by Rev. Raffi Messerlain ; President of the World C.E. Network and a Pastor in Lebanon
In Genesis 28:10-22 (scroll down for scripture), there is an interesting encounter between Jacob and God, which happens in a dream after Jacob flees his father’s home because he is threatened by his brother Esau. Jacob starts a new phase in his life, which will extend over more than twenty years.
This encounter is God’s revelation to Jacob, where God is revealing His identity as being the God of Abraham and Isaac, and reminding and reassuring Jacob of His promise to give him and his people the land where he is lying, and use him and his people to carry God’s work and be a blessing to the nations of the earth. This promise is God’s provision to Jacob, to be an instrument to God for going forward with His work of salvation.
God’s encounter with Jacob is an important experience which creates in Jacob fear, and leads him into a moment of worship. This moment contains God’s call for a life of commitment and faithfulness in carrying His work.
Isn’t this the aim of any encounter with God?
Jacob responds to God’s blessings by acknowledging God as his personal God, and by committing to give a tenth of what he owns.
As Christian Endeavourers who are spread all over the world, and as we pray together, let us remember that our prayer is the spiritual moment where we encounter God and His call. We are once again challenged to be a blessing for God in 2020. The best way to do this is by renewing our personal commitment to be faithful to our pledge, and humbly and faithfully endeavor to lead his cause in our churches and communities.
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”