The title of Elder Eck Ulrich’s sermon last week was “The Journey of a Lifetime”, the life story of Jacob. In Genesis 25, starting with verse 21 we read that by the time Isaac was almost 60 years old, he and Rebekah still had no children, so Isaac prayed to the Lord and Rebekah conceived twins. Genesis 25:22-23 tells us that Rebekah was concerned because “the children struggled together within her.” Then the Lord tells Rebekah “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.”
Esau was born first and was red and hairy, Jacob, which means “usurper”, came out second with his hand holding Esau’s heel. The Biblical record tells us that Esau was a hunter and Jacob was a mild man, and that Isaac loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Genesis 25:29-33 tell us the story of how Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for “bread and stew of lentils.”
More time passed, and eventually Rebekah and Jacob deceive Isaac into bestowing the birthright blessing upon Jacob. Genesis 27:41: “So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” In fear for Jacob’s life, Isaac and Rebekah send him away from Beersheba to Rebekah’s childhood home in Padan Aram – a journey of about 470 miles – on foot!
Genesis 28:12-15 tells us about Jacob’s first real encounter with God while he slept with his head on a stone and dreamed. “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.”
God chose to introduce Himself to Jacob at a very low point in his life. Jacob needed encouragement and God showed Jacob what his future could be if He was willing to accept God at His word. Notice that God tells Jacob that He is the God of Abraham and Isaac – He is not yet Jacob’s God. That is a choice that Jacob must make. Jacob makes that choice in verse 20: “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.”
It is that way with each one of us. God is waiting to become your God, my God, but He will not force that choice. Each one of us needs to encounter God personally and accept His promises of blessing, healing and forgiveness. Each one of us needs that new beginning – our own personal walk with God.
If we can be of assistance to you, please call the church at 683-5713, or Elder Eck Ulrich at 683-3343. Check us out at www.avaadventistchurch.org and follow us on Facebook! May God bless and keep you!