"Clothes Make the Man of God,"

Based on "The Gate of Heaven,"

by George Evans

A Note: "Clothes make the man," is a common saying that has been around for many years, perhaps generations. Since first impressions matter very much, in applying for employment, in finding a mate, and so on, science has developed its techniques in the modern world and proven it out that this saying has a lot of truth in it. It seems, however, too worldly an aphorism to be Biblical--right? Wrong. It is Biblical. We find this holds true in the Bible first of all, in the very first book, Genesis, in fact. Turn to Genesis and read the account of Jacob and his brother Esau, but particular the portions that detail the struggles of Jacob to gain the birthright, the patriarchal blessing, God's blessing for his life, the wife he loved, and later reconciliation with Esau, Gen. 25:24 on through 33.

These epic, seemingly unattainable events and objectives begin with the birth of the twins, Jacob and Esau, and their continued struggle for first position (though seemingly lost to Jacob when he was born second after Esau), and Jacob's ultimate victory, his winning the blessing of Isaac their father, largely won for him a change of clothes! He had already gotten the birthright by enticing his brother to sell it to him, but without the blessing of his patriarch and father, it wouldn't have meant much, for the power and authority of God was in the blessing, and Jacob sensed and knew that. But he tricked his father into giving him the blessing, not to Esau who had it coming!

This "clothes make the man" truth continued in his generational line, too, as we know when he awarded a coat of many colors to his son Joseph, who was nowhere near the top of the list for special honors or supremacy over his many older brothers. Joseph from that day on was a marked man, fatally marked not only as his father's beloved and favorite son, a sign he would be chosen to lead the clan when Jacob passed away, but also marked for trial and suffering and testings and, finally, with God's intervention, victory.

But Jacob is the man that needs to be clothed now, and Joseph is still just a thought in God's mind. George Evans article shows what a special man Jacob was. But in what way or ways? Wasn't he also a schemer and a sinner? What made God pick this man over his brother, who had the birthright at birth, and also the right to his father's finest blessing when the time came for it to be despensed and the rule of the clan turned over to him.--Ed.

The life of Jacob is a wonderful study of the faithfulness of God. Jacob Jacob began as a usurper, grasping and scheming. Then,t hrough the dealings of God, he wound up becoming a prince, a soldier of God. His name, Jacob, means "supplanter," or "one that takes hold by the heel." The name "Israel" means "prince" or "soldier of God."

[Now there is much made usually of Jacob's meaner qualities, which did not portray him in a noble light, such as his "grasping and scheming" characteristics. Was he really such a low character? Not in the sense we would ordinarily judge him! God put divine destiny into Jacob to lead the people of Israel, who would be called by his new name. They were not Jacobites, but "Israelites." God Almighty himself was pleased to be known as and called "The Holy One of Israel" and also called himself, "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." You cannot achieve higher status, or princedom, in the eyes of God than that, for God to call himself by YOUR NAME! God called himself by the name he gave to Jacob! And if the baby Jacob struggled even in the womb with his twin brother Esau, who was biologically a twin but in every way other an opposite and even an opponent or adversary to him, this struggle did not cease when Jacob lost at birth, when Esau exited the womb of Rebecca first ahead of him. We see this in how Jacob's little hand was found tightly clutching the heel of his brother Esau, and it was noted then and later recorded in eternal scripture. Jacob, proven by this last desperate act to be first born, whether conscious or not, was not a quitter! He was either trying to pinch it and cause real pain, or pull his brother back or use him to shoot ahead of him! He failed, temporarily, Esau was born first and was accorded all the honors of being first-born initially, but he won total victory later on in manhood. His mother too, sensed the son's destiny was greater than her first son's, and Jacob was her favorite, not Esau. They had a big problem, though, what to do about Father Isaac, who naturally favored Esau, who was not only first-born but knew how to please his father with specially roasted and sauced wild vennison that he dearly loved. Esau was a man of the outdoors, rough and ready, hairy and muscular, a man's man. Jacob was more a gentle homebody of a man, accustomed to the settled, orderly home life of the tents, not particularly good at hunting and roughing it in the open. Yet in this gentle man was a destiny that he could not deny. His mother could not deny it either and risked everything to help him secure it. Now back to George Evans.--Ed.]

"And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not...This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Gen. 28:P 16, 17).

Deuteronomy 32:9, 10 is a description of the life of Jacob. "For the Lord's portion is His people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye."

God found Jacob in the wilderness. The phrase "led him" in Hebrew means "surrounded him." God surrounded Jacob by His presence. Jacob was called by God for His service, and he went from "supplanter" to "soldier." Psalm 25:14 says that God will show us His covenant. Jacob received a revelation. It became a ministry. "Without a vision the people perish."


[This is a very important question! The answer is not easy. It is a mystery too, though George Evans gives the usual explanations for God loving Jacob over Esau. I have a friend who takes Esau's side or at least is sympathetic to him, whereas I am not at all sympathetic. But I have to wonder why God chose Jacob over Esau. His qualities did not make him all that outstanding, not at the onset. Esau was bad, but Jacob was...well, a rough diamond, to say the least! If anything, he must have seem substandard as a son of Isaac at the time, when contrasted with his more expressive and vigorous and accomplished and probably popular brother. Is it possible that Rebecca's love for Jacob was given him because he was so dependent onher, and that he needed her support very much, that he was by nature weaker in regard to his stronger brother? Did he have the drive and self-assurance Esau had, or did he rather lack them, running to the tents when things got too tempestuous and competitive among the flocks and the shepherds? If not exactly a sissy and momma's boy, Jacob was not a man's man, like Esau definitely was. But let George Evans set the stage for our later inquiry.--Ed.] Jacob is a good example for us, because he was a mixture of both bad and good. The good part reached for God; the bad part was his motive on how to get there. But God began to bless him as he was. His mother had a prophecy that her eldest son was going to serve her youngest, so she began to push the younger boy whom she loved best. It seemed that the father favored Esau and the mother favored Jacob. Later we read that even God loved Jacob and hated Esau (Rom. 9:13). The mother, because of her love and desire, began to push Jacob, and he obeyed his mother. Thus the two began to deceive the father, Isaac.

Why did God say He loved Jacob and hated Esau? It wasn't because of the way they were when they were born; it was the unfolding of their lifestyle. Esau was a man of the field, a man of the world, a cunning hunter. No doubt his father was really pleased with him, but Esau lacked spiritual depth. Esau was more of a sportsman and athlete. Jacob was more of a homebody, dwelling in tents. The King James version calls him a "quiet man." Other translations call him "a plain man." But there was something in him that hungered for God. You may not be beautiful nor have great athletic ability, but if you have a deep hunger for God, you can be blessed of God. God looks not upon the outward appearance, He looks upon the heart.

There are three significant facts about Esau:

1. Esau despised his birthright (Gen. 25:34). When he came home one day a little hungry, his brother Jacob made a proposition, "Sell your birthright, and I'll fix you a meal." Esau said, "All right." He did not value his birthright, but let it go for one morsel of meat.

2. Esau's god was hunting, the great outdoors, and, as a result, he did not value the things of God.

3. He was a profane person. In the King James version a "profane" person meant an "irreverent" person--one having contempt for that which is spiritual. Esau despised the blessings of God, saying in effect, "You can have it all. It doesn't mean that much to me."

[Now did George Evans answer satisfactorily or convincingly his own questions, as to why God loved Jacob over Esau? All of these things might disqualify most Christians, would they not? They might disqualify you and me too, if we can be honest about ourselves. And did Jacob really hunger after God and the spiritual life as much as George Evans seems to think? Where is the evidence of that? Perhaps we are assuming too much here if we follow George Evans, for there seems little evidence or none at all that Jacob was all that spiritual vis a vis his carnal, fleshly, self-centered brother. What is clear, what is fact, is that Esau had already grossly offended his parents by certain choices of marriage and lifestyle that ran completely counter to their express wishes and spiritual beliefs! How? In Chapter 66, 34-35: "And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. Which was a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah."

