Thursday, March 10, 2011

Genesis 28:12-22 NASB

"And [Jacob] had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven, and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.  And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, 'I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.  Your descendants whall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with you, and will bring 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 promised you."

It goes without saying, that no one has any greater effect over another person than a parent with their child.  Only eternity will tell the full story of the blessing or harm parents have brought to the world by their influence, whether positively or negatively, on their children's lives.  With all that Abraham was, the most impressive thing about him was the testimony he left with his children about God and his relationship with God.  This carried over into Isaac's life.  Their testimony was so clear and so strong that, when God wanted someone to understand who He was, He staked the very knowledge of His name and nature on these men, referring to Himself as "the God of Abraham" and "the God of Isaac".  May God help us to so live that our names can be used to lift up the greatness and goodness of God.  That's how God reached Jacob's self-absorbed heart, as he was fleeing from the mess self-absorbed hearts can create.  Out in the darkness of his own making, Jacob seeks sleep.  And while he slept, God appeared to him in a dream. Jacob was so impacted by this moment that he called the place "Bethel" (The house of God).  It would take him some time, and another traumatic encounter with God, to learn that the promises of God, as given to Abraham and Isaac, are not for self consumption but were meant to impact the world.  For now, he could only see within his little circle called "ME", and he vowed, saying "If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father's house in safety, then the LORD will be my God...and of all You give me I will surely give a tenth to You," (28:20-22).  Eugene Peterson, in his book Eat This Book, says we have replaced the Sovereign God with sovereign self:  "My holy wants, my holy needs and my holy feelings."  This has been the vampire of the church, sucking the lifeblood out of the very heart of mission outreach, which is always OTHERS!  God help us! He can! So that now it's not about me but it's about God's purpose through me: "In you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed."  Amen!

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