Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Then 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)
Abraham, after meeting God, faithfully followed God.  Abraham believed God’s promise, and traveled without knowing where he went.  God led Abraham, and Abraham faithfully followed God.   Wherever Abraham went, he built an alter to God and worshipped God while calling upon His name.   Abraham lived a God-centric life, which pleased God.   As promised, Abraham received Isaac, who was born of his barren wife, Sarah, when he was 100 years old.  It was a miracle to both Abraham and Sarah, and God’s blessing also continued to his descendants.  Isaac, his son, received two sons from God:  Esau and Jacob.  The younger one, Jacob was always jealous of the birthright of Esau, his older brother.   Jacob bought out the birthright from Esau with one bowl of lentil stew.  It was not the end of Jacob’s jealousy.   Later Jacob stole his father’s blessing reserved for Esau by deceiving Isaac.  The deceptive plot was devised with Rebecca, his mother.  What a broken family!   Soon Esau found Jacob’s deception, and he decided to kill Jacob.   Jacob had to flee for his life. 

Jacob’s destination was the house of Laban, his uncle, who lived about 1,000 km away in Harran.   He had to travel many days (reasonably speaking he had to travel at least one month) through wildernesses and foreign lands, where he had never been traveled before.    Jacob knew many dangers and threats were waiting for him, but he had no option but to go to the house of Laban due to his sin against Esau, his brother and Isaac, his father.   Jacob had never met his uncle before.  In fact, Jacob knew nothing about his uncle except the name, Laban.   He had neither a photo nor a voice recording of Laban, his uncle.  He had neither the street address, nor GPS coordinates of his uncle’s house.   Please imagine how helpless Jacob was.  It was a truly risky and dangerous journey.   Jacob had to put behind his warm home filled with love.  He was on the run from his brother, Esau.        
Jacob hurriedly left home before his brother killed him.  Soon he found himself alone traveling in the middle of wilderness, although he barely saved his own life from his brother.  He also started feeling the weight of his sin committed against his brother.   Initially, he did not know how sinful his sin was, but his sin was steadily pressing on Jacob.   What he could see was an endless wilderness.  He looked around, but he was alone in the middle of the wilderness.   The sun was getting lower, and darkness started falling on him.   He could not travel any further.  He searched for a place to sleep, but rested his head on a stone.  He begged sleep, but it was not easy.  He could see what had happened just one day, which made him helplessly alone in the middle of wilderness.  He was begging for sleep with closing eyes and resting his head on a stone under a dark night sky.   It was a really lonely and painful night.   

