Jacob’s Trip Toward Trust, Part One
Authored by Jewel Roque
Jacob is a Bible character that brings to mind images of cheating and deceiving. The very name means “supplanter,”1 and that’s what he did to get what he perceived would be the best out of life.2
Jacob’s smooth talking and timely cooking deceptively earned him the birthright of a firstborn son. Following his mother’s advice and dressing up like his brother got him the special blessing usually only given to the first son: God will bless you, my son, with dew from heaven and with fertile fields, rich with grain and grapes. Nations will be your servants and bow down to you. You will rule over your brothers, and they will kneel at your feet. Anyone who curses you will be cursed; anyone who blesses you will be blessed.3
Looks like Jacob is all set.
He got the birthright. He got the blessing.
Things didn’t turn out quite the way he expected. After all, you can’t mess with a bigger brother and expect to get off scot-free.
His mom knew his brother had it in for him, and she didn’t want to lose her favorite son. So with his mother’s directions and his father’s blessing, he sets out.
Within a short time of receiving his blessing, he was basically not much more than an outcast, escaping for his very survival, his brother breathing out threats of hatred and revenge.
He takes off to a land he’s never been to.
He knows what direction he is headed—to the home of his mother’s relatives—but what awaits him there, he does not know.
All the unexpected difficulties he was suddenly facing must have come together to form a gigantic question mark in his mind as he headed out alone.
He stops to rest for the night—the clothes he wears his only cover, a stone his pillow, the ground his bed. He falls asleep in weariness of body and emptiness of soul.
And there he dreams of a ladder that stretches all the way to heaven. Of angels ascending and descending to and from the presence of the Lord.
God speaks and gives Jacob a promise: I am the LORD God who was worshiped by Abraham and Isaac. I will give to you and your family the land on which you are now sleeping. Your descendants will spread over the earth in all directions and will become as numerous as the specks of dust. Your family will be a blessing to all people. Wherever you go, I will watch over you, then later I will bring you back to this land. I won’t leave you—I will do all I have promised.4
When Jacob awakes, he says, “The Lord is in this place, and I didn’t even know it.”5
The beautiful truth we often fail to see is that the Lord is in every place.
In every difficult experience.
In every trying relationship.
In every hard-to-understand individual.
In every lonely place.
In every forgotten tear.
He is there, reaching out, making Himself known through His expressions of love: A hopeful thought. An encouraging dream. A motivational word. A heart-warming hug. An unexpected friendship.
In every moment that we find hope, and in each instance we feel grace, Christ is there saying, “I am with you in this place, and you are not alone.”
Like Jacob, we might have done something that causes us to fear that we’ve fallen from grace, or that a dark spot is etched on our eternal record.
But if you open your heart to His Word, you’ll find that you are not far from grace.
Jesus is right there, whispering to your heart that there is a time to every purpose6—even the difficult ones.
After all, He, whose essence is love, is the one who is present at every moment of your life.
He is with you always, even to the ends of the age, promising to bring life to every perceived death and showing you the rainbow through every storm cloud.
After hearing God’s promise, Jacob took his stone-pillow and set it up as a sort of altar.
He then made a vow of his own, back to the Lord:
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.7
It sounds like he isn’t fully convinced, even after his vision of heavenly things.
Aren’t we like that sometimes? We receive a promise or an answer to prayer, we see a miracle or something turn out just the way we had hoped, yet we’re still not quite sure that God has it all figured out from beginning to end.
We still need to lay out our terms: “If You do this and this and this, oh, and this as well, then I’ll trust You and You will be my God.”
The amazing thing is, He doesn’t fault us for that. He understands that in this world we have to take things by faith rather than know them by sight. He takes us where we’re at and continually encourages us to follow, to increase our faith by keeping our eyes on Him and following Him step by step.
As we do so, we’ll discover that He does make good on His promises. We will be able to say, with Joshua, “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”8
For Jacob, the path to complete faith and trust was a long and trying journey. But that’s another story … coming soon!
1 Definition of “supplanter”
2 Genesis 27:26
3 Genesis 27:28–29 CEV
4 Genesis 28:13–15 CEV
5 Genesis 28:16 CEV
6 Ecclesiastes 3:1
7 Genesis 28:20–22 NIV
8 Joshua 23:14 NIV
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2013 by The Family International