Peace be with you!
You never know how much an impact an action has on others until you do it. Whether you open a door for a stranger, share your story, write a meaningful blog post –even if it is just about your ordinary life— you make an impact on others. A hug shows the other person you care about their well-being. A card in the mail tells a person you are thinking and praying for them no matter how far apart you are. The impact goes further than you think.
In the last devotion, Jacob conned Esau out of his birthright as the eldest (Genesis 25:29-31). Even though a sovereign God used Jacob’s selfish actions to accomplish God’s will, Isaac and Rebekah shun Jacob (Genesis 27:41-45) for a time, forcing him to leave Beer-sheba and to go to Haran (Genesis 28:10). The impact of Jacob’s cunning ways is that it makes him a fugitive without place to call home. He is stumbling in the wilderness in a state of limbo when he stops to sleep for the night. The Lord visits Jacob in a dream where angels ascend and descend on a ladder to heaven (Genesis 28:12). The ladder makes the Lord accessible to Jacob, even if he cannot climb the ladder into heaven.
The Lord says, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15 NRSV).
The Lord expands the promise he made to Abraham and Sarah by adding the earthly elements of dust and land. Not only will Jacob’s offspring be numerous, but they will also be prosperous in their lives. The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac becomes the God of Jacob who will never abandon or disown Jacob.
The Lord also promises Jacob to be with him, protect him, and provide for him as he continues on his journey to Haran. When he wakes up, Jacob worships the Lord for being with him and promising to stay with him (Genesis 28:16). He names the place where he sleeps “Bethel” (Genesis 28:19a) and places the stone he used as a pillow as the pillar (Genesis 28:18) for the Lord promises to bring him back to this place. The Lord will return Jacob to Bethel, his new home. The impact of the Lord’s promise draws Jacob closer to him. Jacob no longer feels alone. He also has a sense of what the Lord has planned for him.
The moment you feel alone and forgotten, remember the Lord is with you anywhere and everywhere you go. When everyone abandons and disowns you, the Lord is with you to carry you through the difficult times. Being faithful to the Lord is not the easiest job, while other times the Lord uses our sinfulness to still fulfill his plan. Following the Lord can cause you to be banished or shunned for a time, but it will always lead you where you need to be. Like Jacob, you need to ground yourself in the Lord by believing he will see you through [whatever “it” is] you are dealing with. When I got divorced, I thought I would be alone and depressed. However, I found out I had even more friends and opportunities than I thought. Your life is impacted by the Lord’s promises, where he sends you, and why he sends you there. The Lord does not promise to give you an easy life but to provide what you need and to protect you.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for expanding your promise to Jacob. Help us to feel your presence in our lives. Lead us to do small steps to help others. Thank you for your promise to provide and protect. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- How do you make an impact in the lives of others?
- Where and how have you felt the Lord’s presence?