Thursday, January 11, 2018


Image: Pixabay
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 35-37

TO CHEW ON: "And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother." Exodus 35:7

Have you experienced God as the God of the full-circle. I have. Though I left home at 18 to work and went away to university halfway across Canada, I ended up teaching in the town a few miles from where I grew up and marrying a man who, as a kid, played in a community band with my dad and brother.

It seems that bringing us back to where we've been before is often God's way of working in our lives.

That was His way with Jacob. Years earlier, while running away from his murderously angry twin Esau, he stopped exhausted at a "certain place," put a stone under his head for a pillow and slept. But over the next hours that no-name place became "Bethel" as God met Jacob there in a dream, comforted him with His presence and promised to bring him back to that very spot. Read about it in Genesis 28:10-22.

Now, many years later, on the way back to the home of his childhood, Jacob is coming full-circle in various ways. The first is re-connecting with his brother, that Esau from whom he had run away all those years ago. He was scared about that meeting, but it turned out okay (Genesis 32:1-33:20).

Then he arrived back to the spot of his dream. I can just see him, looking around, trying to identify landmarks, a familiar tree, perhaps, and certainly that stone he had used as pillow. No doubt he thought back to the promise God had made to him those many years ago. (I wonder if he remembered the promise he had made to God, or whether he kept it - Genesis 28:15,22.)

God spoke to him again at that spot (joy of joys!). He reaffirmed his name change from Jacob (Deceiver, Supplanter) to Israel (Prince with God; He Strives With God; May God Persevere) and promised to make a nation of his family. Looking back over the years since he had been there, he could see how faithful God had been in keeping His promise. A part of that promise ("in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed") echoes down through the years even to us celebrating that blessing — the coming of Jesus — during the Advent season just past.

Take a little time today to reflect on how God has brought you full-circle.
  • Has He or does He keep bringing the same people into your life?
  • Has He brought you back to significant physical locations?
  • Does He remind you of past promises He has made to you? What about the ones you've made to Him?
  • Ask Him to show you what these full-circle experiences mean.
  • Thank Him for His faithfulness.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that you plan, know and see all my days; nothing happens randomly. Help me to notice the patterns in my life and to understand how and why you bring me back. Amen.


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.


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