Now, after six parts of the introduction, I want to hang out with Jacob. In his life, we find many God-lessons we can learn to see the beginning of God’s fulfilled promises in our life. Recognizing the potential hazards is critical, as are a listening ear, a heart to obey, and a walk of integrity. Even though we don’t initially see these in Jacob’s person, God effects a tremendous change in his life to birth a nation. There is one thing that Jacob did know that we have not yet addressed, and if this seems familiar to you, see my post from last July The Almond Blossom (comingdawnministries.org).
After Isaac blesses Jacob in Genesis 28:10-15, Jacob leaves Beer-sheba, traveling toward Haran and his relatives to search out a wife – a partner in the promise. Verse eleven states, “He reached a certain place…He took one of the stones from the place, put it there at his head, and lay down in that place.” Any guess where that “certain place” was? It is the site where Abraham first built an altar to God (Gen. 12:8). In his travels, Jacob passes by the very place Abraham constructed in humility to worship the Lord, and it is upon one of these rocks that Jacob places his head. During the evening, God stands next to Jacob and reiterates the promise to him.
Jacob rested his head on a stone from an altar built by a predecessor, his grandfather, Abraham. When you’re on this adventure of a lifetime, and it appears as though you are moving away from the promised land rather than retaining it, and you don’t understand what God is doing, remember, you aren’t the first person who has traversed this road. Many, like you, have been thrust into a position of utter dependence on God and have learned the secret of the altar. When you aren’t in a place to build an altar of your own, rest on the stones that built another’s. When God meets with you, it will quickly become your own.
What do I mean by that? Many times during our ministry, Walter and I have felt alone and destitute. We didn’t understand what God was doing, even though we knew we were walking in obedience to Him. It was during those times when we were able to look at my parents and other ministers who have spoken truth into our lives and rested on the fact that the same God who had met them in the desert would meet us there, as well. When you’re weary, and you need to rest, remember, the promise is to you and your children. The promises that God made to Abraham are the same He made to Jacob, are the same that you and I have been grafted into. 2 Corinthians 1:20 states, “For all the promises of God in Him [Jesus Christ] “Yes,” and in Him “Amen,” to the glory of God through us.” The promise is to you. When you can’t see what God is doing, look back at what He has already done and rest in that.
God promises Jacob that He will bring Jacob back to the land and “will not leave until I have done what I have promised you” (Gen. 28:15). If God seems to be moving you out of the place of promise, there is a reason. In Jacob’s case, God needed to develop the prophetic in him. Jacob wasn’t in a position to be entrusted with the load that carrying such a promise required. His time had not yet come. So this, too, is noteworthy: the promise is always larger than yourself. Only God can fulfill it because it transcends the generations. At the same time that Jacob is on his journey, Isaac is carrying the burden of the call – dealing with disgruntled daughters-in-law and an angry son who is giving birth to more angry sons. There is always a predecessor. Someone else is protecting the same promise at the moment you’re being positioned to receive it. That is why we cannot despise our elders and those who go before us. There is wisdom in their journey. Wisdom upon which we can rest our head when needed.
God desires that the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac will become the God of Jacob and the God of you and me. He promises in verse fifteen, “Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” No matter where the journey takes us, God vows to be with us. He will not abandon us. He gets no glory when we do not make our destination. God has a vested interest in you accomplishing all He has called you to – generations to be precise – from Abraham to you. Don’t allow yourself to grow discouraged. As Paul told the Galatians, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (6:9).
Better to rest your head on a hard place in order to see God’s promise achieved than a feather pillow and find your life has amounted to nothing. When you’re tired, place your head on the altar and meet with God. You’ll find that His promises are sure, and He has not changed. Rest on the Rock that higher!
Father, I am weary. I don’t understand why I’m headed in the direction I am. It seems contrary to the promises You have given. Despite that, I reaffirm my trust in You. You’ve been faithful to past generations, and You will continue to be faithful to me. Help me rest in the fact that You are perfecting me for the promise. Thank you that everything You are doing is not only for my benefit but also for future generations. Help me learn my lessons well so that I can step into all that You have for me, as You make me a strong vessel, capable of carrying the promise. Teach me to rest on the altar. Amen.