The Restored Orchard

Deeper Roots – Genesis 28:16-22

A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 28:16-22.

 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” 17 But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!”

18 The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. 19 He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz.

20 Then Jacob made this vow: “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, 21 and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will certainly be my God. 22 And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.”

Genesis 28:16-22 NLT

Our Deeper Roots passage in Genesis demonstrates an example of a believer’s response to God’s presence. Our scripture selection begins right after Jacob wakes up from a dream where he had been visited by God. His initial reaction was awareness that, at first, he did not recognize God and then he shifted to fear/reverence. The next morning, Jacob woke up and took the stone he used as a pillow to create a pillar. He renamed the place Bethel and made a vow, that Bethel would be a place of worship and tithing.

Jacob was running. His father’s blessing. His brother’s death threats. His mother’s escape plan. So many things could have been on Jacob’s mind as he drifted off to sleep. But God used Jacob’s dream as a means to communicate His blessing and remind Jacob that HE would be with him. Moved by that experience, Jacob set up that rock as a sacred pillar, a symbol of God’s presence. Renaming places is often a sign of remembering events that took place there. But he took it a step further, he made a vow pledging to give back to God. This vow is a response to show that Jacob truly recognizes his dependance on God.

This passage shows us an example of responding to the presence and promise of the Lord. First, Awareness. How many times do we allow the circumstances around us to shift our focus from God? Perhaps, God is speaking all along, but the echoes of the world are a distraction. Of course, God can cut through the noise, whenever He desires. But, positioning ourselves to rest and receive are key. Second, Fear. True fear of the Lord is reverence for His sovereignty. We must acknowledge that remaining in submission to His will is more important than anything else. Third, Transformation. Changing mindsets and actions to remain in alignment with God’s will. Living lives that demonstrate that we are new creatures with divine purpose. Making a promise and keeping God at the center. And finally, Remember. It is so easy to forget how much God has done and will do if there’s nothing to recall. Making a marker or a point of reference to bring to mind when times get tough is important. Jacob serves as an example of one way to respond to the presence of the Lord. Are there any passages where you’ve seen similar patterns emerge?

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