Summary: When I want to “come home” God will show me the way but I have to take the wheel
Many years ago when I was working for a land development company in Albuquerque, the company had its own airplane. Although we had a full-time pilot, the company president was also a pilot so many of the times that I flew on the plane with him, he would pilot the plane. He was actually a very good pilot, but the problem is that he didn’t always give his full attention to flying the plane and he often put the plane on autopilot and then proceeded to discuss company business with other people on the plane.
One day, I was on the plane with him on a flight from Albuquerque to Phoenix. As usual, he had put the plane on autopilot and was talking business with one of our business partners, who was seated in the front seat beside him. After we had been in the plane for about an hour, I looked out the window and it was apparent that we were not near as close to Phoenix as we should have been after so long in the air, so I asked our company president what was going on. Did we have an unusually strong headwind? He confirmed that indeed the flight was taking a lot longer than normal, but he checked the winds and found them to be normal. After checking many other possibilities, he finally discovered that we had been flying the entire time with the landing gear down and that was creating a lot of extra drag on the plane.
If you’ve been a disciple of Jesus for any amount of time, It’s pretty likely that you’ve done something similar to that in your walk with Jesus. At some time in your life, you just put your relationship with Jesus on autopilot and as a result there was a lot of extra drag that kept you from developing that relationship to its greatest potential.
Well, you’re in good company and this morning we’re going to look at the life of someone who did exactly that, but who eventually decided it was time to “come home” to God and get his life back on track again. I’m excited about what we’re going to learn together this morning from the life of Jacob because I think all of us can apply the principles that we’ll glean from his life in our own lives.
This morning we’re going to really pick up the pace of our journey through the Old Testament, which we obviously need to do if we’re going to make it all the way through the Old Testament this year. Considering it/s now the middle of March and even after today we’ll only we ¾ of the way through Genesis, we definitely need to move a little faster.
Last week we left off with God’s covenant with Abram. Following that event, God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, and he and his wife, after a couple of wrong turns along the way, eventually have the son of promise – Isaac.
When he is 40 years old, Isaac marries Rebekah. And after Isaac prays for his barren wife, she becomes pregnant with twins – Esau and Jacob. Esau is born first, but the second son comes out of the womb grasping his brother’s heel and is named Jacob, which literally means “he takes by the heel” or which can also be translated “cheater”, which becomes pretty good description of his life.
Aided by his mother, Rebekah, Jacob manages to cheat his older brother out of his birthright and his blessing. And obviously Esau wasn’t too happy about that so in Genesis 27, we read that “Esau hated Jacob” and planned to kill him as soon as his father Isaac died. But once again Rebekah steps in and convinces Isaac to send Jacob to Paddan-aram to the home of Laban, her brother, to find a wife.
On his trip, Jacob stops in Luz, where he falls asleep and has a dream in which God repeats the promise He had made to Abraham and Isaac to bless all the families of the earth through Jacob’s offspring. When Jacob wakes up, he is afraid and makes a vow to God:
So early in the morning Jacob 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. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”