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In these Jacob-chapters of Genesis, we have repeatedly seen Jacob assume that the blessings in his life – the wives and children, the wealth in flocks and herds, the protection from Laban – were the results of his own decisions and actions. In truth, God was the one providing for him and protecting him. Think about your own life. Imagine that, at the end of one random day, God gave you a list of all the good things He had given you and all the bad things He had shielded you from, of which you were completely unaware. I think I would be humbled to the dust. Let’s begin and end every day by acknowledging, with thanksgiving, the provision and protection of God.
Pastor Dave posited that all of us would give the correct answer to this quiz question: When facing a challenge or problem in life, is it better to depend on your own solution or depend on God’s provision of a solution? He challenged us, though, by asking how well we live out the right answer. Do I work, building the house and guarding the city, thinking everything depends on me? Do I lean on my own understanding to try to straighten out the crooked path of life? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any degree of hypocrisy within us and help us root it out.
I wonder if Jacob’s blindness to God’s work on his behalf is correlated to a lack of time spent in God’s presence. It is suggestive that, after Jacob’s “Stairway to Heaven” experience in Chapter 28, the Bible doesn’t mention Jacob worshipping Yahweh or praying to Him over a span of 20 years. We need regular contact with God for Him to be “the Fear of (insert your name here)” or “my Awesome One.” Holy Spirit, help us order our days so that we do not neglect time in the word of God and in prayer.
It is ironic that in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we seem to have less time, not more, to spend with Christ. Ask the Lord to show you what Christmas trappings He wants you to set aside this year. Ask Him to show you how to use those that remain to meditate on and share the Christ at the center of Christmas. Consider using an Advent devotional to help you focus on Christ, such as the one offered by Biola’s Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts.