15th February 2023
Read - Hebrews 11:21 and Genesis 28:10-15
Message Alan Burke
Today we pick up the account of Jacob, on Monday it was more of character overview, today though we focus on one event in Jacobs life while he was on the run from his brother. With no light to guide his path other than the sun, and no premier inn’s or airbnb’s along the way, the exhausted Jacob was forced to stop, enjoying the comfort of his stone pillow, doubtless, he must have wondered whether there was anything in his father‘s pious hopes for his future, in a God that he’d been told about but did not know. But the Lord God was using this journey that Jacob was on, that would begin a transformation in his character. That is why we are focusing on Genesis 28 and not Genesis 48 were he blesses the sons of of Jospeh which Hebrews 11:21 refers to.
I can’t imagine that resting your head on a stone pillow and drifting off to sleep would have been incredibly comfortable but it is what happened when he drifted off to sleep that is significant. There the Lord revealed himself to Jacob in the form of a dream. Remember that this revelation of God isn’t because Jacob had earned enough brownie points along the way, no he was a mess and had left carnage behind him. Yet the Lord did not bring him face to face with his shameful past, he didn’t rub his face in the mess that he had made of his life, instead the Lord in what he was doing was helping him to see the future with the Lord himself as his God, with a life lived in faith.
In the dream, the Lord caused Jacob to see a ladder, or rather a stairway. There as the angels ascend and descend as they go about the business of the Lord God Almighty, he there standing over it all speaks to Jacob. In his self revelation the Lord declares to him (13);“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac”. Jacob would have known from what he had been taught and heard as a child before the Lord said anything else that this was the Lord God, the same God who had called his grandfather and father. It would have reminded him how what had taken place in the lives of his forefathers was God’s doing not their own. Just as the Lord had called Abraham, appeared to Issac that everything that had followed wasn’t dependant on their own efforts but on God in His grace and sovereign purposes.
None of it was dependant on Jacob, on what he had done or would do, it wasn’t dependant on his past or his future rather it was dependant on the covenant keeping God and His Grace. The Lord was making it clear, so that Jacob could be left in no doubt that this future depended not on himself on his character, but dependant on the LORD God. The Lord in all of this, in his promise confirms that Jacob is the chosen line. In addition to the promise and assurance of a future hope, God graciously grants intimate assurance to Him to sustain his faith, despite his questionable past God has chosen Jacob to be the one that would continue this line of promises, that would continue this hope that would come first promised in the offspring, the seed of Adam and Eve that one day one would come to deal with the mess that sin has caused. This revelation of God was one of Hope, hope for all.
We need to remember that the salvation of God, in His initiative, in His sovereign purposes brought salvation to us. Jacob didn’t deserve it, none of us deserve it, none of us could have earned it, yet, God by His Grace, in Jis unmerited favour towards us has shown this grace to us, because just like the case for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and everyone here this grace, this unmerited favour is not dependant on our works, our efforts but is dependant on what God has done for us in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, our salvation just like Jacobs was dependant on faith, Faith that is wrought in us by God, for it is by grace we are saved though faith, this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8-9. One last thing, Hebrews 1 reminds us how God at many times and in many ways, spoke but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son (Heb 1:1-2) so there are no more dreams, don’t be expecting a Jacob experience, but God still speaks through his Son, through His word read but primarily preached and we should expect God to speak to us through that but are we willing to listen?
Q77 What is required in the ninth commandment?
The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, (Zech. 8:16) and of our own and our neighbour’ s good name, (3 John 12) especially in witness-bearing. (Prov. 14:5,25)