December 7 - Jacob
Isaac was an old man and his sight was failing and so it was easy for Jacob the younger of his twin sons to trick him into giving him the blessing due to his older twin Esau. Esau had carelessly swapped his inheritance for a bowl of spicy stew. He had come home from hunting feeling hungry and was quite happy to agree to Jacob’s deal in exchange for something to eat.
Isaac duly blessed the wrong son, thinking that it was Esau who brought him a fine meal; Jacob even went so far as to dress in his brother’s best clothes and make his arms feel hairy. Esau was very angry at being cheated like this and Jacob was so scared that he ran away. At night he slept in the open and had a very strange dream. He saw a stairway going up to heaven with angels going up and down it.
In his dream he heard the voice of God speaking to him. Despite his bad behaviour God did not tell him off but reminded him that his promise to Abraham still stood and that his descendants would be a nation that would spread out and fill the
When he woke up Jacob promised to offer back to God a share of everything he got in the future.
Even though he had done wrong, God’s grace and mercy meant that Jacob’s dream was full of reassurance that God keeps his promises. Jacob’s response was to promise to give back to God a tenth of all that God provided for him. Below is a prayer that people who worship God in Methodist churches say every year as a love response to God’s grace and mercy. It is a hard prayer to say but it helps us to think about what it means to be a committed friend of Jesus.
I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, exalted for you, or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
You are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
What promises can you make to be generous in response to God’s provision for you?