Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Jacob, Leah, and Rachel: Jacob at Bethel

10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I amwith you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
Genesis 28:10-17, NKJV

 Jacob, Leah, and Rachel: Jacob at Bethel

I realize that this series of devotions is on Bible couples, but we do come to a complex situation with Jacob, because, in the end, he finds himself (literally) with two wives instead of one. You can imagine the difficulties that could arise in such a situation, and indeed that 
was certainly the case with Jacob. So how did Jacob end up in such a situation? In order to answer that question, we must regress.

As a review, you will remember that Jacob has a twin brother, Esau, who was born first, and thus had the birthright of the first born son. God, however, had prophesied that the older would serve the younger. Through the deception of Jacob and his mother, Rebekah, Jacob did receive the blessing of the oldest son. 

When Esau learned of this deception, he determined that when his father died, he would kill his brother Jacob. On learning this, Rebekah urged Jacob to leave. Using the excuse that he needed to find a wife, she and Isaac urged him to go to the land of Mesopotamia and look for a wife among his relatives.

That is where we find Jacob in the passage shown above from Genesis 28. It was certainly a turning point for Jacob. While on the way, he stopped for the night. Using some rocks as a pillow for his head, he lay down and slept. During the night, he dreamed a dream. A ladder was stretched to heaven and on it angels were ascending and descending. God stood above the ladder and spoke to Jacob, saying,

"I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

In other words, God was reaffirming his covenant that He had made with Abraham and Isaac, with Jacob. Jacob, upon awakening, realized that this was, indeed, and ephiphany for him. Jacob poured oil on the ston, built an altar there, and called the name of the place, Bethel, which means literally, house of God.



What a time Jacob had, but we will leave that for future devotions. Do we have epiphanies  our day? Yes, we do. Most of the time, we really do not comprehend these special times until later. In looking back on our lives, we see specific points where our lives took a drastic change.



Does God control these special times? Yes! What a comfort for us, as believers, to understand that God leads and guides us in all of the events of our lives. As Christians, we each have a specific work or duty for the Lord. Many times we do not come to the point of doing that work until much of our life has already passed. Yet, in looking back, we can see how God has prepared us for that time throughout all of the days of our lives.



What an amazing God we serve. Jacob was correct to name the place where he was at, Bethel. Indeed, he had come to the very house of God and now understood that God was leading and guiding in all of the events of his life. 



Little did he know that God would use he, Leah, and Rachel to build the nation that would become known as the nation of Israel. 


Let us, this day, bow down before the Lord our God and thank Him for the many ways He guides and directs in our lives each day. By His grace, may we be used mightily to advance His kingdom here on earth.

God Bless You,
Linda

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