RUNNING FOR HIS LIFE
Lord, Your Word is my guide and Your promises are sure. Open my heart to the opportunities and possibilities of today.
Read GENESIS 28:10–22
Jacob’s Dream at Bethel
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it[a] stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.[b] 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel,[c] though the city used to be called Luz.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord[d] will be my God 22 and[e] this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever felt, ‘I have messed up so much. I’m absolutely useless. God will not want anything to do with me now!’? Did God agree?
Jacob has really messed up – he has fallen out with his family and is running away in fear for his life. Yet in this position God has appeared to Jacob, reminding him of what he already knows and making amazing promises (15). Jacob might have felt very alone, having forfeited his relationships with all his close family members, and now spending the night in the middle of nowhere. But God has not given up on him and knows exactly where he is!
God reaffirms His covenant with Jacob and his family by repeating the promises that He made to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham, and his father Isaac. He adds a new promise – I will be with you and ‘will bring you back to this land’ (15).
How often I long to hear and see God as clearly as this! Yet Jacob’s reaction was to be afraid, to worship and to rededicate himself to God. (Notice, though, that the rededication is conditional (20,21) – ‘If you keep your promises, God, then I’ll worship you…’ Jacob still wants God on his own terms!)
What has God promised you? How do you react – fear, worship, commitment, gratitude? Write out one of God’s promises and put it somewhere prominent to help you be more mindful of it.
Gracious Heavenly Father, make me sensitive to hear Your voice, to sense Your guidance, and to do Your will. This is my heart’s desire.