August 28, 2013
Genesis 28:18, 19; 35:6, 7
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
My cousin is quite involved in his church. He told me that he really isn’t very religious, but he is involved in local history, and the old church building with its rich New England history attracts him. I am praying that instead of just feeling the pull of the House of God, he will be attracted to and serve The God of the House of God!
This is the spiritual progression Jacob made in Genesis 28:18 and 19 compared with Genesis 35:6 and 7:
Genesis 28:18 and 19 – Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone
that he had put at his head, set it up for a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And
he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz
Genesis 35:6 and 7 – So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land
of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. And he built an altar there
and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled
from the face of his brother.
In the first scripture, Jacob was fleeing from his brother Esau because he had deceived his father Isaac into giving him the blessing of the firstborn – a patriarchal blessing that included passing the family name, heritage and a double portion of inheritance unto the first male child. Esau intended to kill him.
Esau was the firstborn of Isaac and Rebekah, but only by half a minute before his twin brother Jacob put in his appearance – holding on to brother’s heel! Both boys had their flaws – Esau was a material-minded person and thought little of the immaterial and spiritual side of life. He was a macho type kind of guy who was his father’s favorite. Jacob, on the other hand, was a sensitive man who was his mother’s favorite, often preferring to stay home and cook rather than hunt for game. But his big flaw was deceit! He was from the beginning catching heels to trip up others by his lies.
Apparently, up to the time when he fled from his brother toward the land of his mother’s ancestors, he hadn’t given a lot of thought to the God of his fathers. That first night of his escape, he lay down in the Judean wilderness using a rock for his pillow. He had a dream – recorded in Genesis 28:12-15:
…and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven;
and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold,
the LORD stood above it, and said, “I am the LORD God of Abraham your
father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and
your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you
shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north, and the south; and
in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold,
I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to
this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
Jacob’s response? Read the next two verses, Genesis 28:16 and 17:
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place,
and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this
place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
The story continues with our first scripture at the top of the page.
Jacob was like my cousin. He was impressed by the place more than the God of the place. Sure, he had had a dream direct from God involving angels, but Jacob still did not know The God of the House of God. That didn’t come until many years later.
Oops, this is running too long! I will finish in the next blog on Friday.