A Turn Toward the Future
Eternal God, Alpha and Omega, my beginning and my end, my life is in You. I lift my heart in praise.
Read Genesis 31:43-55
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Choose a favorite hymn or song that expresses God’s love for us, and use it to lead you into worship.
Although he still insists that all Jacob’s possessions, both human and animal, belong to him, Laban finally comes to a point of acceptance–or defeat–about the situation. He proposes a covenant, a non-aggression pact. The accompanying rituals, setting up a pillar, building a mound of stones, feasting together, making an oath and offering a sacrifice, are typical of such ceremonies, and the names given to this one are indicative of its significance. Those in v. 47 (one Aramaic, one Hebrew) show its purpose–a reminder of what they have covenanted together. The third name, Mizpah, signifies the emotional bond between these two people, and between the respective nations each represents. The covenant also acts as a territorial agreement (52). This brings to a close Jacob’s twenty-year absence from his own family. He is able to consign to the past the turmoil of the complicated relationship with Laban. He can turn toward the future and deal with the complicated relationship with his brother, Esau, from which he had run away.
When Jacob calls on God to be witness to his covenant with Laban, he calls him “the Fear of his father Isaac” (53). This, perhaps, tells us something about Isaac’s relationship with God. It’s interesting to wonder whether Jacob was reminded of what he had asked of God at the beginning of his journey, and whether these events helped him choose to go ahead actively with God, rather than passively ask God to go along with him.
Covenants make a regular appearance throughout the Bible, sometimes between people, as here, and sometimes between God and people. The latter type fall into two categories, conditional and unconditional, and lead up to the promise of the new covenant which, mediated by Christ, fulfills the old (Heb. 8).
What have been the significant spiritual turning points in your life? How were they marked? Thank God for them.
God of new beginnings, Lord of all the seasons of my life, I thank You I am not adrift on the journey. You are with me, keeping me on track, assuring me of Your presence and leading.
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