Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2018.08.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 28:10-22

Questions for Littles: What did Jacob dream (v10-12)? What were ascending and descending upon him? Who stood above him in v13? What did He promise to give to Jacob? What did He promise about his descendants in v14? And who would be blessed through them? What else does the Lord promise in v15? How does Jacob feel, when he wakes up (v17)? What does he think that place is? What does he do in v18, and what does he call the place in v19? What does Jacob vow in v21? And what does he promise in v22?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, Jacob is running for his life from Esau. The map tells us that he has gone about 60 miles by the time he stops. That would be a 15 hour day of 15 minute miles!

No wonder he is so tired that he can sleep with a rock for a pillow! But, he is about to get even more scared. He has a vision of angels ascending and descending upon him by means of some kind of ladder, and even of a manifestation of the Lord right at his head.

The rest of the interaction is rather odd. The Lord makes glorious covenant promises of the land (v13), the people (14a), salvation (14b), and even His personal presence (v15). But, when Jacob wakes up, he seems not to be taking God at His Word. He makes his vow in a “if” “then” sort of format.

As we read it, we want to believe that he’s implying that God will surely keep the promises, but what we observe of Jacob in the coming chapters doesn’t really encourage us to think that he’s approaching this from a position of faith. In fact, it seems like he is bargaining with God.

We must never do that. God doesn’t need anything from us at all. Rather, He generously invites us into relationship with Him. It is a blessing to us to have God as our God. It is a blessing to us to be able to give Him a tithe of everything. We don’t do these things as some sort of quid-pro-quo response to if God keeps up “His end of the bargain.”

Jacob definitely is not the hero here. The Lord is. He makes this glorious promises that belong to all Israel. But He especially makes them to those who belong to the true Israel—our Lord Jesus Christ!
What are the Lord’s promises to you in Jesus? How are you privileged to respond?
Suggested songs: ARP89C “Behold, How Blessed the People Are” or TPH245 “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

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