Beating ourselves up for our sinful ways is something I suspect we all do it from time to time and running away to hide is as old as the first practitioners of the behavior, Adam and Eve. As a practice of self-imposed chastisement for believing we are contemptible, we deny ourselves niceties–Adam and Eve opted for itchy fig leaves and here in our story Jacob chooses for his pillow a stone.
We need to stop. It might seem prejudicious or discriminatory, but what was acceptable for Jacob is not satisfactory for us. Remember, Jacob did not have the direction of the Ten Commandments as we do—that magnificent road sign that tells us who we are (sinners) and to Whom we need to go (Jesus the Christ). When we run, when we hide, when we beat ourselves up, we are essentially denying the genuineness of the truth we already know—Jacob did not yet possess such a luxury.
Jacob Sees Jesus
And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:51
What happens next in Jacob’s life can be likened to what occurs in our lives when we acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior—the recognition of being saved by God and for God! Qualities and activities emerge from Jacob’s experience that can best be categorized as the characteristics of a new believer.
The Born Again Disposition
When a Christian comes into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ—when there is recognition of God’s presence, provision, and promise in a life, certain traits exemplified by Jacob begin to appear. Oh not by way of fleshly endeavors, but rather works of God–supernatural occurrences enabling us to function unselfishly and with Divine focus and purpose. While not an exhaustive list, these three elements will be apparent:
Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. Genesis 28:18
There is just something about being rescued that brings out the best in a person–the greater the liberation the larger the gratitude, but when these events occur in the worldly arena, in time appreciation tends to fade. Not so with salvation in Christ Jesus—the ramifications of salvation are immeasurable and the homecoming is inevitable.
…And of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You Genesis 28:22
A saved Christian knows that nothing done in the flesh got him to this point—the work of salvation was finished by Jesus on the cross. With that knowledge and as we gain insight to God’s will, we begin to function in response. Christian service and stewardship is really nothing more than Spirit-guided gestures that acknowledge God’s dominion and authority.
So Jacob went on his journey…Genesis 29:1
With the narrow path comes the expectation and hope of forward progression. Despite occasional stumbles, retreats, or seasons of idleness, the born again believer will be in the practice of advancing towards a common goal with like-minded believers—a plan orchestrated and designed by God and for His good pleasure.