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And you shall say before the Lord your God: “My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.” (Deuteronomy 26:5)

As I mentioned in the previous devotion, some translations render this verse to say, “My father was a wandering Aramean.” The Hebrew word translated as “wandering” is from a root that means “straying” or even “lost.” However, it can also mean “to destroy” which has led some Jewish translators to render it to say, “An Aramean sought to destroy my father.” In this interpretation, the Aramean would be Laban who, as we know, did indeed pursue Jacob as he fled from Syria to Canaan. The Bible records that Laban would have killed Jacob had God not warned Laban to leave him alone.

This pursuit was a foreshadowing of what happened to the sons of Jacob when they left Egypt. Pharaoh pursued “Jacob” with the intent to kill all of them but was prevented from doing so when God intervened. Thus Laban’s attempt to restrain Jacob is forever linked with Pharaoh’s attempt to do the same. Furthermore, it is my view that both of these examples establishes a pattern for a future “restrainer,” the one we call the Antichrist. Interestingly, Isaiah refers to this man as the Assyrian and prophesies that he will rise up at the end of days, and as it was with Egypt, attempt to restrain God’s people.

“The remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. . . . O my people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. He shall strike you with a rod and lift up his staff against you, in the manner of Egypt. … But it shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.” – Isaiah 10:21, 24, 27

The point is this: in every generation God raises up a person or a people to carry out His will. In response, the Adversary raises up people to resist and restrain the work of God with the objective of destroying God’s purpose. And while it is true that the enemy is permitted a degree of success, in every situation God intervenes to protect His people from the  “restrainer.” It was true then and it is true now. Perhaps you feel as if the Adversary is penning you in and keeping you from moving forward; if so, remember that God has never allowed those who are pursuing Him to be overtaken by their enemies. Press on, persevere and, in God’s timing, you will overcome and offer the gifts of thanksgiving to your Creator.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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