Genesis 28:10-22

05 Jul

Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord , the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!” The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz. Then Jacob made this vow: “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will certainly be my God. And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.”
Genesis 28:10-2

Dear God, it is hard to make the decision to worship you as our father worships you. Well, that’s not quite right. Let me put it this way. At some point, each of us has to make a decision. In this case, Jacob had wanted his father’s blessing that came from you, the God his father served, but judging from the ultimatum Jacob laid out at the end of this passage, he really didn’t have any intention of serving you until this experience. You weren’t yet his God.

At some point, my grandfather had to make a decision about following you. He had to do it for himself. I wish I had asked him about his faith while he was alive. I went to church with him and my grandmother. I saw him sing in the choir. I went to a Bible study with both of them once when I was in college. I know they went to at least one retreat at a Christian retreat center. But I don’t know much about his personal relationship with you or his journey to being your child. I don’t know his testimony.

I do, however, know my dad’s testimony and how he had to wrestle with you before he submitted. And I know my own testimony. Mine wasn’t as much of a wrestling as a seeking. When someone would tel me about the fruits of the Spirit you offer through submitted relationship (along with the fire insurance from hell), I wanted it. I was willing to give up my will for yours. At least in the moment. It seems I continuously struggle to take back piece of self-indulgence that I’ve surrendered to you. But I’m still here, working out my faith day by day.

Now it’s my children’s turn to figure it out for themselves. They are grown. And I’ve seen them each respond to life and to you differently. I’m reminded of when my grandmother (father’s mother) used to tell me that she just wanted her three sons to be “fine Christian men.” I’m sure that’s what Abraham wanted for Isaac and Ishmael (well, maybe Godly since “Christian” didn’t exist yet). I’m sure that’s what Isaac wanted for Esau and Jacob. And now, this passage shows a step Jacob was taking in that journey.

Father, my grandfather has completed his journey. Help his sons on theirs. Help their children on theirs (including me on mine). And help the children of this next generation. Give visions. Beckon. Inspire. Convict. Whatever it takes. Do it for all of our sakes and for your glory.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on July 5, 2021 in Genesis


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