Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Alone but not alone

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 31:43-32:5

“So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.” - Genesis 32:1

As we read the story of Jacob, we can feel the tension building in him. After years of living by the largesse of his father-in-law (and under the blessing of God), he wanted to make a break and strike out on his own. In fact, God had told him to do so - Genesis 31:3.

There were lots of reasons to stay put. His father-in-law Laban wanted that. And probably at the back of Jacob’s mind was the thought that to move anywhere, especially back to his paternal home, he’d have to deal with the Esau issue. He had left home those many years ago to escape his twin brother’s murderous threats after he (Jacob) stole Esau’s birthright blessing.

Finally, though, it was too much. In the section of Genesis 31 just before our reading is the story of Jacob and his multitude sneaking away from Laban. But Laban would have none of it. He pursued Jacob, caught up to him, and scolded him for not leaving properly.

Today we read how the two families parted ways in Oriental style with ceremony, offerings, memorials, a big meal, promises, hugs, and kisses. Then, at long last, Jacob and his family were officially on their own.

Jacob was, bit by bit, dealing with the roadblocks to what he knew he must do—break with Laban and travel back home. It’s telling that when he was finally alone, God visited him again: “So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him” - Genesis 32:1. His experience reminds us of Abraham’s and how God showed up to him too just after he had parted ways from Lot (Genesis 13:14-18).

Perhaps there’s a lesson here for us. When we’re surrounded by a crowd and all manner of supports, life is too full, too noisy, too complete. We feel we don’t need God.

But when He finally gets us off to ourselves and we face our limitations, past mistakes that still need fixing, fears of all kinds, we find that He is there with us, reassuring us that we aren’t alone at all but in far safer company than when we were in the crowd we just left.

Dear Father, help me to trust in You more than other people and circumstances. Please give me the courage to obey You and leave my securities when You say so. 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.

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