love for us! He warns us to NOT follow in the footsteps of the path of destruction. There is only one way to avoid falling into these traps, and that is to worship the One and Only God, the Giver of Life, the Lord of lords, the King of kings! Can we stop and spend some time in worship? Remember, worship isn’t for us, it is for Him! Scripture tells us to give a “sacrifice of praise”. Have you ever wondered why it is a “sacrifice”? It takes a conscious action on our part to take our eyes off of ourselves and look up to Him who has our lives in His hands, if we will just let Him lead us! Here are a few scriptures to help get us started. “And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.” (Psalm 27:6) “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15) “This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.” (Isaiah 43:21) “Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalms 29:2)
As I reflect on this situation, does it remind you of the relationship Jacob had with his brother Esau? There is something very important, however, that we need to look at to really understand the depth of what God is trying to tell us here. Abraham was not willing that Isaac would have a wife from among the Canaanites so he sent his servant back to his family, to the house of his brother Nahor. Remember that Abraham’s family were makers of idols, they didn’t know the One true God. Rebekah was the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother Nahor. Rebekah was barren for twenty years after her marriage to Isaac but when God opened her womb she became pregnant with twins. This is significant, even before they were born there was turmoil in her womb! “But the children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If it is so, why then am I this way?’ So she went to inquire of the LORD. The LORD said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.’ ” (Genesis 25:22-23) Two in Hebrews means that there are two different opinions or choices to be made between. We see that carried out here, the older one would serve the younger. Who was the younger one? Jacob. Esau would become a mighty nation but have we seen him serving Jacob yet? I don’t believe that will be fulfilled until the Millennial Kingdom. Why? Jacob became Israel. Jacob represents the flesh of man and Israel is the spiritual. Through Jacob and Leah. Judah was born and it is through his line that the Messiah was born. There is still much conflict today between these two tribes and it will not end until the people of Esau (Edom who were the Philistines and now are known as the Palestinians!) receive redemption and serve Messiah!
Many people really like to talk about how awful Jacob was in stealing Esau’s birthright. Let me ask you a question, did Esau have any say in this situation? Could he have changed the outcome? Here is what scripture reveals to us regarding this situation. “When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; and Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.’ Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ Esau said, ‘Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?’ And Jacob said, ‘First swear to me’; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:29-34) No one forced Esau to give Jacob what he asked! Did God cause Esau to respond in this way? No, it was Esau’s decision. Did God know what he would do? Yes, of course, but God did not cause it.
What is the point? Our choices decide the direction of our lives. Esau’s lack of regard for “his birthright” fulfilled prophecy. As to the blessing I find one verse very interesting in scripture that can easily be overlooked. “Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” (Genesis 25:28) Is this why there was only one blessing to be given? Isaac didn’t call both his sons to his bedside, only Esau. Is this why Rebekah took matters into her own hands so that the Word of God (Genesis 25:22-23) was sure to be fulfilled?
Let me add another piece to this puzzle. Scripture tells us that Esau married a Hittite woman when he was forty years old and they brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah. “When Esau was forty years old he married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite; and they brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah.” (Genesis 26:34-35) Forty in the Hebrew means transition or change. Again, his self-focus and desire for personal gratification resulted in unfavorable circumstances for himself and everyone around him.
Despite the circumstances Isaac chose to only give one blessing. I could be very wrong but what I hear in my spirit is that God plans were not to be ignored by man! God said it, He meant it and He was bringing it all into right alignment with His plan. Because mankind 99% of the time chooses to see with natural eyes and make judgment with limited knowledge or biased emotions, we often miss out on the whole of what God is wanting to do. This is one of those examples. Need proof? Do you remember the blessing? “But Isaac replied to Esau, ‘Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?’ ” (Genesis 27:37) This blessing was not meant for Esau!
As I was typing the last two statements above, I heard the Holy Spirit quietly speaking and confirming what I have been sensing of God’s heart. This is exactly what is happening in the world today. People are walking in sin by discrimination and violence. People are acting out against other people because of skin color and religion. They are acting out of emotional feelings and not seeing the spiritual realm of the message of God’s SOON upcoming judgment on this earth because of the very things they are protesting! We see something, we make a judgment and then set our minds as if it were truth! God is nowhere in this process!
Want more proof? I could continue for several more paragraphs regarding this situation and the application pertaining to us, but you can read it yourself. However, let’s look at one more little detail in this story between Esau and Jacob that you may have forgotten. After Isaac sent Jacob away to Rebekah’s brother, Esau’s heart again was exposed to reveal much to us. “So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.” (Genesis 28:8-9) The continued choices of Esau continue to bring conflict and war and hatred and devastation to the masses and will not end until the battle of Armageddon!
Dear ones, you may be saying that your choices have no way of affecting the nations in this way, but how do you know? How do you know the harm the hatred or unforgiveness you have will not harm generations to come?
Have you personally, I mean one on one, came face to face with Jesus and was so convicted of your sin that you cried out for forgiveness and accepted his free gift of salvation? You are NOT grandfathered into God’s Kingdom because your parents are Christians or you attended church, it is a PERSONAL walk! There is a way that testifies of that salvation and it goes right back to where we started this devotion. Is sin still master over you or are you walking in liberty in the righteousness of Jesus Christ? Are you easily convicted of sin in your life and quickly repent of it? “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—” (Colossians 3:10) “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:24)
Please don’t misunderstand me, Jacob was not innocent in all these matters but on his way to Laban’s he met God and was changed. Not perfect, his trust was still weak, but his heart had changed to WANTING God to be his Lord! (Genesis 28:10-22) This change in Jacob was the catalyst of a new life that was submitted to the Lord God of Abraham and Isaac. Never perfect, and generational curses continued in his lineage, but his desire was to please God and bless Him. Through his submission to his Creator, he was faithful to his first wife Leah and through this unplanned and unwanted marriage was born Judah who God chose to be the line in which His Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah would be born in order to redeem the world!
Do not be like Leah who finally took her eyes off her circumstances to worship God, but quickly turned them back again to her rivalry with her sister Rachel. Be a Jacob who won’t let loose of God until you receive the blessing! A limp is nothing but a reminder of the holiness of God in your life! Rejoice and be glad that He wants to be your LORD! Your reward will not be on earth, the reward is our eternity with Him, to serve Him all the days. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
You have seen the lives of individuals in God’s Word and what takes place when our eyes are on our circumstances and not focused on the Lord to please Him. Living victoriously is keeping your spiritual eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ! I pray you have been encouraged by the Holy Spirit to do so.
Worship is vitally important to God. For additional resources on worship please look on this blog and see all the things available to worship and praise our Lord.
Father, we worship You and You alone. Forgive us for our sin and the desires of our hearts that are opposed to Your plans and desires for us. Your ways are perfect and are not difficult. You so graciously sent your Son Jesus Christ as the perfect sacrifice to redeem us from our sin. Thank You for washing those who accepted His free gift to be white as snow! Our sins are as crimson but by His blood we have been washed clean. Help us to give you whatever we are holding onto today that is sin so that we might live in the fullness of Your grace and be a living testimony of You to others around us. We love You and praise You. This we pray through Messiah Yeshua, amen!