Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!” (Genesis 28:16-17)
Abraham obeyed when God called him. He left his country and home to follow God. At the time of his departure, he did not know where he was going. Abraham just believed, and trusted God. Wherever he went, he built an alter to God, and worshipped God by calling upon His name. Abraham lived a truly God centered life.
His journey was not easy. He traveled about 1,000 km (i.e., 600 miles) before arriving Canaan, the promised land where he had to move around continuously as a foreigner. However, he had never forgotten God’s promise and building an alter to God to call upon His name. God pleased with Abraham’s faith, and God blessed him. Abraham was not perfect before God. He sometimes struggled, but God was with him so that he could continue his walk in God. Abraham overcome all hardships and trials with God by his faith, and he received a glorious name of “a father of many nations,” and he became the father of all believers including you and me.
Abraham saw his son, Isaac, and his grandsons, Esau and Jacob. How blessed he was! His wife, Sarah was barren, but God blessed Abraham and Sarah with Isaac, who was given to them at the age of one hundred. We can see who the God is, whom we believe. God had never changed and He dearly loves His children in all circumstances. The cross is the proof, where His only begotten son, Jesus, was sacrificed.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
Yes, Jesus, Our Lord, was beaten and crushed, and we are saved because he took all our sins and transgression on the cross for us. We are like sheep, we have gone astray by leaving God and forgetting His love, following our earthly desire, but God put on all sins on Jesus. Thus, we become His, and God called us as His children by transforming us to His holy nation and chosen people.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
Abraham’s blessing from God continued inheriting down through his family tree as God promised. His son, Isaac received the blessing, and Isaac’s younger son, Jacob received the blessing. Jacob took the blessing by deceiving his father, Isaac and his older brother, Esau by plotting against them with Rebecca, Jacob’s mother. What a broken family it was! The mother and the younger son were against the father and the older son, which reflects the fallen human nature of the dark side.
In the Isaac and Jacob’s family, the light of God’s holy promise collided the darkness of the evil desire of the mother and the younger son. Sadly, this still happens now, and it simply reflected the cold realty on earth where we live. However, we cannot lose our hope in God, because God governs the world and everything in it.
When we watch a sports game, we always support our team during the game while wanting our team beats the other team. This is a common desire for all of us. However, the game does not always turn out to be as we want. Sometimes our team loses, which makes us disappointed, or emotionally deeply disturbed by the outcome of the game. However, these feelings usually do not stay long with us. Soon we forget the past, and we look forward to see our team’s winning at the next game. Why? We love our team, not other teams. No matter what happens to our team, we are always on the side of our team whether our team won or lost the last game. If our team lost, we hope for our team’s win at the next game. If our team won, we again hope for another win at the next game. This is our affection on our team because of our unconditional love on our team.
Perhaps this is not a correct way to describe our Heavenly Father’s love toward us, but it gives a rough picture about how much our Heavenly Father loves us no matter what happens. That is, He loves whether we are upright before God or we sin against Him. Why? God is love, and we are His people whom He loves dearly. How strong is His love? His love toward us so strong that nothing can separate us from Him and His love.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38)
Also, we all know. If we let our children do whatever they want, we are not good parents. We actually spoil our children by letting them continue doing although it will soon be harmful to themselves as well as those who are around them. Although we are mere human beings, we have such a wonderful wisdom. Then how much more so to God, our Eternal Ever-Loving Father? Our God dearly loves us as His children. Then what would Our God do if one of us sin by doing bad against Him and His goodness, such as deceiving one’s own earthly father and own brother by secretly plotting against them with one’s own mother?
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? (Hebrews 12:7-9)
Yes, God disciples. Why? God dearly loves us. If God does not disciple us, then we are not truly His children. It is true that if we are not disciplined by God, when we sin against Him, we should question about whether we are truly His children or not. But please don’t worry. God’s love never fails, and Our Eternal and Ever-Loving Father will reach out us with His loving hand.
Indeed, when we sin against Him, God does not let us alone. God stretches His loving hand and grab us first. Then He leads us to a path of righteousness. Sometimes, God directly disciplines us, but it is done by His love. His discipline is measured by His infinitely goodness toward us. The more amazing fact is that God has never letting His child alone although His child is in the middle of being disciplined due to His child’s own wrongdoing. That’s why we call Our God is Love. Therefore, we have completely confidence in Him in all circumstances. Later when we look back our life and carefully examine what Our Loving Heavenly Father had done to us, we truly appreciate His Unfathomable love.
