Last week, I started a character study. I’m continuing with Jacob as he is a fascinating one. The Bible has a wonderful way of presenting all the heroes of the faith—flaws and all. Jacob is, in many ways, the father of Israel (his sons are the heads of the 12 tribes).
Put yourself in Jacob’s shoes (Genesis 28.) He is most likely exhausted from 4-5 days of travel: alone, away from family for the first time. Esau’s death threat ringing in his ears, facing an uncertain future in a foreign land. He desperately needs to be assured of God’s presence and grace – and that is exactly what he gets. Dreaming of a ladder into heaven, Jacob receives a simple reminder that God is present. He is not an aloof God, but one who is involved with His creation.
For the first time, Jacob listens to God. God promises that even with Jacob’s history of deceit, the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant belonged to him. To top it off, God promises protection and a safe return home. Jacob’s response? In a word, WORSHIP. Jacob sets up a memorial stone and names the place Bethel (House of God): committing himself to God and vowing if God would do as He promised, Jacob would enter a covenant with Him. I think this is not a bargaining session. “If” could also be translated, “since.” Since God promises these things, Jacob is devoted to Him. With faith starting right here in Bethel, Abraham and Isaac’s God is now Jacob’s God. Faith is a personal reality.
Some of my greatest experiences with God are when I am at my lowest point. Think back to what God has done for you. Thank Him for His grace, His presence, His assurance in your life. And remember, He is there with you with whatever you face today.