Today we begin a new devotional series, continuing with another book written by David Ramos. We finished last week with our look at the life of Abraham; today we begin our look at another Old Testament patriarch, Jacob. The book is Escaping with Jacob. The story of Jacob is the story of a man who is perfectly imperfect. He makes mistake after mistake; but in the brutal honesty of his life we can have hope. God doesn't want "veiled" or pretend versions of us; God knows the real us, including the bad choices we seem to habitually make, and that our response when these things happen is to run away. But Jacob's life shows us the better option: to run towards God. The story of Jacob reminds us that God is patient and kind and love us so much that it doesn't make sense. It's ridiculous for God to keep forgiving Jacob, and to keep steering him back onto the right track, but God does - over and over again. Jacob's story gives us hope. Hope to know that we matter to God and that God doesn't count our mistakes against us. The story of Jacob is a story of becoming transformed; and just as God transformed Jacob, so God wants to transform you.
Week 1: Read Genesis 25:19-26 (A Painful Beginning)
"Isaac, Abraham's son and Jacob's father, was born into a situation of promise. For Jacob, the situation is much different because he is born into a setting of turmoil. Isaac is well into his manhood by now; caring for and growing the inheritance his father Abraham had left him. But like his father before him, Isaac and his wife Rebekah had yet to give birth to an heir.
Isaac prays for a son and eventually (some 20 years later) Rebekah becomes pregnant. But this is not the end of their struggles. The two children within her battle and she can feel that something isn't right. So like her husband, she prays. God answers that the two children within her will come to represent two rival nations, wherein the older will serve the younger. Shortly after Rebekah gives birth, another struggle ensures. As the twins emerge, the younger twin grasps onto the older one's heel, and brings upon himself the name Jacob (aka, the heel-grabber or deceiver).
The story of Jacob is a powerful story of redemption, struggle, and forgiveness. But if you were to read only the first chapter, you would have no idea the exceptional life this child was bound to live. If you only looked at his beginning or at his name, or at the broken relationships he has within his family, you would miss so much.
Jacob's story, like our own, is a tale of becoming. His early mistakes and misdirections are the source of so much pain for so many people. But they are not the end of his story; and they are not the end of yours either. God takes Jacob and makes every area of his life new. There was never a day God did not have a beautiful plan in mind for Jacob. No matter how painful the beginning of your story might be, God is in the process of redeeming it!"
Takeaway from today's lesson: What is happening right now will fit into God's plan for my life.
Prayer: God, thank you that the beginning of my story is just that, only the beginning. Amen.