Unexpected Encounter

Genesis 28

The story’s simple, yet profound. God’s grace. His amazing grace. Jacob has no hope of earning it…all his scheming, all his wrangling, all his attempts to secure what God had promised, God’s blessings through his own efforts…seem to have backfired. Alone in a dark wilderness, Jacob got what was coming to him.

And then God showed up…everything changed. The ordinary became extraordinary. Any place becomes Bethel…any rock a sacred pillar. Have you had that kind of encounter with God yet? Abraham and Isaac’s faith weren’t enough…Jacob had to have his own encounter with God. That may be one of the most difficult things as a parent…I want so much for my boys to share my faith. But it’s not until it becomes their faith that their faith journey with God begins. And as a parent I don’t get to dictate what that faith journey looks like…only God does.

Likewise for students, your parents’ faith isn’t enough…you have to have your own encounter with God. You have to experience the ordinary becoming extraordinary.

When God shows up, He not only transforms us…death to life, son or daughter of the King… but He also transforms our earthly journey from a touring expedition into a sacred pilgrimage. After encountering God’s presence, Jacob’s life is never the same. Although he is on the same journey, he is now more spiritually aware. Just by becoming aware of God’s presence our chartered paths are transformed. We are on the adventure of faith, a wild, dangerous, unpredictable ride…going where we never thought we would go, doing what we never thought we would do.

Initial God encounters happen when we have a collision with Jesus. He is the link between the earthly and heavenly, the physical and spiritual. He is our only means of being restored to our Creator God. Only He could crush the head of the serpent. He lived a perfect life, died a bloody, horrible death, and was raised again the third day proving that He had conquered both sin and death…so that we too might conquer sin and death through faith in Him.

Having believed, God encounters should be a daily occurrence…the ordinary becoming extraordinary. But for too many of us, the wonder and mystery, the danger in following Jesus has become routine. We no longer see the extraordinary. It’s just any place and any rock. God wants so much more for us. He wants us to encounter Him afresh and experience life He called us to…this wild, crazy adventure of faith. He wants us to see every person we meet as an eternal soul that will spend eternity either with Him or apart from Him. He wants us to join Him on His rescue mission…pulling folks out of the fires of hell.

May we experience the extraordinary life we have with our Creator God in new and fresh, powerful and transformative ways this week.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Download the podcast at: Unexpected Encounter, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

August 2 – Weekend Passage

Genesis 28

Jacob Is Sent Away

28 So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.” Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram. So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.

Jacob’s Dream

10 Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching 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 your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants 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 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 Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)