Lessons from the life of Jacob.
With mistakes fresh in his past and the stolen blessing of his father in his pocket, a young man makes his way through the wilderness. He runs from the wrath of his brother, and each step takes him farther from home. Every mile brings him closer to the unknowns of the future. He is on his way and in the midst of his journey.
A certain place.
“Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.”–Genesis 28:10-11
This young man, Jacob, comes to a certain place that has been marked on the calendar of God for a life-changing encounter.
Grasping for what belonged to a brother, does he wear the weight of guilt like a coat? This one who takes what he wants, does he wonder if he has what it takes?
Partway between yesterday and tomorrow, between past and future Jacob squints into the setting sun as the day closes. He is alone. More alone than he has ever been.
- Alone—brothers divided.
- Alone—parents left behind.
- Alone with his plotting and striving.
Under a thick black sky, he lays his head on a rock, with the grit of the trail clinging to his skin. It is another reminder that he has left the comforts and security of home far behind.
What thoughts drift through his mind as he sinks into a heavy sleep? Is he thinking of his sins and mistakes? Does he wonder what tomorrow will bring? Is he homesick, regretting his actions?
When God becomes real.
Jacob has grown up hearing the stories and promises of the God of his fathers. Again and again, the history has been retold by light of the evening fire. Yet though he knows the stories, they have not become truth to him yet. God is still impersonal, shrouded in the mist of someone else’s experience.
I have a son, a young man who stands at the brink of adulthood, the future opening before him as he takes his college diploma in his hand. My daughters stand right behind him as they all prepare for adulthood. Maybe that is why this familiar story touches my heart with a fresh urgency.
How did this time come so quickly? Seems like only a few years ago that I held his tiny, perfect body close to my heart for the first time. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago he was tearing into the house with roller blades on his feet and braces on his teeth?
The rites of childhood and the passage of adolescence have come and gone. He stands tall and strong, with a heart full of dreams for the future. He also carries the uncertainty of knowing for sure what he wants to do, what direction he is headed.
He stands in an uncertain place.
Strategic truth gives direction.
Yes that certain place is a time ripe with the presence of God intervening in a life to give direction and purpose.
Are you praying for God’s certain place for someone in your life?
Sometimes God speaks too deeply to the heart to be contained in a single blog post. Here are the other posts that continue this story:
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