So, for those of you who know me, you know that I’m part of Gander Brook Christian Camp’s board of directors. Something interesting coming out of a board meeting today is that Gander Brook will be starting the Gander Brook Center for Christian Leadership. It’s a school of sorts that focuses on leadership for the churches of Christ in New England — preachers, elders, deacons, informal leaders, and those who aspire to leadership. If you live in New England, look for more information soon.
But back to our main purpose here, the reading of and thinking about God’s word. Today’s reading is about Jacob, his fleeing from his brother Esau, and his new life in Haran. What can we learn here? I’ll make just one observation tonight.
Making deals with God? Jacob was an inveterate wheeler dealer. As he receives a revelation and promise from God, he tries to cinch up an insurance deal from God. Notice all the “if” statements — if You’ll do this and that, THEN you’ll be my God. Doubtless Jacob was feeling pretty insecure as he left home for someplace hundreds of miles away he had only heard of. He knew nothing of what the future held and was groping for any shred of hope or advantage. His faith and trust was certainly not that of his grandfather’s, Abraham. God honors Jacob’s “deal” — actually, God is the one who initiates it in the Bethel vision with the ladder up to Heaven — but God puts up with Jacob’s faith immaturity.
Do we try to make “Let’s Make a Deal” with God sometimes. Maybe not consciously, but maybe we back into it. When God doesn’t do X, Y, or Z for us, we can “lose” our faith, we can slink off in a spiritual pout and stop going to church, stop praying, stop reading the Bible, etc. My observation about “atheists” is that more often than not they’re really not so much atheists as they are disappointed believers, angry at God because God didn’t — something. Who are we hurting? God — or ourselves? Can we really manipulate God?
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.
Looking forward to reading your posts! I’m excited that you have started this!
Something that I had not noticed until I re-read this was how Gen 18:19 gives the explanation for why Bethel was named “house of God”.
It is very interesting to consider how Jacob began with what appears to be little faith (although, in reality, it is still great faith), yet Jacob, as an old man in Genesis 48, demonstrated a very mature and full faith as he was blessing the sons of Joseph.
Thanks, David. I’d love to get your views on some of these passages.