I have strong opinions about pillows. I like my own memory foam pillow very best and haul it around on road trips, vacations, and anywhere for overnights within driving distance. Plane trips usually eliminate my ability to bring my favorite pillow, or else I’d be stuck with two outfits and no deodorant…but I’d have a really great pillow for my trip.
A man named Jacob sets out on a trip in the Bible. His job on this trip is to find a wife. Jacob, of all the Bible folks who have gone before us, brings out the judgmental side of me. He’s wildly conniving. He fools his parents, throws his brother under the bus known as life, and treats his wives with grave selfishness, in my opinion.
Jacob is a walking testament that God works through people who just might get on our nerves on a regular basis. The account of God’s promises to Jacob in Genesis 28:10-22 reminds us that God gives good along the roads of our lives, whether we are “good” people. God will use anyone. That’s His way – the rain falling on the just and the unjust – but for us to see Him using us, for us to get to meet with Him and be a part of His use of our strengths, our weaknesses, our high roads, and our low roads, there is one requirement, and Jacob had it:
Belief in the promise.
God, throughout Scripture, sets Himself as a Guidepost for us to follow. He comes to us over and over again. He walks and talks with Adam and Eve in the Garden. The Angel of the Lord visits Abraham. He was fire and clouds to the Israelites in the wilderness. God spoke to and through the prophets. Then He sent Jesus into our world. He met with His people. He taught. He miracled (I feel like we can make “miracle” a verb where Jesus is concerned). He suffered and died and rose. God sent the Holy Spirit. God created the Church. God continues to bring the Living Word to us, His Body and Blood, His Spirit:
We believe in the promise.
These are the guideposts. It sounds a little like a creed as I list them, doesn’t it? The standard creeds agreed upon by the Christian Church are meant to remind us of these promises. They are posts, guiding us along our road, trail markers reminding us where the path of life remains, when we feel lost, confused, or wonder if wandering might be our best bet.
Read a small segment of Jacob’s larger story in Genesis 28:10-22. Follow the rock in the story and find the promise attached, not to the rock, but to the rock Maker.
Jacob slept on a rock. That’s not comfortable, but God brings comfort. He soothes the weary traveler and brings a dream filled with promises. Upon waking, Jacob declares the Holiness of God’s presence, in this place of monotony. Jacob anoints the rock he slept on with oil. He marvels at God’s great, big, awesome, fruitful Promised Land, whether he understood the big picture of God’s actual promises or not. Jacob left this rock to declare this story later to his offspring, to his people, possibly to his parents, to his neighbors, and maybe even to his self-righteous Uncle Laban who had his own issues.
Just like Jacob we look at how God meets with us on the roads in our lives and proclaim –
“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”
“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:16-17
But it is God who creates the guidepost, God who holds the promise.
God works in our lives as He leaves stones along the path.
The stones show us His path. They show those around us His path.
What are these stones? They look different for each of us, but some are the same — our baptisms, a Sunday School lesson, a special and encouraging teacher who brings a Jesus lesson into our adolescence, our confirmations, that first bite of forgiveness and drink of mercy, a family member who is faithful, and on and on. He reveals Himself to us as we read His promises, recite His creeds, as He brings people to walk alongside us and turn us around as we wander off the path.
Jeremiah 31:21 is God’s Word to His people when they forgot. We are for sure forgetters, but God, He’s faithful. Consider this verse with the reminder of all the markers, the stones, the guideposts, God has woven into your life.
“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.”
List in the comments a few of the markers and stones our Guidepost, our Savior, has placed on your path, rather than vagueness, tell us a date, or a description of that stone. I’ll leave mine in the first comment.
We traverse in this life, we leave things behind like Jacob, we make mistakes, we lollygag, we wander, we press on.
And He guides all the way.
Up Next - God is Bigger Than Our Whys
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