Summary: sermon on stewardship written with help from wels study
January 12, 2003 Genesis 28:10-22
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
David Wittig was thought of as a “visionaire” when he was promoted to CEO - someone who could lead Westar into the 21st century and beyond. He must have needed to eat more carrots. Whether he planned for great things or not, his vision or the vision of those who hired him did not come to pass. I wonder how many times it happens in our lives that the things we plan and envision end up turning out a lot different than we thought. Did you envision yourself being where you are at in life now? Probably not.
Jacob planned to receive a great inheritance from his father. He had visions of great blessings and an easy life once he received the blessing. The last thing he planned on was to go live in Haran. But let’s recall the history. Jacob had bribed the birthright away from his brother Esau during a time of hardship, and flat out stolen his blessing through lies and deceit. As a result Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” His brother was going to kill him. So his mother had to come to his rescue after her hair-brained idea and send him off to his uncle Laban. This was not going according to Jacob’s plan or vision for the future. But God also had a vision for Jacob’s future- a comforting one. God wants us also to -
See the Vision!
I. See God’s Grace to You (Vs. 10-15)
At this point in Jacob’s journey, you can’t help but think he was kicking himself for what he had done. There were no cars for him to ride on this approximately 500 mile journey. Beersheba was located very near to what we would call Jerusalem today. Jacob had to travel straight north past the Sea of Galilee into what would be the southern part of Turkey today. He had to travel through the lands of foreigners, by himself, and go to a cousin that he had never met before. His whole life was turned upside down when he stole that birthright. Tired, alone, and most likely scared, Jacob laid down for the night. He had traveled for 2 to 3 days, about 70 miles. Without a pillow, he used a stone, and most likely put his coat down for a little bit of padding. After striving to steal God’s blessings, look at where it got him. He was tired, alone, and sleeping in the middle of nowhere. With a deep sense of guilt he must have been thinking, “what on earth have I done?”