By Martha Bush
I began a series last week on GRACE - - God’s unmerited favor. We can’t earn it; it’s a free gift. Several of you shared your salvation experience, and we were blessed.
Today, we start down a Trail of Grace with Jacob, an Old Testament character, to show how grace is active in all areas of our life. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you fresh revelations of this old story.
Genesis 27 records how Jacob deceived his father into giving him The Blessing that should have gone to his brother, Esau. Actually, this wasn’t the first time Jacob had played the deception game; he had manipulated his brother into selling him his birthright. (Gen. 25:29-34)
When Esau realized he had once again been the recipient of his brother’s deception, he threatened to kill him. Mom Rebekah got wind of Esau’s threat and told Jacob to leave town and go to her brother Laban’s house.
Uncle Laban lived hundreds of miles away, and it was going to take awhile to get there. When Jacob reached a certain place, he stopped for the night to get some sleep. (Genesis 28:11)
In this certain place, Jacob had a dream: a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven, and angels of God ascending and descending on it. There above the staircase stood the Lord, and He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. (vs 12-14)
- Commentaries say the ladder shows there was a connection between heaven and earth.
- The presence of angels ascending and descending up and down the ladder means God was at work.
- The Lord confirms the covenant He had made with Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac.
God then gave Jacob a personal word: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (vs 15)
Jacob awoke the next morning and made a vow: “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 he went on his journey! (vs. 20-21)
The deceiver himself had a Conversion Experience. In New Testament language: By GRACE, Jacob got saved!
Friends, as you know, sometimes an old familiar Bible story will touch you in a way it never has before. As I recapped Jacob’s conversion experience, ironically, my thoughts turned towards my own unsaved loved ones.
First, I took notice of how Rebekah dealt with Jacob’s deception. Instead of witnessing to her son about the Lord, in essence, she said: “Don’t worry about your sins and repenting; RUN!” I have been a Rebekah. I pushed things under the rug to keep peace. In the process, I enabled my loved one in their sin instead of standing for what was right in God's eyes. Actually, I was protecting my own skin by being too intimidated to confront.
Next, that certain place where Jacob stopped to spend the night jolted me. Jacob randomly picked a place to stop, but it was in this dark, dangerous desert while he was on the run he had an encounter with God. The Holy Spirit nudged me, “I have a certain place picked out for your loved one, too. I am behind the scenes working. In my time, I will show up in a certain place to meet them. BTW---it may not be in church. Jacob was in the desert running; Paul was on his way to kill Christians when my light shone upon them.”
Then the Renewal of the Covenant God had made with Jacob's descendants, and what He wanted to continue through him hit me hard. I stand guilty of often thinking, “If they got saved, my life would be easier.” The Lord clearly showed me there is a bigger picture going on than ME and my pity parties. It’s about a plan He had for them before the foundation of the earth. They may have taken a detour, but God’s plans did not change. The Kingdom work He has for them to do could also change the course of human history.
With these new revelations, I got Holy Ghost goose bumps all over my body.
What about you? Please share any revelations you have from this Old Testament story.
Join me next week to see Grace in action when Jacob reaches Uncle Laban’s home.