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (Hebrews 12:11)
Let’s go back to the Jacob’s life. As soon as Jacob’s deception was exposed, Esau, his brother decided to kill Jacob. To save his own life, Jacob had to flee. He immediately left his own house and home. To save her son, Rebecca, Jacob’s mother sent Jacob to Laban, Jacob’s uncle, who lived about 1,000 km away across the vast wildness and dangerous places. No highway was there, and no cellphone to call Laban on the way. Jacob had never seen Laban before. What Jacob knew was his uncle’s name and the town where his uncle lives, which was about 1,000 km away. Also he had no idea how Laban looked like. But Jacob had no other option but taking the journey to find his uncle. For the first time in his life, Jacob confronted with the true hardship. He used to stay home receiving the love of his mother, but now he was alone heading into the wildness. His walk was heavy, and he could not take off his eyes from his own home filled with love till he deceived his father and brother. He looked out, but in his eyes, there was a vast wildness. Indeed, God’s disciple had been just started.
Although Jacob was alone walking in the middle of the wildness, he was not actually alone. At night, when he laid his head on a stone under the dark sky. He could get into a deep sleep because God was with him. God was his blanket on him under the dark sky. When he fell asleep alone, God appeared to him in his dream. God, who loved Jacob, comforted him, and gave His promise to Jacob.
Why was Jacob in the wilderness? It was a part of God’s disciple on Jacob. God led Jacob to the lowest part of his life for the first time. However, God did not let Jacob alone, and God stretched His hand with love. At the lowest time, God came to Jacob, and Jacob finally met God. As soon as the next morning sun dawns, Jacob built an alter to God and worshipped God as Abraham did. Jacob must have had seen what Abraham did to God – building an alter to God and calling upon His name. By the way, this is one of the best ways to inherit our faith to our children. We all know there is no way to hide and lie about our own lives before our children. They see the entirety of our life, and they know about who we are and what we do, especially to God, although we might be able to hide who we really are from the sights of others. Thus, we should always love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind, if we really want for love our children to love God. Additionally, we should not neglect to love others as ourselves. Then our children will also love others as themselves.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
We know that Jacob broke the above commandments, but out of His love, God started shaping Jacob by disciplining him. In the following early morning, Jacob realized God’s presence and he built an later and worshipped God.
Jacob made this vow: “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the LORD will certainly be my God. And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.” (Genesis 28:20-22)
Jacob realized God’s presence even in the middle of the wilderness, but he could not fully understand and appreciate God’s love, which was unfathomable to him. It was just the first encounter with God, and the first step prepared for Jacob to walk the walk given by God. In fact, Jacob was spiritually just a new-born baby. He did not know how to absolutely trust in God yet, as God unconditionally loved Jacob. Jacob could not comprehend how high, how deep, how wide God’ s love was.
Only was the thing that Jacob knew was that God was with him in the middle of the wilderness and God enormously blessed him. However, Jacob’s vessel was so small that he could not contain God’s love fully.
Following Abraham’s faith, Jacob built an alter and worshipped God, but he did not know about what to do before God. Jacob did his best. What was his best? Making a deal. Yes, he made a deal with God. We know Jacob made a great deal with his brother by giving a bowl of lentil stew and in turn receiving his brother’s birth right. Jacob was still self-centered, and transactional at most (i.e., give and take). God, who was merciful and full of love toward Jacob, silently heard Jacob’s prayer.
How many of us actually try to make a deal with God while we pray? Or aren’t we praying to get something from God in exchange for our worship to God? If so, how much different is our prayer to God from the Jacob’s transactional vow to God? However, God loved Jacob. God loves us, and His love has never changed and will not change forever. Thus, we can absolutely trust Him everyday, wherever we are, whatever we do, and whatever we confront with in our life.
Simply trusting every day
1. Simply trusting every day,
trusting through a stormy way,
even when my faith is small,
trusting Jesus, that is all.
Trusting as the moments fly,
trusting as the days go by,
trusting him whate’er befall,
trusting Jesus, that is all.
2. Brightly doth his Spirit shine
into this poor heart of mine;
while he leads I cannot fall,
trusting Jesus, that is all.
3. Singing, if my way be clear,
praying, if the path be drear,
if in danger for him call,
trusting Jesus, that is all.
4. Trusting him while life shall last,
trusting him till earth be past,
till within the jasper wall,
trusting Jesus, that is all.
The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. (Nahum 1:7)