Genesis 28:10-22 (NRSV)
Jacob left Beer sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it!" And he was afraid, and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house; and of all that you give me I will surely give one tenth to you."
It occurs to me that Jacob said something very interesting. He said, IF GOD will be with me..."
As human beings, I think we often start our sentences in this way. IF GOD does this, I will do that. IF GOD keeps his promise, then I will keep mine. IF GOD does what I've asked, then I will obey...
It's so sad that our worship, adoration, and generousity toward God is contingent upon so many things...
Jacob is revered as a great man of our faith, and yet even he struggled with his faith and his belief that God would indeed keep God's promises.
Verses prior to Jacob's "IF GOD," God had said, "Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
Those were strong words of affirmation; yet Jacob still said, "IF GOD."
Today, I want to encourage us to check ourselves for a Jacob spirit. Wherever there may be disbelief in our hearts, let us affirm our faith in the God who loves us so much that He gave his Son to die on the cross to save us from our sin and gift us with eternal life.
Since God loves us this much, we know that GOD WILL do what He said he will do. He will love us. He will deliver us. He will support us. He will provide for us. He will never leave us. He has already saved us!
Let's put all of our faith in our God as we pray:
Oh God, thank you that you are a God who keeps your promises! Please help me to steadfastly believe that you are always working things out for my good. Please help me to be aware of your presence with me, everywhere that I go. Please help me to be patient as I wait for you. And may I always be faithful to share the good news that you love, gave, and save! I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaLta