God’s Word is full of promises. Often, we live in a “virtual” world somewhere between the promises we know to be true and the doubts that bring the nagging questions. Can Jesus really love me unconditionally? Am I really forgiven? Is there really any hope beyond this world? Jacob experienced those doubts as well.
- What are the areas of your life where you live in doubt and have overlooked God’s promises?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 28:10-22(ESV)
10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “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. 14 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 in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, 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.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- How did God introduce himself to Jacob in verse 13? Why do you suppose God used such an introduction?
- In verses 13-15, there was a blessing and a promise. Summarize the blessing and the promise.
- What can you discern from Jacob’s response in verses 20-22? Did he appear to be fully convinced of the blessing or the promise?
- Have there been times in your own life where you lived in doubt about God’s amazing, unconditional love for you? In those times, did you find yourself seeking his approval in unhealthy ways? If so, what did that look like?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jacob had just received a blessing and a promise from God. The blessing expounded on the blessing he had just received from his earthly father, Isaac. The promise was of God’s presence, protection, and plan. But instead of being affirmed, Jacob immediately doubted God’s blessing and promise. Instead of being “all in,” Jacob moved forward with doubt and trepidation. We need to be careful that we are not following in Jacob’s footsteps, and instead are boldly trusting God to honor his promises to us.
- Ask God to help you identify those areas of your life where you doubt him.
- Ask God to affirm you and build you up to live in his promises. Ask for his help to leave behind the doubt which often paralyzes us and makes us ineffective.