International/Uniform Sunday School Lesson for October 27, 2013
Purpose: To believe in God’s promise always to be present
Background: Genesis 27:19-29; 28:1-4, 10-22; 32: 22-30; 35:9-15
Genesis 28:1, 10-22 (CEB)
1 So Isaac summoned Jacob, blessed him, and gave him these orders: "Don’t marry a Canaanite woman.
10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and set out for Haran. 11 He reached a certain place and spent the night there. When the sun had set, he took one of the stones at that place and put it near his head. Then he lay down there. 12 He dreamed and saw a raised staircase, its foundation on earth and its top touching the sky, and God’s messengers were ascending and descending on it. 13 Suddenly the Lord was standing on it and saying, "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. 14 Your descendants will become like the dust of the earth; you will spread out to the west, east, north, and south. Every family of earth will be blessed because of you and your descendants. 15 I am with you now, I will protect you everywhere you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done everything that I have promised you."
16 When Jacob woke from his sleep, he thought to himself, The Lord is definitely in this place, but I didn’t know it. 17 He was terrified and thought, This sacred place is awesome. It’s none other than God’s house and the entrance to heaven.18 After Jacob got up early in the morning, he took the stone that he had put near his head, set it up as a sacred pillar, and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He named that sacred place Bethel, though Luz was the city’s original name. 20 Jacob made a solemn promise: "If God is with me and protects me on this trip I’m taking, and gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear, 21 and I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God. 22 This stone that I’ve set up as a sacred pillar will be God’s house, and of everything you give me I will give a tenth back to you."
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
If you read these stories as recorded in the Book of Genesis, you soon realize God is not looking for the most righteous or honest person, God usually chooses those that are willing to put their faith and trust in a God of promise.
Both Abraham and Isaac lied about their wives being their sister, Jacob was a deceiver from birth. Also, you can see the influence of the two women, Sarah and Rebekah. Sarah forces the ouster of Ishmael and Hagar, and Rebekah chooses Jacob over the rough and rugged Esau.
God obviously saw something in Jacob that He could use to fulfil His plan to, build a nation and redeem the world. God took a person that was scared to death of his brother, gave him a pillow of stones and was able to convince Jacob that He was real and could deliver on His promises.
Look at Jacob’s situation, he was alone, scared, hungry, and short on clothing. We have no record of Jacob even mentioning God, except for once when quoting his father. God provides a vision that leaves no doubt in Jacob’s mind that he has experienced his father and grandfather’s God in an unique way.
The promises of God are the basis for our hope. Whether those are the Psalms or Emmanuel (God with us) or the words of Jesus, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Jacob’s promise is conditional, because he knows God holds all the power, and his safety, food, clothing and return to his father’s house, still depends on God’s grace.
Like most of us, when we see what God can do, and how He keeps his promises, we are more than willing to show our love and devotion by being obedient to worship, praise and sacrifice. Jacob will grow with God, and continue to learn to trust in His promises. Jacob’s trials are not over, he will never see his mother again, he will be forced to marry a women he does not love and will be abused by his uncle/father-in-law. But, Jacob carries with him the vision given to him by God on that night near Bethel. I can imagine the words of the Lord ringing in Jacob’s ears, “I will not leave you until I have done everything that I have promised you.”