The Confrontation& Transformation of Returning: Facing Who We Are & What We What We Left Behind

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of beginnings which is the book of Genesis as it was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters thirty-one through thirty-three of this Old Testament book. RETURNING AND REUNITING! RETURNING TO YOUR KINDRED AND REUNITING WITH YOUR BROTHER! THE NARRATIVE OF RETURNING AND REUNITING! YOU’VE BEEN AWAY LONG ENOUGH! THE TIME HAS COME TO RETURN! DEPARTING WITH NO NOTICE! FLEEING WITH NOTHING MORE THAN A STAFF! FLEEING WITH A HOUSEHOLD! PURSUED AND OVERTAKEN, YET PROTECTED! WHEN GOD SPEAKS TO YOUR PURSUER! LABAN PURSUED JACOB AND GENERATIONS LATER PHARAOH WOULD PURSUE ISRAEL! ENTERING LABAN’S HOUSE WITH NOTHING AND LEAVING WITH A HOUSEHOLD AND WEALTH! ENTERING EGYPT WITH NOTHING AND LEAVING WITH THE WEALTH OF OF THE EGYPTIANS! WAGES CHANGED TEN TIMES AND TEN PLAGUES! PLUNDERING LABAN’S FLOCKS! PLUNDERING EGYPT! EXCEPT THE GOD OF MY FATHER HAD BEEN WITH ME! WHEN THE ANGLES OF GOD COME FORTH TO MEET YOU! RETURNING HOME, REMINDING GOD, AND REUNITING WITH YOUR BROTHER! AND JACOB WAS LEFT ALONE! WRESTLING WITH GOD! WRESTLING WITH WHO YOU ARE! CONTENDING FOR THE BLESSING! I WILL NOT LET YOU GO EXCEPT YOU BLESS ME! WHAT IS YOUR NAME! I AM JACOB! NO LONGER JACOB BUT ISRAEL! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the narrative and account of Jacob in Padan-Aran where he had spent the last twenty years of his life coming to an end. As you read the words which are written and found within this particular passage you will find that Jacob’s time in Padan-Aran had been broken up into essentially three different parts and sections. The first seven years Jacob spent in the country of his brethren would be spent serving his mother’s brother Laban for his daughter Rachel, however, once the seven years were completed and Jacob asked for Rachel to be his wife Laban beguiled and tricked him by giving him his eldest daughter Leah instead. This would ultimately lead to another seven years serving Laban for Rachel in order that he might fulfill that which was in his heart toward Leah. Within this particular section of the book of Genesis we find that when Laban gave Jacob Leah his daughter to be his wife, he also gave her his maid to be her hand maid. What’s more, is that you will also find that Laban gave Jacob Rachel—the one who was his true heart’s desire—to be his wife, as well as another one of his maids to be her hand maiden. In all reality Jacob had spent fourteen years serving his mother’s brother in the country of his brethren and kinsmen because of his love and affection for and toward her. What’s more, is that if you continue reading you will find that there would be another six years that would be added to the fourteen years he had already spent serving Laban, thus when it was all said and done, Jacob spent twenty years of his life serving his mother’s brother in a land in which his mother and father instructed him to journey.

By the time we come to the thirty-first chapter of the book of Genesis we find Jacob—this one who had fled from the hatred and murderous desire of his brother unto his mother’s brother in the land of Padan-Aran and who had left with nothing more than a staff in his hand—having become two bands. On the one hand you find Leah the first born daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, her hand maid and those children which were born unto her. On the other hand you find Rachel—the one whose heart Jacob truly longed for in love and affection—her handmaiden, and the children which were born unto them. At the risk of getting ahead of myself, you will read the words which are found within this passage and find Jacob speaking unto the God of his father Abraham, and the God of his father Isaac, and declaring unto him that he had left the land of Canaan with nothing more than a staff in his hand, and how as he prepared to return home to the land of his nativity and the land of his mother and father, he returned as two bands and with great cattle, wealth and possessions. The narrative of Jacob was one that would begin with him fleeing from his brother Esau who sought to murder and kill him because of the blessing wherewith his father had blessed him, and now we don’t find Jacob necessarily fleeing for fear of Laban or his men and servants, but departing because the word which the Lord had spoken unto him. If you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find and discover that there is a stark contrast that exists between the time when Jacob left and departed from his father’s house in the land of Canaan and this present departure from the land and country of his mother’s nativity, which was in the land of Padan-Aran in Syria. When Jacob would leave, depart and in all reality flee from the land of Canaan and from the land of his nativity, he would flee—not because the voice of the Lord had spoken unto him and instructed him to depart, but because he was instructed to do so by his mother who knew and was aware of his brother’s murderous intentions toward him. When, however, Jacob would leave and depart from Padan-Aran, which was the land and country of his mother’s nativity, and the land where he had devoted and spent the last twenty years of his life, he would do so because the word and voice of the Lord had spoken unto him. What makes this truly and incredibly interesting is when you consider the words which the Lord had spoken unto Jacob after he had departed from the land of his nativity and from the land of his father and mother. In fact, if you begin reading with and from the tenth verse of the twenty-eighth chapter you will find Jacob going out from Beer-Sheba and journeying toward Haran. It would be on this journey that he would come upon a certain place and tarry there for the night because the sun had set. Furthermore, it would be during the night the Lord would appear to him in a dream and speak some profound words unto him. Consider if you will the words which we find written here in the twenty-eighth chapter of the book of Genesis beginning with the tenth verse:

