2015-2016 Bible Challenge, devotionals

Because the Lord your God… (a devotion)

But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” [Jacob] answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.” ~ Genesis 27:20

With the story of Isaac’s son and Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, we are introduced to a series of schemes that ultimately work out for good (though the schemes themselves are not so good). Before he and his twin brother, Esau, were born, God told Rebekah that the boys striving together in the womb represented two nations which would come from them and be at odds with each other. And in a reversal of roles, “The older shall serve the younger” (25:23).

Jacob started early, grasping his brother’s heel as they came out of the womb. So he earned a name which could be translated he cheats or he deceives. When the boys had grown and Esau was desperate for food, Jacob conned him out of his birthright (which, also, Esau willingly gave up). Then when Isaac was old and at the end of his life, with the help of Rebekah Jacob conned their father for the blessing he wished to give to Esau.

It was in that moment that Isaac asked his son how he came about game meat for the stew so quickly, and we see Jacob’s response: Because the Lord YOUR God granted me success.

This reveals the heart of Jacob at the time. Though he was to be the son of promise of the son of promise, he lived disconnected from the God of his father and grandfather. A chapter later, on his way to seek a wife from his uncle’s family, Jacob lays down to sleep and has a dream in which God repeats the promises that started with Abraham in Genesis 12.

Still, when he woke, he made a vow which seems reluctant and demanding: “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God” (28:20-21). It was not until years later with two wives and children that Jacob really seemed to grasp the reality of God. In chapter 32, fearing what Esau might do to him and his family, he cried out in desperation. But the reality of God’s presence truly set in when Jacob wrestled with God and received a dislocated hip, a new name, and a blessing.

For many people today, God seems distant—a deity who worked well for their parents or grandparents, a god they see as your god instead of my God. Some even demand signs: “I’ll believe he is God and follow him, if…”

Yet God has given us his word, hope, and promise. He has told us of his plan to bless and restore the world through Christ. He has promised us personal salvation as part of a cosmic salvation, if only we will believe in and follow Jesus as the Savior-King. He has given us Jesus as the fulfillment of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their heritage is ours if we follow their footsteps of faith.

We don’t have to wait for God to act with something greater. Jesus is the greatest treasure we could have. But we must come to that point where we can look around and not say “your God” but rather say “my God.”

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