Genesis 28:10-11 – Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that 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 to sleep.
In Genesis 27, Jacob and his mom Rebekah play a trick on Jacob’s father, Isaac, and brother, Esau. Because Isaac and Rebekah are divided, it causes division that trickles down to their kids and favoritism on the parents’ part drives a dagger into their family. Because Jacob steals Esau’s blessing from their father, Esau is so angry that he wants to kill his brother, so Rebekah sends her youngest son away to live with extended family. (As we’ll see soon, living with this particular extended family this isn’t any more helpful for Jacob).
Jacob is the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham, who both followed God and had a relationship with God, but it seems up to this point, he does not yet seem to have his own faith. But as we see throughout many places in Scripture, it speaks of God’s relationship in their family lineage, noting Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 50:24; Exodus 3:15; Acts 7:32). So how does Jacob find the faith of his ancestors for himself?
Here in Genesis 28, we find Jacob essentially running for his life. Jacob was happy and safe at home being taken care of by his mom, even though he’s a fully adult man by this point. So now being out on his own is a big life change for this mama’s boy.
During a 70-mile journey, Jacob stops in the place where Abraham first built an altar to the Lord in Genesis 12:8 and again stops in 13:3 and, just like with his grandpa, this is where God shows up. He lays his head and has a dream where he sees a ladder reaching up to Heaven as God tells him that he is the God of Abraham and Isaac (v. 13). Here, God starts a covenant relationship with Jacob and lets him know that he’s now part a great family line that will be multiplied, ultimately leading to Jesus.
The big idea is that Jacob would’ve rather been at home in the safety of his immediate family but, sometimes, God separates us from our families to connect us with Him. Sometimes, we need a major life change or to be taken out of our comfort zone in order for God to show up. If Jacob would’ve stayed home in comfort, he would’ve had his mom to do everything for him but here in the wilderness, he had to rely on God for help and just like with his dad and granddad, God showed up for him.
In the next few chapters of Genesis, we will see Jacob walk in relationship with God but also mess up, just as his grandpa and father did before him. This should be comforting to us that, even if we know God, we’re going to falter and fail, but, if we belong to Him, His love for us never will.
Have you ever seen God show up in and through major life changes in your or your family’s life?
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