“And Jacob went out from Beer-Sheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a. Certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 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 God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land wherein thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread aboard to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and the tone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord by my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” (Genesis 28:10-22).

What is so interesting and unique about the narrative and account of Jacob is that you won’t find the voice of the Lord appearing unto him until after he had departed from the country of his nativity, and after he had departed from the house of his father. We have already determined that it would not be the voice of the Lord that would drive Jacob forth from the land of Canaan and unto the land of his mother’s nativity in Padan-Aran, but it would be the murderous threats and intentions of his brother Esau that would drive him forth. With that being said, it’s worth noting and pointing out that Jacob didn’t hear the voice of the living God at first until after he had departed from his father’s house and had begun the journey to the land of his mother’s nativity—on the one hand to escape the murderous intention of his brother, and on the other hand to find for himself a wife from among his mother’s brethren. Oh I can’t help but think about and consider this particular reality, and how there are times in our lives when we find ourselves moving on and moving forward—not because the voice of the Lord had spoken unto us and instructed us to do so, but because of various circumstances which have come upon us in this life—and we don’t encounter the voice of the Lord until after we have made the decision to depart from where we were and move forward into the Unkown. The only thing Jacob knew about where he was going was that it was the land of his mother’s nativity, and that it was where his mother’s brother lived and dwelt. Aside from knowing who was there and approximately where it was located, Jacob would engage on a journey much like his father Abraham would, for he would depart from the land of his nativity, the land of his brethren, and the land of his father’s house not truly knowing where he was going. It wouldn’t be until Jacob departed and engaged in the unknown that he would hear the voice of the Lord for the very first time. This is quite interesting, for according to Scripture Jacob would not hear the voice of the Lord again until the time had come for him to depart from Padan-Aran and from the land of his mother’s nativity, and the land of his wives’ nativity. Pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact that if Jacob had spent twenty years living and serving in the land of Padan-Aran and serving the father of Rachel and Leah, and he didn’t hear the voice of the living God again until the time had come for him to depart, then that means there was a twenty-year gap between the time when Jacob first heard the word of the living God spoken unto him, and the second time the voice of the living God had spoken unto him. Stop and consider that reality, for Jacob would hear the voice of the Lord the first time when the Lord promised to be with him, promised to bring him once more to the land of his nativity, and promised to bless all the nations of the earth through him and through his seed. Jacob would not hear the voice of the Lord again until twenty years later had passed and he had served his mother’s brother for his two wives, and even for the cattle and livestock which he had possessed. This is actually quite unique and astonishing when you think about and consider it, for Jacob would hear the voice of the living God for the first time in the place of departure, but he would not hear the voice of God again until he was in the place of returning.

