The problems in the family continue to grow with Esau threatening to kill Jacob 27.41 so at Rebekah’s behest as we come to chapter 24, Isaac sends Jacob away for two reasons – for his own safety and to prevent him marrying a Hittite woman. On the surface these are selfish reasons but in God’s sovereignty they actually protect the family line which will ultimately lead to Jesus.
The blessing that Jacob received from his father by deception, is now repeated with special reference to Abraham – ‘May God Almighty ……. Give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham. 28 v.3-4
The account now focusses primarily on Jacob but it is instructive to note that after Jacob has obeyed his father and mother and headed to Paddan Aram, the home of Laban his Uncle, Esau seems to have softened in that he marries within the family rather than further upset his father.
Although there are signs of change the whole saga comes across as a big mess and we may be tempted to ask how can it be redeemed and the Covenant kept on course.
The answer is only through God’s mercy and grace which we see as God appears to Jacob in his famous dream of the ladder (stairway NIV) resting on the earth with its top reaching to heaven with the angels of God ascending and descending on it. But more than that
Above it stood the LORD v.13
with great and precious promises:
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
Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth
All peoples will be blessed through you and your offspring
I am with you and will watch over you
I will bring you back to this land
I will not leave you until I have done all that I have promised you.
Familiar words first spoken to Abraham now to rebellious Jacob. What grace, what mercy.
Jacob’s response is instructive. He was in awe that he had been ‘in the house of God and at the gate of heaven’! He set up a memorial pillar , consecrated it and made a vow. Note a Pillar and not an Altar for he had not yet fully committed himself to God and similarly note v.20 how his response began. ‘If God will be with me ….’
That full commitment would require another personal encounter recorded for us in Chapter 32 where he wrestles with God.
It is good to reflect on how we ourselves came to that personal commitment and whether it was a process like Jacob’s or instant like Saul’s in Acts 9 or somewhere in between, to stop and give all the glory to God who took us, and in his grace and mercy set us apart for his service.