February 08, 2011

On His Own?

Genesis 28:10-22

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”
Genesis 28:16


The clever bargain Jacob had worked out with his brother eventually cost him everything, but that didn’t stop Jacob. After their father, Isaac, died, Esau wanted to get revenge, so it was time for Jacob to go.

Jacob left behind all the physical blessings he had hoped to get from his brother. His fast talking now led to some fast running.

Jacob had to strike out on his own, but he wasn’t really alone. He discovered that in a very dramatic way during the night. While Jacob slept fitfully with only a rock for a pillow, God gave him a dream of an open stairway between him and heaven. Angels were ascending and descending that staircase, and God spoke to him, showing that although Jacob had become isolated from everyone else in his life, he hadn’t become isolated from God.

The next morning Jacob worshiped in response to his dream. But his worship was the stilted ritual of someone who was merely looking for God to bless the plans he had already made. God’s people often do that. We ask him to bless us as we aim to do what we please.

What Jacob didn’t know was that God was already ahead of him. No one outruns God. And that’s a good thing. For even as we try to outpace God, we discover God coming alongside us with his grace.

God, sometimes we are eager to strike out on our own, pursuing dreams that may not be from you. Remind us of your presence and never let us go. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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