HEARING IN THE PLACE OF DEPARTING! HEARING IN THE PLACE OF RETURNING! Perhaps one of the most interesting realities concerning the life of Jacob is that he would hear the voice of the Lord after departing from his father’s house and from the land of his nativity, and it would be this encounter which would guarantee the Lord’s protection and provision for Jacob wherever he would go, and how the Lord would bring him again unto the land from which he was departing. Jacob would hear the voice of the Lord for the very first time after he departed from his father’s house, however, it would be twenty years before he would hear the voice of the Lord speaking unto him again. What makes this so incredibly unique and intriguing is that Jacob would first hear the voice of the Lord in the place of departing, however, he would not hear the voice of the living God again until he was in the place of returning. The voice of the Lord would first speak to him promising him His presence, His protection and His provision, and after twenty years of protection and provision the Lord would once more speak unto him. This second time, however, would be different from the first time the Lord had spoken unto him, for it would be this second time the Lord would speak unto him and instruct him to depart from where he was and to return unto where he had come from. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the thirty-first chapter of the book of Genesis you will find that after Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban his mother’s brother and the father of his two wives had changed and shifted toward him—it was in that context and in that place the voice of the Lord would speak unto him. It’s actually quite unique and quite remarkable to think about and consider the fact that Jacob would notice the shift in Laban’s attitude, heart and countenanced toward him, and how it had shifted concerning him, and it was from that place of discomfort the voice of the Lord would speak unto him. In all reality, I would dare say that it was what was taking place in the natural that began setting the stage for Jacob’s departure from the land of his mother’s nativity, and the land of his wives’ nativity, as well as the voice of the Lord speaking unto him. It was in and from the place of the brother of his mother, and from the place of the father of his wives acting differently toward him that the voice of the Lord would speak unto him and instruct him to depart from that place and return home. Consider if you will what is written and found in the opening verses of the thirty-first chapter, for it is in these verses you will find the context—not only for Jacob returning home, but also Jacob being reunited with his estranged brother who two decades earlier sought to kill him. Consider if you will the words which are found within these verses, as they set the stage for what takes place in this section of Scripture:

“And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s: and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all his glory. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, and said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. If had twain thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall by the hire; then bare all the cattle rinstraked. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which mind eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: and I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are rinstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unot thee. I am the God of Bethel-el, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedest a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred” (Genesis 31:1-13).

What is so interesting and captivating about what we find in these chapters is that Jacob first heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto him in and from the place of departing as he had departed from the land of his nativity and from his father’s house. Jacob would hear the voice of the Lord again in the land of Padan-Aran after twenty years of serving the father of his wives, and the brother of his mother. It would be because of Laban’s actions toward Jacob that he would not only bless Jacob, but would also take, call and send Jacob forth from that place. In all reality, I can’t help but read the words which are found within these chapters and see incredibly powerful tones and shadows of the descendants of Jacob—whose name would later be changed to Israel—when they would enter into the land of Egypt as Jacob and his entire household would depart from the land of Canaan because of a famine that had overtaken the land. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider that Abraham journeyed down to the land of Egypt in his generation during times of famine, however, his son Isaac would be instructed and commanded not to go down unto the land of Egypt during the time of famine which would strike during his generation. There would be another famine that would strike the land during the days of Jacob, and he and his entire household would journey down into the land of Egypt to be cared for and looked after by his son Joseph who had become second in command in the land of Egypt. If and as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find that there are strong and undeniable tones and shadows of the descendants of Israel in the land of Egypt—not only when they entered into the land of Egypt for the first time and dwelt in the land of Goshen, but also during the tour-hundred and thirty years they would live as slaves in the land of Egypt. What’s more, is there would even be tones and shadows of the descendants of Jacob—whose name would be changed to Israel—as they departed from the land of Egypt, and even as they entered into the wilderness and would eventually come unto the Red Sea. I would dare say that if you take the time to truly read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find tremendous undercurrents, shadows and tones of the descendants of Jacob when they would enter, dwell and depart from the land of Egypt. I cannot help but read the words found within this passage of Scripture and be immediately and directly confronted with the reality of how similar the narrative of Jacob would be journeying into the land of Padan-Aaron, as well as his journey away from and out of that land, and what transpired when it was discovered that he had left.

If and as you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find it written how after the Lord had appeared unto Jacob and instructed him to depart from this land and return unto the land of his nativity and unto the land of his kindred, he removed himself, his wives, his children, and all he had gotten while living and dwelling in the land of Padan-Aran, thus departing and leaving the place of his mother’s nativity, and even the place of his wives nativity, and the land of his children’s nativity. It’s interesting and worth noting that when Esau fled Esau and departed from the land of Canaan, he did so with a staff, and yet when he departed and fled from Laban in the land of Padan-Aran he did so with a household and with many possessions. This is actually quite unique when you consider the fact that when the house of Israel had entered into the land of Egypt they entered pretty much with nothing save the fact that there were seventy in total who would journey from the land of Canaan down into the land of Egypt. Just as Jacob would enter into Padan-Aran and would come unto Laban with nothing, so also would his descendants enter into the land of Egypt and come unto Pharaoh with nothing. Essentially they would be starting all over—despite the fact that Joseph would care for, look after and watch over them during their time in the land of Egypt. What’s more, is that as you read the narrative of Jacob you will find that when he departed from Laban he would not only depart his house and presence with two bands and with great wealth and possessions, but he would also leave essentially having plundered Laban for his mistreatment of him over and during the twenty years he had dwelt in the land. Similarly, when the descendants of Jacob—the children of Israel—had left and departed from the land of Egypt they left with great wealth and great possessions, for they would effectively plunder the Egyptians. It might very well be said that when Jacob departed from the house of Laban he did so having plundered his cattle and livestock, as the Lord had watched and observed how Laban had treated him, and as a result had chosen to bless Jacob from out of that which belonged to Laban. Essentially the Lord took that which was Laban’s and gave it to Jacob, thus blessing Jacob with great wealth and prosperity because of what Laban had done unto him. Similarly, when the children of Israel departed from the land of Egypt they plundered the Egyptians and left with great wealth—almost as if the Lord was taking from the Egyptians and giving it unto the children of Israel as wages for their slavery, bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt. Just as the Lord had taken from Laban and given it unto Jacob, so also would the Lord take from Pharaoh and from the Egyptians and give it unto the descendants of Jacob whose name was changed to Israel. What’s more, is that you will find that after Jacob departed from the land of Padan-Aran and came unto mount Gilead, Laban pursued and overtook him there with his wives, his children and with all the Lord had given him. Similarly, Pharaoh with his horses and his chariots pursued the children of Israel in the wilderness as they encamped at the Red Sea. Oh, the more I read the account of Jacob in the land of Padan-Aran and the more I read the account of Jacob departing from the land of Padan-Aran the more I can’t help but come face to face with and encounter tones and shadows of his descendants who would be in the land of Egypt as slaves for four-hundred and thirty years, yet would ultimately depart after the Lord decimated the land, and allowed the children of Israel to plunder the Egyptians.

What makes these chapters as so incredibly intriguing and captivating is when you consider the fact that everything we find within them essentially hinge around two distinct realities within the life of Jacob. On the one hand you find Jacob being instructed to return unto the land of his kindred and unto the land of his father’s house, while on the other hand you find Jacob preparing to be reunited with and coming face to face with his brother Esau. It’s worth noting that Jacob’s journey unto the land and place of his father’s house and his kindred would require him to come face to face with and confront his brother who two decades earlier sought to kill and murder him. Pause for a moment and think about and consider this reality, for there can and there very well might be times in our lives when the voice of the Lord does in fact call us to return unto a certain and specific place, and to return unto that place we once left, however, that might require us to confront those things from out past which we at one point ran and fled from. I can’t help but be reminded of this principle being played out in the life of Hagar who had fled from her mistress Sarah after Sarah began treating her contemptuously following her conception by Abraham. Hagar would eventually feel the only option left for her was to flee from the house of Abraham and would ultimately flee into the wilderness—pregnant, tired, alone, frightened, confused, nervous, emotional and the like. It’s actually quite astounding and wonderful that the angel of the Lord would find Hagar there in the wilderness and would ask her where she had come from and where she would go. Eventually and ultimately the angel of the Lord would instruct Hagar to return unto the house of Abraham, and submit herself unto her mistress—submit herself unto that one who had mistreated her after she had conceived through union with Abraham. It was the Lord who instructed Hagar to return unto the household of Abraham and Sarah, and by doing so she would have to not only confront that which she was running from, but she would also have to submit herself unto that one who had treated her contemptuously and spitefully. When we think about and consider the life of Jacob we find that while it was in fact true the Lord had appeared unto him a second time and had spoken unto him concerning his return unto the land of his kindred, that journey home would require something of him which he perhaps was not at all ready or prepared for—facing and confronting his brother who two decades earlier wanted to put him to death. Oh, as we read and consider the account of Jacob fleeing Padan-Aran with his wives and with his children and all the Lord had given him, we must consider that it would not come without having to confront and come face to face with his brother, and that which he had fled and run from all those years earlier. Jacob would in fact make the journey to the land of his kindred and to the land of his father and his father’s house, however, that journey would require him to confront something he ran from two decades earlier.

