Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Angels along the way

Jacob flees Laban - Artist unknown
Jacob flees Laban - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 31:43-32:12

TO CHEW ON: "So Jacob went on his way and the angels of God met him." Genesis 32:1

Jacob was between a proverbial rock and hard place. If we read the part of the story between yesterday's reading and today's, we see that Jacob was restless and wanted to leave Laban's compound. But when he had tried to leave some years earlier, Laban hadn't let him go. Now he sensed a fall from favour with Laban and his sons (Genesis 31:1,2). And he heard from God: "Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you" (Genesis 31:3).

In typical Jacob fashion he sneaked away—if a cavalcade of camels, sheep and goats can be said to sneak. Of course Laban soon found out and went after him.

God intervened on Jacob's behalf with Laban, warning him to treat his son-in-law neutrally. And so when they met there was an attempt at explaining on Jacob's part, some scolding on Laban's, an accusation of idol-stealing and an unfruitful search, a formal good-bye meal, a pile of memorial stones/border marker set up, hugs and kisses all around, and then Laban said goodbye and left. The strings were cut. Jacob was on his own.

But not really. For at this point we read the short statement: "So Jacob went on his way and the angels of God met him."

He would recognize them for he had seen them twenty years earlier on a heavenly ladder. How reassuring it must have been for him to know that though his father-in-law was displeased with him and he now had his estranged brother Esau's territory to cross, God hadn't forsaken him.

I believe we will experience the same sense of God's presence, know the comfort of His companionship when we obey. It may mean cutting ties to family (in a variety of ways), leaving the comforts of the familiar, setting out on what seems like a lonely journey. But God will also send His messengers, His angels (perhaps in the guise of other people, in words heard or read, in the lyrics of songs, or any number of ways) to meet us on the road of obedience.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that when we're obedient, walking under Your direction, You accompany us and send encouragement and strengthening along the way. Amen.

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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.

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