Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Genesis 28:10-15

Jacob set off to find himself a wife, but in this encounter we read about today he found God first. This passage is a familiar Bible story and the subject of a chorus you may have learned in Sunday School as a child, “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder. . .” I love looking at it with fresh eyes!

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Gen 28:10-15)

Notice that Jacob stopped when he “reached a certain place.” According to Beth Moore, this word reached could be translated happened upon. There’s a randomness here - it could have been any old place. There was nothing special about it. She points out that often we think we’re in a random place, when actually we are there for a divinely scheduled appointment with God! Haven’t you found this to be true in your life? To me, it’s what makes the Christian life such an adventure! If you are constantly wondering, “Who are you putting in my path today, LORD?” or “Where are we going together today, LORD?” you will find there are many such encounters ahead of you!

I hate change! But I have learned over my last 35 years of walking with Christ that whenever someone is subtracted from my life (so many dear, dear friends have moved in and out of my immediate area) or whenever God has moved me to an uncomfortable place, it is always because He has a plan! I’ve learned that there is no such thing as “random!” Certainly, this place is about to become VERY special to Jacob.

As Jacob tucks in for the night he has a vey vivid dream in which the LORD speaks directly to him. Notice first how God introduces Himself to Jacob. He could have thundered, “I AM the Holy, Omnipotent, Sovereign, Almighty God, Creator of the Universe!” That would certainly have been awesome! Instead, He shows Himself as the God of personal relationship: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.” He’s saying, “I know your grandfather, Abraham, and your father, Isaac really well. We are friends!”

Then, He affirms the covenant He made with both Abraham and Isaac to Jacob (just circle all of the “you” messages in these verses). Verse 15 is especially precious: I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to the land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” In other words, “Not only was I with your grandfather and your father, I am always going to be with YOU, Jacob!” And this is BEFORE Jacob has undergone ANY interior life changing. He’s in the middle of the run for his life, after having deceived his father! God’s promises are NOT contingent upon who WE are and what WE have done, they are contingent upon who HE is and what HE has done!!!

I love this encounter - that God revealed Himself and His purpose to Jacob through a dream when Jacob was not at all looking for God! This is how God first called me, through an amazing dream that was so vivid that I sat bolt upright in bed afterwards, filled with an overwhelming awareness of how much God loved me. And THEN I began my search for the Truth! I often pray that God will use a dream to reach someone I love who is NOT walking with or even wanting to walk with Him. Does anyone you know and love come to your mind who needs this kind of encounter?

Tomorrow we will see Jacob’s reaction!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! I went to Church with a friend, desperately in need of prayer. After the service was over, the Pastor, who I had never met, came to me and prayed for me-the exact thing I have been praying for myself: "Please make a way where there is no way.". Later my friend texted him my phone number, and he texted me Genesis 28:10-15. Now I am getting a glimpse of what it means. Thank you. God is good!