Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. During this ordinary season, our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers.
Source: the Revised Common Lectionary Year A
(Note. If you desire to read these passages in a different version of the Bible, this link will provide all the readings for week 5 ESV in Bible Gateway where you may also choose other versions of these passages.)
28:10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.
28:11 He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.
28:12 And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
28:13 And the LORD stood beside him and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring;
28:14 and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring.
28:15 Know that 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.”
28:16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place–and I did not know it!”
28:17 And 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.”
28:18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.
28:19a He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first.
When Isaac and Rebecca’s twins, Jacob and Esau, are born, Jacob is born gripping hold of his brother’s heel. Jacob is known as the deceiver, a name that he lives up to. He cheats his brother Esau out of his birthright (the physical gift given to an oldest son) and his blessing (the spiritual gift to an oldest son). Esau is furious and promises judgment.
Jacob the deceiver flees from his homeland towards the land of his mother. A journey of around 500 miles. Beersheba is located down by modern day Jerusalem, while Haran is in modern day Turkey. To put in today’s perspective, it would be like journeying from Littleton to Omaha, Nebraska, on foot. Jacob is terrified of Esau and wants to get as far away as possible.
In the midst of his terror inspired encounter, Jacob has his first encounter with God. He is leaving the promised land that God has led his forefathers to and yet the God of his father and grandfather meets with him anyway.
Have you experienced God in the midst of your own questionable choices? How has God surprised you?
Offer a prayer to the God of Jacob who meets runaways and deceivers with grace.
O God of Jacob, you speak in the light of day and in the dark of night
when our sleeping is filled with dreams of heaven and earth.
May Jacob’s vision remind us to be open and watchful,
ready to discover your presence in our midst. Amen.
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
139:2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
139:3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
139:4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O LORD, you know it completely.
139:5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
139:7 Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
139:8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
139:9 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
139:10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
139:11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”
139:12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
139:24 See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139 could be Jacob’s prayer of thanksgiving after his encounter with God in Genesis 28. It is a prayer of delight in new found revelation. A prayer that celebrates realization, the realization that you are known by God. Known and loved in spite of your flaws.
What are you glad God knows about you?
What part of your life do you need his gracious words over today?
Read the Psalm again and enjoy God’s good words over you.