Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Saturday, June 20, 2020

2020.06.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 28:10–22

Questions from the Scripture text: From where did Jacob go toward where (Genesis 28:10)? What time of day was it in Genesis 28:11? And what did he do? What did he see set on earth and reaching to heaven in Genesis 28:12? Who stood above Jacob in Genesis 28:13? How did He identify Himself? What did He promise to give to Jacob? What would God do to Jacob’s descendants (Genesis 28:14a)? What will God do through Jacob’s Descendant (verse 14b)? What personal promise does God make, in conjunction with these other promises (Genesis 28:15)? How long does God say that He will be with him? How long will this end up actually taking? What does Jacob say when he wakes up (Genesis 28:16)? What impact does this have upon him (Genesis 28:17)? What does he now do with his “pillow stone” (Genesis 28:18)? And what does he call the place (Genesis 28:19)? What does he vow to do (Genesis 28:21b)? Based upon the certainty that God will do what (Genesis 28:20-21)? What does he propose as the essential elements of his religion (Genesis 28:22)?
God mercifully goes with us through the paths of believers’ lives because He has determined from before time began that we would be His, and that He would be ours, in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Depending on where by Beersheba was his starting point, Jacob went approximately 60 miles to arrive at Bethel. Even with nothing but his staff (cf. Genesis 28:10), that’s a long way to go. No wonder he does ok with a stone for his pillow!

Here he is in extreme need, perhaps having gone that far that quickly because he is worried that Esau is following hot on his trail, but he soon realizes that there is a greater danger from someone that he can never outrun: God Himself.

So much unnecessary worrying is done, so much thoughtless and sinful living done, because we forget that we are always before God’s face.

It was silly of Jacob to think that the place itself was special. Although there would later be a school of prophets at Bethel, it would also be a place of much manmade religion, with one of Jeroboam’s calves being set up there. We have no indication from God that He accepted the stone in Genesis 28:22 as “His house.”

Surely, one of the great points that the Holy Spirit makes here is that we are always before the face of God. Indeed, notice that the first angels mentioned in Genesis 28:12 are the ones who are ascending, as if coming off of duty from tracking with Jacob all day long. There is an entire unseen world of God’s presence and power, of which we are ordinarily ignorant.

And Christ is right at the heart of it. In John 1:51, Jesus affirms to Philip that the glorious spiritual realm that he cannot see intersects with our everyday reality precisely in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know that the promises in Genesis 28:13-15 are promises that have their “yes” and “amen” in the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is in Jesus Christ that the Lord never leaves us or forsakes us—for, He will not have finished doing what He spoke to Jacob until all the ransomed host are perfectly happy and perfectly holy in a New Heavens and New Earth where righteousness dwell. And it is in the Lord Jesus that the Lord Jesus is with us not only in these massive, eternal ways but also in the every day things like bringing us back home after a long journey (verse 15), and giving us food and clothing (Genesis 28:20).

So, let us not make ignorant and man-devised vows like Jacob does. But rather, trusting that God is with us for eternal and earthly blessing in the Lord Jesus, let us worship and serve Him in the ways that He has commanded in the Lord Jesus!
In what situation in your life right now, do you most need to be remembering that you are before the face of God, and to be clinging to and serving God in our Lord Jesus Christ?
Suggested songs: ARP181 “God Our Only Good” or TPH446 “Be Thou My Vision”

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