A boy sat on a rock with a staff

Coping With A Sticky End!

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Lessons From The Life Of Jacob


When Jacob was running for his life after cheating his brother out of his birthright, he looked anything but the picture of blessing. He was a lonely young man running away from his dysfunctional family, and he had almost nothing to his name – the Bible tells us that all he had was a stick – his staff. When night fell, he had no alternative but to lie on the ground with a stone for his pillow.

A Candidate For The ‘Do-Gooders’

But looks can be deceiving. It might easily have seemed as though Jacob was at the very bottom of the barrel. In modern-day Britain he would certainly have been a candidate for the do-gooders, who would have predicted a no-hope future and rushed around their plush offices arranging housing, ‘care’ and a kick-start into employment.

All these things might have a place, but surely not in the life of a child of God. For that very night Jacob had a dream and suddenly all the hopelessness of his situation was transformed. He saw God, yet he lived. He saw how heaven interacted with earth, and he received promises that gave him the most profound hope for the future. Somehow, despite all the lies and deceit of his upbringing, the King of heaven was with him. He had not been forsaken or forgotten– in fact, the Lord promised, the very land he lay on would be his, and all people on earth would be blessed through him. Grandiose promises for a young man who owned nothing more than a stick, but history has proved them correct.

Bethel, The House Of God

When he awoke, Jacob’s reaction was electrifying. “Surely the Lord is in this place,” he thought, “and I was not aware of it.” He was terrified, and named the place Bethel, the House of God. And there, amid his most abject poverty, Jacob made a pledge before Almighty God – to pay his tithes!

Let’s learn the lesson, and learn it well: one person with God really is in the majority! We can scrabble around in the dust of this world, feeling sorry for ourselves, or we can look beyond the sky to the God who breaks into the affairs of men. Angels really do ascend and descend from heaven to earth. They are ministering spirits, sent to serve those who are inheriting salvation, explains Hebrews chapter one.

And let’s not fall for the claptrap that we poor people really can’t afford to tithe. Jacob demonstrates the reality that you can never be too poor to honour God with your money. In fact, he would have been mad not to. So would we.

Let’s be the people who prove what life can be with the help of heaven on earth.

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