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by Ron Rose
The Transforming Power
    When it was time for Isaac to give his sons their blessing — the father’s vision of their futures- Rebekah and Jacob tricked blind Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing reserved for the oldest. Rather than give God a chance to work out the prophecy he had given Rebekah, they manipulated Isaac so his unalterable blessing would go to Jacob. When Esau discovered what they had done, he was furious and wanted to kill Jacob. To escape the anger of his brother, Jacob was sent to Haran to find a wife, and he left home with nothing but his staff, a walking stick. Jacob now possessed the birthright and the blessing but at the cost of his family and his home.

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’... Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
GENESIS 28:16-22, NIV
    It didn’t take long for God to get this lonely traveler’s attention. In the middle of a restless dream, God took this unpromising young man and gave him a promise —the same promise he had given Abraham. Isaac’s old stories about Abraham’s journey with God must have prepared 3acob for this dramatic encounter, but it was Jacob’s own brokenness that opened his heart to God’s presence.

    The next morning Jacob named that place “Bethel,” meaning “the house of God.” Feeling as if he was standing at the gateway to heaven, a humbled Jacob offered his own modest promise in response to God’s extravagant offer. He said yes to the God of his heritage. Bethel became an anchor point in Jacob’s life. He left committed to God and confident that someday God would restore his family.

Reflection: Our God is in the transformation business. He doesn’t just recover and reclaim us; he restores, revives, and renews. He never leaves us trapped in our weaknesses and failures but instead keeps shaping and molding us as long as we let him. His focus is always on where we’re headed, not where we’ve been.


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