August 24, 2006

When Jacob crossed the Jordan on his hasty retreat from home, there was no recorded prayer to God. Instead, God opened Jacob's eyes with a vision at Bethel and began to reveal himself to this deceiver. Jacob began this journey with a vow that the Lord would be his God (Genesis 28:20-21).

From that time on, Jacob has had moments of scheming and planning. And as Jacob returns home to face his brother and his past, God meets with him again.

Jacob recognizes that the blessings he has experienced have ultimately come not because of his schemes but by God's design. Jacob only had his staff when he left home, and now he returns with a family and more.

Jacob confesses his unworthiness in receiving God's kindness and faithfulness, and the schemer who stole a birthright and blessing now sees himself as God's servant. This change of status reflects a change of heart. The hometown crowd may first notice Jacob's possessions, but what really matters is his change of heart.

A person who always looked out for himself has been changing, and Jacob's prayer reflects his developing faith. Jacob submits himself before God, and when he does so, the conversation of faith continues and grows. Though Jacob is returning home, he reflects that he has found his home with God.

God of grace and mercy, may we know that you are the Father who is waiting for all of us to be home with you. Guide our steps each day, we pray. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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