WHEN RETURNING REQUIRES YOU TO CONFRONT WHAT YOU RAN FROM! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that while it was in fact true that Jacob was instructed by the Lord to return unto the land of his kindred and the land of his father’s house, it would require him to confront his brother whom he had fled from all those years earlier. It was true that the voice of the Lord had indeed and had in fact spoken unto Jacob, and it was true that the voice of the Lord instructed him to depart from Laban’s house, however, the Lord mentioned absolutely nothing about his need to confront and face his brother. We don’t find anything about the Lord speaking unto Jacob concerning his brother Esau and having to come face to face him, so we have to assume that Jacob realized that in his returning he would have to confront his brother whom he had ran and fled from all those years earlier. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for there are times within our lives when the voice of the Lord can and will speak unto us and instruct us to return to that place we have ran from, that place we have departed from, and that place we have fled from, and yet by doing so we are forced to confront that which we have run from however many years earlier. What’s more, is that as you read these chapters you will not only find that Jacob’s journey of returning would require him to confront and come face to face with his brother Esau, but it would also require him to be left alone by the Jabok River, and wrestling with one who would appear before him. Jacob would spend all night wrestling with the man whom he encountered, and when the man saw that he could not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hallow of his thighs and dislocated it. It would be in that encounter alone at the Jabok River where Jacob would not only wrestle with this Unkown figure, but he would also come face to face with who he was—namely, the reality that “I am Jacob.” When the one who wrestled with Jacob asked him his name, he responded by declaring that he was Jacob—something he didn’t do when his father asked him who he was. When asked by his father all those years earlier who he was, Jacob responded by declaring that he was Esau his eldest son. Now, here at the Jabok River when Jacob was left all alone, and when asked what his name was, he would respond by declaring that his name was Jacob. How absolutely wonderful and amazing it is to think about and consider the fact that it would be there at the river where Jacob would have to confront and come face to face with who he was, and from that place of confronting who he was he would experience change and transformation as his name would be changed from Jacob to Israel. This name change would be significant, for Jacob would be called Israel from that day forward, for he would be a prince with God as he contended and strove with men and prevailed.

IN RETURNING WE FACE CONFRONTATION AND TRANSFORMATION! It’s incredibly telling and revealing that when Jacob was preparing to return to the land of his kindred and to the land of his father’s house—not only would he have to confront and come face to face with his brother Esau, but he would also have to come face to face with his own identity and who he was. In fact, I would dare say that before Jacob could return unto the land and place of his father’s house and his kindred he would need to come face to face with the question he was asked before he departed in the first place. Before Jacob left his father’s house all those years earlier he was asked who he was—a question to which he responded by declaring that he was Esau his older brother. It would be that statement and that lie that would ultimately result in being blessed by his father, but would thrust him from his father’s house and from the land of his kindred and unto the land of his mother’s nativity. Now here Jacob was twenty years later having four wives, eleven sons, one daughter and great wealth and possessions and he was once more confronted with his identity and who he was. When asked his name this time, he answered by declaring that his name was Jacob. It was from that place of honesty that Jacob would experience his name being changed from Jacob to Israel, and would hear how he had contended and strove with men and prevailed. If we are going to understand the return of Jacob from the land of his mother’s nativity unto the land and place of his nativity, we must understand it is as not only requiring him to confront and come face to face with who he was, but also coming face to face with and confronting his brother. Not only would Jacob have to confront and come face to face with his nature and who he was, but he would also have to confront and come face to face with what he ran from in the first place. IN RETURNING…CONFRONTING WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE RAN FROM! I find it absolutely incredible that when we read the account of Jacob returning unto the land of his father’s house and the land of his kindred—not only would he have to confront that which he ran from all those years earlier, but he would also have to confront himself and who he was. With that being said, it’s worth noting and mentioning that when he finally stood before his brother Esau he would stand before him—not as Jacob, for that was no longer his name, but as Israel who was a prince of God. Of course Esau still knew him as Jacob and as his brother, but as Jacob finally prepared to meet his brother he would do so as Israel having come face to face with who he was. Now the final reality before he could return unto the land of his kindred would be confronting and coming face to face with his brother and that which he ran from all those years earlier. Perhaps the greatest question we must ask ourselves is not merely whether or not we are willing to return if and when the Lord speaks to us and calls us to do so, but also whether or not we are willing to confront our nature and our true selves in the presence of the living God. Are we willing to confront that which we ran from and that which we fled from—perhaps many years earlier? Jacob would return unto the land of his father’s house and his kindred, yet in the process of returning there would also be confrontation and transformation. By the time Jacob would return to his father’s house and unto his kindred—not only would he walk through confrontation with his brother, but he would also walk through the process of transformation as he would confront himself and his own nature. Oh that we would recognize and understand these two principles, for more often than not the path to returning leads us through confrontation—not only confrontation of ourselves, but also that which we have run from and perhaps even that which we have been avoiding—as well as transformation. OH that we would read these words and would truly understand the tremendous and wonderful work of the living God within our lives and how there are times when the path of returning will in fact carry with it the protection and presence of the living God, however, it will require us to walk through the process and path of confrontation and transformation.

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