There it is! The big black mark that stained Esau's life. Esau had deliberately thrown dirt in his parents' face and boldly defied them; he had sinned greviously against his parents and his father's God and his faith by taking heathen, idol-worshipping women into the family circle, marrying them and causing them to be a continual thorn of contention in the Hebrew household. Water and oil do not mix. He had mixed the world with the spiritual, and they cannot mix peaceably, they can only rub like abrasive materials and only produce hot strife or fire and sparks as they tumble together. So he made his parents' peaceful home a house of strife, all for his own carnal desires. He showed clearly he held his parent's God and their sanctified home in contempt, and cared nothing for the pure line of Abraham, mixing the impure blood of the hell-bent peoples of the land with the Abrahamic line's bloodline when he married and had children by them. This was a most grave sin, perhaps the worst you could commit in that time, and in that context of a covenanted people of God. Esau showed he cared nothing for the gulf, the absolute distinctions between Hebrew and Canaanite, between Yahweh-worshiper and idol-worshiper, between the unholy and the holy. No wonder his mother forsook Esau's side, though he was First-Born of her womb, to join herself to Jacob the Second-born, who had not committed this heinous sin against them and God, and whom she knew in her heart would not do even think of doing such a thing. Thus: it was not so much Jacob's demonstrated goodness (for there is little sign of that), but the things he refused to do, as opposed to Esau's own glaring deeds of impiety toward God and disrespect and contempt of his own parents and their wishes and beliefs for their family. But back to George Evans.--Ed.]


Jacob was just the opposite of Esau. He valued the blessings of the Lord so much that he maneuvered Esau into selling his birthright. Jabez, Jacob's name in the Hebrew, means "sorrowful." His mother gave him a bad name, but Jacob rose above his name. Maybe your parents gave you a bad start in life--divorce, poverty, or some other sort of conflict. It doesn't matter. You can lay that aside and say, "Lord, you are my God. You are the one."

Jacob was obedient to his mother and father. You may say, "That has nothing to do with the blessing of the Lord." But obedience to your parents is the beginning of a lifestyle. I don't believe you should obey them forever. If they go a wicked way, you ought to go God's way. If you are mature enough to serve the Lord, I'd say to serve the Lord. Honor your parents for a season, but if they don't go God's way, you'd better take your stand for the Lord.

[Now here is the part where clothes make the man of God!--Ed.]

Jacob was obedient to his mother when she told him to put his brother's clothing on and deceive his father.

[Stop. Now I have heard a good message I thought had excellent points on Isaac's sorry senescence and decline in his later years, which explained that this was a dysfunctional household. Who could deny it was a mess, a cauldron of competing wills and agendas? Poor old, blind and nearly deaf Isaac was not spiritually on top of things, he had grown dull of hearing, and was not hearing from the Lord nor seeking him. Neither was Rebecca his "faithful" spouse. Sin reigned, strife reigned, people were scheming and plotting, and trying to get their way by deceit. Isaac's household was a pit of vipers having at each other. To deceive Isaac was clearly wrong, it was sin, but look how later God turned it to good anyway! That does not absolve Rebecca and her son Jacob of the wrongness of what they did. The end does not justify the means! But for them it did! Yet God is holy. He had not told them to do this sin. If they had turned truly to him in their distress, He could have done something for them, without their having to sin against Isaac and their own consciences. They need not have defrauded Esau to gain their objective. Almighty God was totally ignored by the house of Isaac, it is clear. He stood ready to intervene. Yet no one called on Him! No one! They all did what was right or opportune in their own eyes, did they not? And it caused even more trouble, and could have precipitated Jacob's own murder by his brother in retaliation. Was this God's plan? Certainly, not. Scriptures says, and Christ affirmed, that God tempts no man. Back to Evans.--Ed.] In Genesis 28:1-4, Jacob's father instructed him and blessed him, Jacob was obedient. I like his father, because he didn't hold Jacob's deceitfulness against him. God the Father does not hold things against you. There is forgiveness with God. Isaac called Jacob and blessed him. Then he charged Jacob and gave him a prophecy and direction for his life. I would have felt like holding back some of the blessing because of what Jacob had done, but God is the God of forgiveness. We can confess our sins, and He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

You need to believe in God as the God of a fresh start, the God of new beginnings. Isaac gave Jacob a new beginning. He sent Jacob away, and Jacob went in obedience to his father. Compare him with Esau, "Esau, seeing the daughters of Canaan, pleased not Isaac his father. Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife. (Gen. 28: 8,9). [I have heard that this was an attempt by the remorseful, dispossessed son to regain atleast a portion of his father's favor by marrying someone from within the Abrahamic line, yet the scripture says this was not okay, it was still not pleasing to Isaac. Maybe it was an attempt, but it was characteristically ill-judged. It fell flat. Mahalath was not Hebrew, she was Ishmaelite, which meant she was half-Egyptian, born of a slave girl and Abraham, and she was probably an idol-worshiper to boot. It was at best a half-hearted attempt, for he showed he didn't want to go all the way and marry (though he already had wives and hardly needed another) a pure-blood, holy Hebrew maiden instead of a heathen.--Ed.]