Without knowing, Jacob fell into a deep sleep, which was in fact God’s blessing.   Jacob was completely unaware of God, who was with him.   God mercifully stretched out His Hand to Jacob who was struggling at the lowest part of his life.   And it was caused by Jacob himself.  However, God’s love was greater than his sin.   Jacob had never been alone.   He was always surrounded by his loving family.   He had a comfortable life.  Moreover, he always got whatever he wanted.  He jealously wanted the birthright and the blessing of Isaac, his father, and he got both.   But it did not give him a satisfaction.    Instead, a huge consequence came to him, which he had never thought before.   He was starting to pay for his sin, but he himself was too weak to bear the consequence.   Jacob was truly in an unsurmountable huge  trouble for the first time in his life.   God exactly knew what’s going on in Jacob’s heart and his difficult life situation.   God, who dearly loved Jacob, could not let Jacob alone.   
God appeared in Jacob’s dream, and God comforted him by letting Jacob know that Jacob was not alone.  How loving God He was!    Jacob believed he was alone and was sleeping lonely under a dark night sky, but it was not.   God was with him, and God made him see God’s angels going up and down the stairway in his dream.
And at the top of the stairway stood the LORD, God.   Yes, God was there for Jacob, and He said,
“I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.  What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”  (Genesis 28:13b-15)
God gave the same blessing that was originally given to Abraham, his grandfather!   When Jacob was cunningly deceiving his father, God knew Jacob was not ready to receive God’s blessing.  Jacob continued his own life, greedy and deceptive out of jealousy, but he did not know he was missing the huge blessing of God because he was not ready.   God let Jacob continuing his sinful life till he hit the lowest part of his life although he got what he jealously wanted for the entire of his life from his birth.    Then the God’s waiting moment came to Jacob.  Jacob was ended up with the most vulnerable situation – being alone in the middle of wilderness under the dark night sky.   Jacob’s heart was full of guilt of what he had done, and fear of unknown future that was beyond his control.   It was the moment that he achieved what really wanted that he was driven out to the most miserable situation, where he was sleeping under the dark night sky while resting his head on a cold stone.   He knew there would be all kinds of dangers waiting for him.  He did not know what to do except begging sleep lonely.  But it was a part of God’s infinitely good plan for Jacob.   Finally, Jacob was truly vulnerable, and he was ready for God.   God waited for this moment.  Out of His love, God poured his blessing on Jacob through the door of Jacob’s vulnerability just being openned.   Can we imagine what Jacob would felt at that time?    The moment was like a turning point of from death to life because God was able to come into Jacob’s life.    Yes, God is love, and His love endures forever for all generations including Jacob and us.
As soon as Jacob got up as soon as the sun rose, he built an alter and worshipped God as his grandfather did.   Jacob personally met God for the first time in his life, and he was greatly encouraged and was even in joy real because of God who came to him last night.  However, he did not know how to respond to God and His blessing because he was just a newborn baby spiritually before God.   Yes, out of joy and thanksgiving, Jacob prayed to God while making a vow, but his vow before God was still worldly. 
Then 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)
As we call see, Jacob’s vow was transactional give-and-take.   If God did to him good, he would give back a good thing to God.   Jacob thought as if he had an ability to do something good to God by his own might by building a memorial pillar to God later.   Of course, we know that it is not true.   if God doesn’t allow, we cannot do anything.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.  (Proverbs 16:9)
Recently, one of friends of mine made a joke, “If we want to make God laugh, we just make our own plan.”.   Then we laughed together for a while.   Sure, we can plan whatever we want, but God determines our next steps.   Jacob was spiritually just a new borne baby.  We believe Jacob did his best from the deepest part of his heart to God.  However, his prayer was laughable in the eyes of God.   Not like us, God, full of mercy, grace and love, did respond to him gracefully.   In this world, only can be found the closest one from parents who dearly love their babies.   Instead, loving parents see their babies in their eyes of love, and pours love on their babies instead of punishing for their children’s laughable response like Jacob’s prayer.  Yes, God loved Jacob, and He clearly knew that Jacob needed more love and he had to grow in faith to be a man of faith who would be truly capable of inherit the blessing of God, the glorious blessing originally given to Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather.  
Jacob had just started a new journey in God to grow into Him.   This was the huge blessing on Jacob, which was specially prepared for Jacob according to His infinitely good will.   It is also true that such a journey with God is a must to all believers.   The journey is not always sunny and easy, but sometime rainy and hard.   Even so, it is the most precious journey that we ever take int this world.   It is often so precious and secret between God and each of us individually.  Out of love, God just let Jacob start his own journey to experience God and spiritually grow into Him.
Jacob named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz.   His heart was being filled with Joy instead of fear that was so strongly cling on to him the prior night under the dark night sky.  Jacob met God, and heard God’s promise.  He gained strength to confront with his unknown future.  He departed Bethel joyfully, where he came lonely and was in fear throughout the night.   His every step was powered by hope in God, and confidence led him because he knew he was not alone.    God, the creator of the entire universe was with him.  If God was for Jacob himself, he knew there was nobody who could against Jacob because the creator and the almighty God was with Jacob.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?  Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?  (Romans 8:31)
Yes, if God is for us, who can ever be against us?   The same God who was with Jacob in the middle of wilderness at night, who was sleeping while resting his head on the cold stone under the dark night sky.   The cold reality hit hard on Jacob, but God was with Jacob.  Then God poured out HIs heart on Jacob.   Our God is the merciful, ever-loving and eternal Father.   In him, Jacob could take a true rest at the lonely night in the middle of the wilderness.   God became the warm blanket for Jacob under the cold dark night, and Jacob slept like a baby in God’s bosom.   God talked His love, and Jacob dreamed of His Love.    God revealed His blessing, and Jacob saw the blessing in his dream.   Yes, Jacob gained the strength in God to travel the next 1,000 km through the wilderness while fighting against unknown future, fears and dangers.  
God dearly loved Jacob, not because Jacob was a better person than others including his brother.  In fact, God chose Jacob according to His goodwill.   Today, God is calling us according to His goodwill.   Please hear this message from God: 
Remember what it says:
“Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled.”  (Hebrews 3:15)
When we hear His loving voice transcending all our understanding, we should not harden our hearts.  We should come to God to receive the greatest gift of all — the salvation in the name of Jesus Christ.   God calls us, and whoever hears His voice and believes in Him will inherit the greatest promise of the entire human history — our eternal life in Him.   
Again, let’s remember who Jacob was and what he did.   He tricked his brother to get the birthright from him for just one bowl of lentil stew.   He deceived his father to steal the blessings reserved for his elder brother, Esau.   But God chose Jacob according to His goodwill, and poured out His unfathomable blessing on Jacob, when he was suffering from his own sin against his brother and father.   Let’s not forget.  God came first, not Jacob.  Then Jacob wholeheartedly received and believed the God’s blessing, which pleased God.  This is what God wants from us.   
Aa we know, Jacob was just a baby spiritually.   He did not know how and what to say to God.   But God dearly loved Jacob because Jacob was his baby.   Surely, Jacob’s pray reflected who Jacob was at that moment.   He was still worldly and far from the holiness of God.   Even so, God accepted Jacob as he was.   Instead God saw Jacob’s true heart.  In the world, there is only one thing that we can truly make our God well pleased — believing God and His promise of our salvation in Him.
Today, God calls us.   Please don’t harden our heart, and receive Him.   Then please talk humbly to God with all our heart, mind and spirit authentically and sincerely, “I accept you and believe you as my God, and I am receiving Jesus Christ as my savior.”   This is what God truly wants from us today, at this moment. 
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

Then He will guide and protect us through the paths of righteousness so that we walk in the light following Him and we grow deeper into Him.   Let’s not forget God will never forsake us no matter what happens in our lives, because God is faithful, and His love toward was greater than anything else.   God also exactly knows how weak we are.   Yes, sometimes we may fall again, but don’t be discourage.  Just stand up again, and fix our eyes on Jesus Christ on the cross.  Then make another step forward God while tightly holding Our Father God’s mighty and loving arms.  Surely God will be with us always till we see Him face to face in Our Eternal Home.   Praise Him, who is Our Ever-Loving Father.  His name will be praised from now and forever!
Walking in Sunlight all of my Journey
1 Walking in sunlight all of my journey,
over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, “I’ll never forsake thee,”
promise divine that never can fail.
Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
flooding my soul with glory divine;
hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
singing His praises, Jesus is mine.
2 Shadows around me, shadows above me,
never conceal my Savior and Guide;
He is the light, in Him is no darkness;
ever I’m walking close to His side. [Refrain]
3 In the bright sunlight, ever rejoicing,
pressing my way to mansions above;
singing His praises gladly I’m walking,
walking in sunlight, sunlight of love. [Refrain]
But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.   (1 John 1:7)

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