Summary: God is living and he makes the Promises to his followers and Devotees. He keeps up the promises and he expects his disciples to follow throughout their life journey. That is known as Covenant life.
Promises are not the vision given to people. Promises are given beyond imagination against odd situations. Promises are made to inculcate faith, trust, integrity and to rely on God. Promises in the Bible are very unique, though common in all languages.
Unchanging Promises of God:
God remembered the Promises made to Abraham(Gen 12:1-3, 15:1-6, 17:1-7), then to Isaac(Gen. 26:1-5). Now the turn has come to Esau and Jacob. God has to reassure and reaffirm the faith, trust in God. He has to elected and select a person to continue the vision of God, through the Promises of God.
Esau was rejected because of his heart, his attitude, his irresponsible life. So God has chosen Jacob out of Love, care and concern. God declared that he can show mercy, grace, and compassion whomsoever he likes(Ex.34:6-7).
God appeared to Jacob to bless him and make him the inheritance of the blessings of Abraham and Isaac and to give him the unchanging promise that he would bless him(Gen. 28:13-15). Same promise continues on.
Invisible Presence of God:
God’s presence was so visible in the days of the wilderness journey. They saw the presence of God in the form of Pillars of clouds as Fire and Shadow(Ex. 14:14, 33:10-11, 40:36-38, Nu 9:15-17, 21-23, 10:34-36, Dt. 4:11-15).
Isaac did not have much revelations from God like Abraham. But he was walking with God, he had family altar, he had faith in God to pray. Jacob now he is on his way to a foreign country, there is more possibilities to adopt the culture, customs and religious practices of the Eastern countries(Gen.29:1). Since he is going to be the son-in-law of a family to live long. YHWH was very thoughtful of Him, that he would be his God forever(28:15-17).
We need to always think the invisible presence of God, wherever we go, whatever we do, whatever we speak. We can’t hide anything from the presence of God – best examples were Ahan(Jud.8:19,25) Saul(1Sam.15:13-14) Gehazhi (2Ki.5;25-27) like Ananias and Sapphira(Ac.5:1-2).
God is thoughtful of his children(Ex.33:14-my presence will go with you. Dt.20:1 at war he is with you. Is.43:2 while pass through the waters and the fire he with you, Mt.28:20 till the end of the age he is with you. Mt.18:20-where two or three gathered he is there).
Continuous commitment of Jacob:
Jacob promised to God that he would worship him, he would give him Tithe, he would be his son and God would be his Father and God.
Vow of gratitude. Bethel is not the place of Idol worship but a place of prayer and offerings submitted to God.(Phoenicians believe that the stones have Soul. some stones had fallen from heaven. They have a story of “Baitylia”. Which was later known as Bethel is one of the traditions some bible students believe)
Vows are made at one’s own interest, never compelled, made as tax but as free will. he commits himself to Pay tithe to God. Then it became a law during the time of Moses and prophets(Lev.27:30 & Mal 3:10). Then it was practiced during the time of Kings(2Chr.31:5).
Vows should not broken(Nu.30:2) not slow to pay it(Dt.23:21), do not delay to fulfill it(Eccl.5:4).
May God help you to keep up the promises of God and your vows to Him, Amen.