Monday, March 23, 2015

"Jacob's Rock Moment"

Jacob woke with a start. Looking around, he calmed slightly when he realized that no one was around. Then he remembered.

That dream.

"The Lord is in this place!" There was no one around, but reverent fear consumed his soul. Looking around he spoke to himself, "How awesome is this place! This is none other then the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven." Closing his eyes, he watched as glimpses of the dream flashed before his mind's eye.

The dream was other-worldly. Heavenly. Stairs sat upon the earth, and it extended all the way into Heaven. Jacob could see the angels of God ascending and descending on the steps. The Lord God stood at the top.

And He spoke to Jacob. The words still resounded in his ears.

"I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth 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 promised you."

Orange rays of light started to stretch their sleepy limbs across the horizon. Jacob sat with his back against the rock he had used as a pillow, absorbing the dream.

God, the God of his ancestors, the God of everything, was offering to team up with him. Help him. Provide for him. What had he done to deserve this? He snorted. Nothing. He had done nothing. Jacob knew he should get the exact opposite. He had been a liar and a cheat. All his schemes had resulted in him fleeing from his angry brother who was bent on killing him.

He didn't deserve this.

Did that matter? God was giving it to him, and he wanted it. Oh, he really wanted it. He wanted God in his corner.

Jacob stood up, stretching towards the awakening heavens. What could he do in return? All he had were the clothes on his back and a small bag of provisions. Giving his torn garments and moldy bread didn't exactly scream life-changing commitment.

Turning slightly, he sat down on his pillow-now-turned-chair rock.

What could he do for God? How could He show God and himself that he was serious?

Bolting upright, he spun around and dropped to his knees. The stone! He would make a pillar with the stone. Something he would see and remember. The only thing that had given him comfort since he had fled his home.

Setting it upright like a pillar, Jacob fished through his bag to find a the small vial of oil he had stashed in there. Pulling the cork out with this teeth, Jacob dumped it all over the rock.

His testament.

Standing up, he raised his hands towards the gate of Heaven, and spoke to his Lord. "If you God will be with me and 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 you Lord shall be my God, and this stone, Bethel, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be god's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you."

Now, his promise would be forever marked with the pillow stone in Bethel.

Story by V. Joy Palmer. Based on Genesis 28:10-22
It is hard to believe that we are here today celebrating our second year anniversary! Amazing as it seems today is our 730th post. Now that may not seem to be 'all that' to you but to us it is amazing because it means that for 730 days straight we have looked to and received from heaven a fresh word to share with the nations!

As I end that statement I have had to stop and pause because the awe of such a thing is slightly overwhelming. I can only sit here; my heart full with such an overwhelming sense of His presence, which to be honest has also seemed to cause tears to be flowing freely! I am feeling so overwhelmed by the faithfulness and the goodness of our God that He would use us in such a way!

I say all that because 730 days ago God answered the cry of my heart for more of Him in my life with these life changing words, "Rie, I want you to start a daily devotional!" My response was short and to the point. I quickly and vehemently said, "Are You crazy! I can't! Its too hard! I don't have time!" Obviously He quickly laid to rest my excuses! He then gave me the names of three other people He wanted me to 'enlist' and here we are 730 days later, with not one, but two devotionals going out to the nations everyday. (At the end of the first year we also started Snack Pack for Kidz)

So, here we are 730 days into this amazing endeavor, declaring to you the faithfulness of our God to speak new every morning! And that also brings us to today's message. He is faithful!

I shared this message at our youth meeting a couple of weeks ago and when we were talking about what to do to mark our two year anniversary Joy said that she thought that it needed to be this message. So, Joy, in the way she does so well, has written about Jacob's moment of decision up above. In it we find that Jacob is on the run to escape his brother who desires to kill him. He has left the safety of everything he knows behind him and as it comes on nightfall, he takes a stone to use as a pillow and he goes to sleep. As you know he has a dream. It has a ladder/stairway with angels ascending and descending and it goes all the way up to heaven. God speaks to him in the dream and at the end God makes this final promise, "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 promised you." Genesis 28:15

Jacob wakes and for the first time in his life realizes that the God of his father is real. "Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it." Genesis 28:16 It is at this point that he knows that he wants the God of his father to be his God! He realizes that God is promising to do just that, despite the actions that have brought him to this place.

As a youth pastor I love this! This is the moment when this church kid chooses God for himself! It is also in this moment that he feels the need to mark the occasion! So he takes the only thing he has available, the stone he had used as a pillow. He anoints it with oil to consecrate it as a symbol of his vow back to God.

God simply told him He was with him and would keep him, now, in the future, and that He would even be with his descendants. Check out his vow in the account above and you'll see that Jacob basically tells God that "if you'll feed me, cloth me, be with me wherever I go, and bring me peace with my family, I'm yours." He put himself in agreement with God's promise to him. He didn't ask for the world here. He asked for the basic necessities of life and he acknowledged his commitment to God and God's commitment to bring it to pass with a rock and some oil.

It was just a rock and a rock doesn't seem like much to you and I but the truth is it doesn't take much. Jacob took the one thing he had available to him in this moment which was just a simple stupid rock.  Then he took that rock and he used it to consecrate this moment because it was in this moment he was entrusting God's faithfulness to bring His promise to pass with his own faithfulness to serve.

What about you? Is there a specific promise that God has made to you about your life and or your specific needs? Find your stone! What can you give to Him to mark your agreement with His faithfulness to bring it to pass in your life? Find your stone! Mark the moment because He is faithful and just like in the life of Jacob (Genesis 28-33) He 'will be with you and will keep you wherever you go,' and 'He will not leave you until He has done what He has promised you.'

Find your stone and mark your moment!

God Bless and thanks for your support!!!

Staff of Snack Time Devotions

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