Greetings friends! I am pleased to be doing much better than anytime in the past two years. Back to working out and losing weight. Debbie is in the process of a job assignment change that will give her, hopefully, a lighter schedule and ease her into retirement. During the time all the family was together we took some family pictures. (Here is a sneak preview)
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will 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 the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, 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.” Genesis 28:20-22 ESV
The appearance of the Lord to Jacob at Bethel is of great significance. This is the time when the call of God that began with Abraham and then passed to Isaac is now passed to Jacob who would become known as Israel and the father of the twelve sons who would be the fathers of the twelves tribes of Israel.
Jacob’s “vow” is a response to the call and promise of the Lord. The Lord appears to him in a dream at the top of ladder reaching up to heaven and promises to give him the land where he is and to multiply his “seed” like the “dust of the earth” and be blessed of the Lord. The Lord then gives Jacob this reassurance, “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 29:15 ESV)
This is an amazing promise and future for a man with no wife, no possessions and facing an uncertain future. Yet Jacob recognizes this divine encounter, sets up a stone as a marker of remembrance, pours oil over it and makes his vow to God.
Jacob is declaring, “if God does what He has promised, this is how I will respond, this is what I will do.” He vowed that, “the Lord will be my God.” David declared, “You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you.” (Psalm 118:28 NIV)
Embracing the Lord as “your God” is far different than know about Him, or recognizing Him as being identified with a parent or pastor or friend. As we see in David’s words and in Jacobs vow, embracing the Lord as our God calls for an appropriate response. As a result, the Lord became known as “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
The evidence of Jacob fulfilling his pledge to God is “of all that you give me, I will give a full tenth to you.” I noticed that Jacob didn’t say, “of all that I acquire or earn.” He recognized that all that would come to him in the form of wives, children, livestock, gold, silver, servants, etc. was from God.
Jacob would give a tenth (or a tithe) of all he gained in recognition of God’s blessing, provision and Lordship. He would do it as an act of worship. Even though what he gained would take 20 years and come through hard work, challenges and overcoming obstacles.
These concepts have come to be viewed as principles of stewardship. While that is appropriate, it is important to see how our response to the Lord is a matter of Lordship. It goes beyond “financial management” and involves matters of faith, trust and a commitment to the One who is my God. After Jacob encounter the Lord at Bethel his life was never the same. That is true today when anyone encounters the grace and forgiveness Christ offers and embraces the destiny the Lord has for each of us. It happens when we embrace the Lord as “my God.”