7.14.2015 "God is for Me!"

Genesis 28:16-22 The Message

16-17 Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, “God is in this place—truly. And I didn’t even know it!” He was terrified. He whispered in awe, “Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God’s House. This is the Gate of Heaven.”

18-19 Jacob was up first thing in the morning. He took the stone he had used for his pillow and stood it up as a memorial pillar and poured oil over it. He christened the place Bethel (God’s House). The name of the town had been Luz until then.

20-22 Jacob vowed a vow: “If God stands by me and protects me on this journey on which I’m setting out, keeps me in food and clothing, and brings me back in one piece to my father’s house, this God will be my God. This stone that I have set up as a memorial pillar will mark this as a place where God lives. And everything you give me, I’ll return a tenth to you.”

We have been learning what a deceptive person Jacob, son of Isaac, was.  His brother, Esau, had been tricked out of his birthright by Jacob, and in the verses before these, is running for his life from his own brother.  He has a dream where God promises an awesome future for him and his descendents.  He really messed up, or in today’s vernacular, made some really bad choices.  I’m sure he felt the guilt and shame of deceiving his father and brother.

We all have made some really bad choices in our lives.  And if we know Jesus, we also know that we are forgiven by Jesus’ death and resurrection.  As Pastor’s message on Sunday reminded us, we have the luxury of “hindsight”.  In verses 16-22, Jacob, in “real time”, he wakes up, and we see his response.  He praises the Lord, and makes his own promises.  I imagine he was so relieved to hear the good news that he had a God, knew THE God, who is so gracious to forgive our “bad choices”, and redeems us.  He didn’t show up in a dream to lecture or fuss at Jacob, he gave him an awesome, undeserved promise instead.

Jacob responded with praise, thanksgiving, and promises of his own.  He promised to follow this gracious God, to worship Him, and to respond tangibly via a tithe.

I am so spoiled.  I’m not running for my life, AND I have the “hindsight” knowledge of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.  Jacob in these verses reminds me to praise, thank, and respond to God’s outrageous grace in a tangible way!

Father God, please send your Holy Spirit to remind me daily to thank and praise you for the grace you give me, so outrageously, every day!  Like Jacob, I declare that you are my God, and I’m so happy that you are FOR me, a sinner!  Amen.