In Genesis 28:10:16, Jacob had a visitation from God. God will meet you anywhere. He will meet you in the desert, the city, aboard ship, in chuch--wherever you call upon the Name of the Lord. Moses met God in the palace. He also met God in the desert in the burning bush. The Apostle Paul met the Lord on the Damascus Road. He met God in a home on a street called "Straight". Paul also met the Lord at sea and in the synagogue. You can meet God wherever you reach for Him. Jonah met God in the belly of a whale. It's not the geographical condition--it's the heart condition.


God came to Jacob in a dream. God often uses dreams. Solomon, Joseph, and the Apostle Paul had dreams. Those men did not have all the written Word we have, so God sometimes sovereignly came and spoke to them. I am not against dreams today, but we have so much of the written Word about the will of God, it's not so necessary to have a dream. We don't have to wait for a dream to know the will of God. There are seven ways to determine God's will:

1. Consecration

If you are praying and seeking God, He can begin to give you a revelation of His will. Praying and seeking God is the first way to finding the will of God.

2. The Written Word of God

A young girl comes and says, "I'm going with a boy, and he goes to church occasionally. He's not saved, but I love him and want to marry him. Would you pray with me that I might know the will of God?" We don't have to pray about that. We already have the written Word of God, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers..." (II Cor. 6: 14).

3. The Pastor

A fellow came to me and said, "I'm thinking of buying myself an expensive German car as an investment." I advised him not to buy that car. He bought it anyway, and it didn't run. He had trouble getting parts and trouble selling it. His dream of making money turned out to be a fiasco. The pastor can sometimes save you grief. Go to your pastor before you make a major decision.

4. Presbytery

A group of ministers could give you a word of direction by the laying on of hands in prophecy. Or you could receive a prophetic word somewhere along the line. Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Spirit. The primary purpose of prophecy is to exhort, comfort and edify. But we can't rule out the fact that prophecy could also give a word of direction.

5. An Inner Leading

God can move upon your heart and give you an inner leading.

6. The Closed Door

Suppose God has called you to go to Afghanistan, but the door is closed. You want to go anyway. You hire a small plane, fly over the border, and jump out with your parachute and Bible. As you come floating down a machine gun rivets your body, and you hit the ground like a sack of flour. They bury you there in the sand. That was a closed door! You just forced the issue.

[Now here is where it is clear that Jacob and Rebecca forced the issue, when they plotted, and then carried out their plot, to deceive Jacob and get the blessing he had reserved for Esau the First-born. The result was near catastrophe--Jacob's assassination at the hands of a furious, defrauded Esau. But God intervened, by grace and mercy, and saved the erring Jacob despite his sin and plot and deception of his father.--Ed.]

7. The Open Door

God can open a door that no man can shut (Rev. 3:8). Sometimes people want an open door when they are not ready. You may be anxious to preach, but if God opened a door would you preach? Maybe you're not ready to have that open door.


God opened a door for our hero, Jacob, and it began by a revelation of Almighty God. Though Jacob had done nothing to initiate the visitation, he was hungry for God, and the Scripture says, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8) {Yet we still have no scripture or incident given us by George Evans that shows Jacob's hunger for God, we hear of no prayer to God either. This visitation, this epiphany, was sheer grace and mercy on God's part in rescuing Jacob and lifting him up to the heavenlies, before sending him on his way to Laban his uncle with his divine blessing and promise of protection.--Ed.]

"They who do hunger and thirst after righteousness...shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6). There needs to be a longing after God, and in the hour when you reach out for Him with all your heart, He will be found.

[Surely, this is true, for the scripture says it is true. We know that in Jacob's case it was not evidenced, yet God had mercy on him, did He not, and blessed him abundantly. Certainly, Jacob was desperate, alone, afraid, and feeling he might not make it to Haran and safety in Laban's house and camp. And without God's intervention, he might well have not made it. Wild animals, or Esau's men sent after him, not to mention bandits and cutthroats in the wilderness, might have pounced on him at any time, or a howling desert storm misled him into wastes where he might have died of thirst-- surely, Jacob knew it was God who saved him, that night at Bethel when God appeared on the ladder reaching down from heaven to earth, the same Ladder which Scripture in the NT says is Christ Himself.--Ed.]

Jacob was 40 years old when God found him in the waste howling wilderness and began to minister to him. I visualize Jacob having to say goodbye to his mother and father, and they were kind of pushing him out the door. He wasn't just going down the street to find a wife. They lived in Beersheba, and he was going to Haran, 500 miles away. The beginning of the journey was through a wilderness. Jacob was going to take a wife, and he was not even a good candidate. He didn't know God, he had no finances, and his brother had a mark on him to murder him. In his loneliness, discouragement and despair, he cried, "What is going to happen to my life?" He fell into a tired, frustrated, defeated sleep.

God knows when it's time to come to you. God came to me when I was aboard an aircraft carrier, wondering if I was going to get a torpedo on the flight deck and go out of this world not knowing Jesus. And it was during that loneliness, emptiness and despair that I was a candidate for the blessing of God.

Jacob didn't really have much to offer at that point. He was deceitful, dishonest, running from home, and he seemed completely out of touch with God. But God had designs on Jacob. Prophecies had gone out over him. God had a purpose for Jacob's life, and he moved Jacob into a place where He could begin to deal with him. It was some 20 years later that God called this man "a prince of God."

God met this man, Jacob, when Jacob was confused. He was almost envious of his brother, Esau, who seemed to have it all together. Esau had the favor of his father, several wives and prosperity. But God spoke to Jacob saying, "...The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed" (Gen. 28:13) This was the "gate of heaven." God was in that place, and Jacob too wood and put it on the stove. He said, "This is Bethel, the house of God." The place was originally named "Luz," meaning "a turning point." Jacob became a believer. These are the expectations he had from the Lord: Not only will He keep me, but I will never be hungry, and He will clothe me. I'll never worry, because God will provide for me." [Now before this Jacob had clothed himself with his own clothes, and stolen ones too! He had put on the clothes of deceit and trickery and man's striving for gain at the expense of his brother, clothes used to deceive even his own father to seize the blessing intended for Esau, not him. But now that wardrobe had gone thread-bare, and even been stripped, leaving him naked in the wilderness, exposed to peril on all sides. He was at his wit's end. But a place called "a turning place," God intercepted Jacob. Everything changed, God promised to clothe Jacob's nakedness--for he was now stripped of all his cocky self-assurance in that wilderness of his soul--and not only that, he would later put a princely robe on him, we will see.--Ed.]

A passive, indifferent attitude does not bring to pass the miracle you need. But if you have THIS attitude, "Lord, you have spoken to me through your Word. Give unto me according to Your Word. Let this thing come to pass in my life. Let the Holy Ghost overshadow me. All those things spoken by You, I bathe with prayer. I claim Your Word to work in my life!" That's the kind of attitude that produces blessings and involvement.--George Evans, Excerpts taken from his message given at Christ for the Nations Institute, June 1984.

Conclusion: Do clothes make the man of God? From the account of Jacob, we see the answer. Yes! Oh, yes! The clothes of man will all pass away, no matter how splendid or clever they are, particularly if they are clothes of selfish opportunism and deceit, such as Jacob's mother clothed him with in order to deceive Isaac. But God's clothes, they cannot be stolen or lost, nor will they ever wear thin and need to be replaced. God offers the same wardrobe today to every son and daughter, his many-colored coat of favor and blessing. Clothes were promised Jacob, and he received both divine clothes along with his earthly garments, but the divine clothes were spiritual power and authority and blessing and prosperity and favor and blessings he wore as a prince of God, and his son Joseph came to wear them too in his time, after his older brother Reuben, the First-born, sinned against his father Jacob and was passed over.

Let us then strive to be clothed by God, beloved, clothed with his grace and mercy, and then forever with his boundless favor and love and blessing. e need not follow Jacob's example at the first, and scheme and plot and steal clothes that we will ultimately lose, but we can have clothes that God himself gives us--and enjoy the favor and blessings of a God-clothed man.--Ed.

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