Summary: Life is a journey with the Lord. How far have we gone? Where have our striving taken us? Our entire life should be one continuous seeking of God’s will, worship experience, and giving of praise to God for everything.
Intro: On journeys and pilgrimages (Examples). See I Pet. 2:11; Heb. 11:13; Gen. 4:12. (Cf. believers and unbelievers). Read Gen. 47:9. Jacob lived about 147 years; Isaac 180 years; Abraham 175 years. Jacob had many journeys and struggles in his long and eventful life but none more meaningful than the three set forth in this brief study. From three Jacob’s journeys we would see the process of a sinful life turned godly.
I. FIRST JOURNEY TO BETHEL: A VISION OF GOD (Genesis 28:12-13)
Bethel means “House of God.” A truly godly life begins with a three-fold vision of God.
A. A vision of His holiness much like Isaiah had (Isaiah 6:1).
B. A vision of His power much like Caiaphas the high priest would see (Mark 14:61-62).
C. A vision of His compassion that resulted in His feeding of 5000 (Mark 6:34)
II. JOURNEY TO PENIEL: AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD (Genesis 32:24-30)
Jacob had a personal encounter with God at Peniel (“I have seen God face to face”). Whether you encounter Him on the beach (Andrew & Peter), tax collection office (Matthew), the road to Damascus (Paul), beside the well in Samaria (Samaritan woman), or at the altar of the church... it is always a new and fresh start for an old life! Note the change in name from Jacob (“supplanter”) to Israel (“prince of God”). In troubled times do not forget your personal encounter with God for it will strengthen you and help you realize that God is faithful and still very much under control!
III. SECOND JOURNEY TO BETHEL: WORSHIP OF GOD (Genesis 35:1-3)
His first stay at Bethel and his stay at Peniel were brief but his return to Bethel was to build an altar to worship God and he was instructed “to dwell there.” There is an end to our many “walks” and travels in life. There comes a time in the life of the believer when he finally finds rest and peace from God as he seek and do God’s will (cf. Prov. 13:15).
CONCLUSION: Life is a journey with the Lord. How far have we gone? Where have our striving taken us? Our entire life should be one continuous seeking of God’s will, worship experience, and giving of praise to God for everything.