Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Jacob’

God With Us

And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.

And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.

And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,

So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:

And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.  ~~  Genesis 28:10-22

AARRGGHH!! Don’t we ever learn?

The verses leading up to this passage are full of egos, self-seeking and deceptions. Deceit has had serious consequences in the past and will again in this instance.

However – and this is a big however — when Jacob obeys his father’s directive to go to Paddan Aram to seek a wife, he sets his feet on a righteous path once again. And he is rewarded by this dream and promise from God.

“Surely the Lord is in this place.”

Whether we are aware of it or not, God is with us. Day in and day out, He stands with us. It is our disobedience that builds a wall between Him and us. It’s our wall. It is built brick by brick of little rejections of His call upon our lives.

Do you notice? God’s promise to Jacob is not predicated upon his apology for his deceptions. It carries no contingencies. It is full, complete, absolute.

God knows and we are learning that every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment. That is called consequences.

But our God is omnipresent – present everywhere at once. With us, beside us, within us if we let Him be.

We are into the season of advent. We will be singing “O come, O come, Immanuel.” It’s a nice song and one of my personal favorites. But it’s redundant. He has already come. He is with us. Let us rejoice in His presence.

Father, God,
Help us to be ever mindful of Your presence with us. Teach us to rely on You and only You at every moment.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen

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Fear Not

Focus verses: Jeremiah 46:27-28

After God has told Jeremiah about the destruction of Judah and the scattering of the people, He goes on to tell Jeremiah about the destruction of the nations which He has used to punish Judah. Can you imagine the consternation of the people? Not only will they be forcibly ripped from their homes, but the nations to which they will be scattered will also be destroyed. What is to become of them?

These two verses are filled with reassurance. He calls the people by the name of their father, Jacob. You will remember that Jacob wrestled with God and his name was changed to Israel.

It would seem that the descendants of Jacob continue to wrestle with God. They worship Him and then they are drawn away. They cannot seem to remain faithful in their obedience. They struggle with the world and the flesh.

But God reassures them here. He tells them he will not utterly destroy the descendants of Jacob, but He will completely destroy the nations to which they have been scattered.

Then He tells them He will discipline them with justice but He will not let them go entirely unpunished. In effect, they will reap the consequences of their infidelities.

God is always just. He may be merciful, but justice demands a discipline from a righteous God.

Father, God,

Help us to see Your righteousness and Your justice in the disciplines You enforce in our lives. Make us willing to see Your perfect plan as You reveal it to us day by day.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Lest We Believe We Are Privileged

Focus verses: II Kings 23:25-27
Background: II Chronicles 33:18-25

The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob comprised the chosen people of God. The two separate kingdoms, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, were essentially all cousins – several times removed, but still cousins.

These are the people whose destruction is documented in our focus verses. God is speaking His intention to remove them from His presence. Oy vey!

If God will separate His presence from His chosen people simply because of their faithlessness and bad behavior, how much more will He remove Himself from those of us who are merely “grafted in” when we are faithless and idolatrous?

Even the godly character of King Josiah was not enough to quench the smoldering anger of the Lord against Judah. This is a case of the sins of the father being visited on the sons and the grandsons for generations. Manasseh was the king who inflamed the Lord’s anger. Josiah was his grandson. The story is not yet completed.

We sit in a nation that has been favored by the Lord for two hundred years and more. But we persist in doing what is evil in the sight of God. We put things ahead of God in idolatry. We comfort ourselves with euphemisms like “freedom of choice” and “alternate lifestyle” when what we are naming is sin. Calling stink weed a rose will not make it smell any sweeter.

Even were we to have a Josiah in our midst, the anger of the Lord is surely smoldering against us as we speak. Our knees should be calloused in prayer and our voices should be heard in this wilderness of sin, calling people to repentance and to the Lord.

Father, God,

Stay Your anger a little longer. Give us the opportunity to become more faithful to You, more vocal in Your causes, more winning in our ways, so that we may bring our nation back to the fold of Your love.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Every Knee Shall Bow

Focus verses: Isaiah 45:15-25

God is, and always has been, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But here He claims He will be God for those who are not blood descendants of Jacob (Israel).

He calls the fugitives from the nations to an assembly. He invites them to turn to Him, not the idols of this world, and be saved. What a precious invitation!

No longer do you have to be a descendant of Jacob to be God’s chosen person. You can be anyone, from anywhere. God’s arms are open to all.

It is the precursor of another verse.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV

Whosoever… Whosoever can be replaced by any name in the world. Annie, Bob, Carl, David, Elizabeth, Frank, Genevieve, Harriet, Irene, John, Kenneth, Larry, Martin, Nathan, Olivia, Pearl, Quinton, Ralph, Sarah, Tess, Ursula, Victor, Wendy, Xavier, Yvonne, Zelda.

When we turn to God, our knees bow in adoration. But this passage also says that every knee, not just those who turn to Him, will bow. Can you imagine the consternation of not having turned to the Lord and ultimately finding yourself in the position of bowing to him in terror?

Let us resolve to be ambassadors and evangelists so that the number of trembling, terrified knees is lessened and the number of adoring knees is increased.

Father, God,

Help us to reflect Your light to this darkened world. Let us be beacons, leading the lost to You. Grant us the gentleness and tenderness to woo them into Your kingdom.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

The Beginnings Of Diaspora

My apologies. This scheduled post didn’t post at the appropriate time for yesterday.

Focus verses: I Chronicles 5:23-26

The infidelities of the children of Israel have exceeded the Lord’s forbearance. So the Assyrians swept down and carried off the descendants of Reuben, the first born of Jacob and Leah; the descendants of Gad, the first born of Jacob and Zilpah; and the descendants of Manasseh, the first born of Joseph and Asenath.

It is interesting that these are all the “first born” of their mother. Even more interesting is a look at the meaning of their names. Reuben means “look, a son.” Gad can mean either “a troop” (like an army) or “good fortune.” Manasseh means “to forget.”

I find it fascinating that the Assyrians carried off the first born and good fortune because the children of Israel had forgotten the Lord.

You would think that the remaining tribes would fall on their knees, pleading with God for restoration. But the king of Israel allied with the king of Syria (Aram) and marched against the king of Judah instead.

Why do we not turn to God when the world goes against us? We seem to want to take on the world on its terms – on its turf – without the benefit of our Father’s knowledge and power. We seem to think our battles are on a physical plane, when they are most often spiritual in nature.

Father, God,

Help us to see Your permissive hand in our adversities. Use them to draw us closer, more dependent upon You in every way. Grant us victory in Your Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Focus verse: Obadiah: 15

Obadiah is one of the “lesser prophets.” The book of Obadiah is a single chapter with only 21 verses. But just because it’s small, it isn’t unimportant.

His name means “serving Yah.” And his words carry a message from the Lord.

Verse 15 speaks directly to the Edomites, the sons of Esau. Esau was the twin of Jacob, later named Israel. There has been bad blood between the Israelites and the Edomites for generations, just as there was dissension between Jacob and Esau. Family feuds seem to be carried on and on and on.

But in this verse, God says “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.”

Gee, that sounds a lot like “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Our God is consistent about our conduct and the consequences of our actions.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change. His requirements do not change. Obedience brings favor. Disobedience brings rebuke. It’s a simple choice.

Father, God,

Help us to remember who You are and what You require of Your children. Keep us faithful to Your words and Your precepts. May we be all You would have us to be.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.