INTRODUCTION. Today’s Special: “The Smith’s 2 Sons”
Mr. and Mrs. Smith had two sons. One was named Mind Your Own Business & the other was named Trouble. One day the two boys decided to play hide and seek. Trouble hid while Mind Your Own Business counted to one hundred. Mind Your Own Business began looking for his brother behind garbage cans and bushes. Then he started looking in and under cars until a police man approached him and asked, “What are you doing?” “Playing a game,” the boy replied. “What is your name?” the officer questioned. “Mind Your Own Business.” Furious the policeman inquired, “Are you looking for trouble?!” The boy replied, “Why, yes I am!”
Today, we continue with our theme of faith. Last week we looked at Luke 18:8b, “…when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”. Our text in Genesis 28 will zero in on the phrase, “then the Lord shall be my God,” taken from Genesis 28:21b. What could possibly bring Jacob to a point in his life where he makes such a declaration? What could possibly bring YOU to such a point in your life? Let’s examine Jacob’s path to genuine Biblical faith.
First, Jacob was born into the “family blessing”, originally given to Abraham by the Lord, and then passed down by Isaac to his son, Jacob, as seen in Genesis 28:27-29, which blessing includes:
* The dew of heaven
* The fatness of the earth
* Plenty of grain and wine
* Peoples will serve him
* Nations will bow down to him
* He will be master over his brethren
* Those who curse him will be cursed,
and those who bless him will be blessed!
Sounds pretty good! The Lord had passed down to Jacob, through his father Isaac, the Abrahamic covenant – the “family blessing”! “Wow” is not quite sufficient, is it? All of eternity would revolve around Jacob and his descendants.
Like our “Today’s Special” above, Mr. and Mrs. Abraham ALSO had two children, Jacob and Esau. Jacob’s brother Esau was highly jealous. He worded so softly that he thought nobody could hear, [So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing] “…the days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” (27:41).
Esau didn’t think anyone heard, but their mother Rebekah providentially heard! Ah! Now we are getting a taste of God’s hand upon a life that He hungers will be a life of faith in Him. Through Rebekah’s influence, Isaac sent Jacob to go the house of Laban, Rebekah’s brother. This seems like an ORDINARY step in Jacob’s life, doesn’t it? Yet THAT’S THE KEY TO THE WALK OF FAITH! Does not our Heavenly Father use those “simple steps” to bring about…TRUST IN HIM?!!! Little could any human involved in this scenario have known that this “simple step” would take up the next twenty years of Jacob’s life!
And then what does Isaac do? He gives Jacob “The Blessing”! Here are the first parts of it:
““May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may be an assembly of peoples; and give you the blessing of
Abraham…”. (Genesis 28:3-4a)
God is about to lead His child, Jacob. God loves to lead! Makes you want to SING, doesn’t it? Listen to the wonderful words of Jason Saetveit and Richard Hall:
In shady, green pastures so rich and so sweet
God leads His dear children along
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet
God leads His dear children along
Some through the water, some through the flood
Some through the fire, but all through the blood
And some through great sorrow, but God gives the song
In the night season and all the day long
Now here comes the fun part! The Eternal God enters into the ordinary in order to accomplish His eternal purposes in Jacob’s life! Jacob travels (ORDINARY!). He travels by the sun – when the sun goes down, he stops (v. 11) (ORDINARY!). He needs a pillow (ORDINARY!) and uses a stone for a pillow. And he has a dream (ORDINARY!). He sees a ladder (ORDINARY!), then the fun part starts!
The ladder “reaches to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” (Verse 12b). Not so ordinary! Yet it SHOULD BE in every believer’s life. Jacob is watching true communion with the Lord right before his very eyes! The angels knew that in order to serve God well, they have to be in regular contact with Him. Thus “Jacob’s Ladder” is a ladder of prayer! Is your ladder a ladder of prayer in your life? Do you maintain a constant communion, a rich fellowship with the living and true God?
Then God Himself speaks, and Jacob hears what the journey of his life will now entail:
“And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants…” (verse 13). He continues to confer upon Jacob all the fruit of the Abrahamic Covenant. Note God’s personal promise to Jacob:
“I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” (Verse 15b). This same promise is repeated throughout the Scriptures, and in Hebrews 13:5 we have the New Testament promise to God’s present day children:
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
Let’s wrap this up with Jacob himself! Jacob calls this amazing place “Bethel”, from the Hebrew “house of God.” (Verse 19). From that moment on, whenever Jacob got into trouble, where did he turn? He went back to Bethel, the house of God!
Then comes the BIG “IF”:
“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If…
* IF God will be with me
* IF God will keep me in this way
* IF God provides my bread to eat and my clothing to put on
* IF I get to get back to my father’s homeland in peace
Note that all that Jacob required from the Lord centered around the basics: food and clothing. Did not our Savior encourage such a contentment as well? See Matthew 6:33-34:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Then comes the BIG “THEN”:
*The Lord will be my God,
* This stone becomes a pillar of worship
* I will give God 10% of all I have!
When God in His graciousness seeks to honor His Word through His children, what should result? The Lord becomes the living and true God in our lives! And then His children should become children of generosity! Jacob understood that.
And so should we! Don’t forget our verse from last week:
“…However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”