Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 July 2019 Genesis 28:15.

Genesis 28:15.    ​And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
 

Sunday morning, Sunday morning, the Lord is calling‘Come to my house, hear my Word, sing my praises, encourage each other and find joy, unspeakable joy in the house of your God!’ Oh friends, it’s an open invitation to ALL: whosoever will may come! Now that’s an offer we surely can’t refuse, because there’s none better than it! And if you don’t believe me, then please take up the Lord’s offer, try Him, test the reality and faithfulness of His promise. And if it doesn’t work out like He says, then I’ll be your slave for life! (smile) 

And I can make that bold promise because I know from personal experience, that if you check out the Lord’s sanctuary today, you’ll have such a great time, you’ll want to come back each and every week. Mama Mia! Fellowshipping with other believers under the Lord’s watchful and parental eye, with His mercy, grace and forgiveness just flowing freely into our souls and spirits… Brother…it’s just the greatest! 

So let’s start the proceedings as always with a song of praise and exaltation to our great and wonderful Jehovah God; He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And today’s song is another marvellous hymn that we all know and LOVE: it’s titled ‘Nearer My God to Thee.’ The internet site, God Tube, rightly tells us that “Even when we cannot see or feel Him, the Lord never leaves our side. As we walk through each day, let us remember to call upon His name and give thanks. The beautiful lyrics of ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ are the perfect call to the Lord.” 

 It was reputedly written by British hymnist Sarah Flowers in the mid 19th century as a follow up to her pastor’s sermon on Genesis 28:11-19, known as the story of Jacob’s ladder, or Jacob’s dream. As one vibrant and harmonious voice now, let’s thrill the hordes of heaven with a moderate tempo version of the song. ‘Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me, Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! 

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down, Darkness be over me, my rest a stone; Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n; All that Thou sendest me, in mercy giv’n; Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise, Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise; So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! 

Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky, Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly, Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest, There in my Saviour’s LOVE, perfectly blest; Age after age to be nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!’ 

Yes friends, the hymn does do the story of Jacob’s dream justice and we also pleased heaven with our rendition. So let’s delve into Jacob’s story a li’l deeper now nuh. All of this happened when his father Isaac sent him away to his families’ homeland of Padan-aram to get a bride from his uncle Laban’s daughters because the daughters of the Canaanites weren’t good enough for him. This was after Jacob had deceived the blind Isaac, who blessed him with what was supposed to be Esau’s birthright. (Gen.27) 

Obviously that created a serious feud in the family, and no doubt Jacob was only too glad to get away from Esau. And it’s said that Jacob’s name meant, cheat, deceiver, con-man, etc. so he certainly lived up to his name. Now one night on his journey, as the sun set, he stopped at a certain place, took up some stones to use for a pillow and went to sleep. Then the Good Book tells us: ‘And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 

And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land where thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed (descendants). And thy seed (descendants) shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.’ (Gen.28:12-15) 

Now doesn’t that just boggle the imagination, that God would use such a trickster to do such meaningful work on his behalf. Change His name to ‘Israel – Prince with God – (Gen.32:28) and thus have him become the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. But He did! Just goes to show how He likes to confuse mankind by using those we’d consider very unlikely to be His front-line people. But the Lord’s unconventional approach did seem to work on Jacob, because he awakened afraid, realizing that the Lord was there, unbeknownst to him. 

Then, taking the stone he had used for a pillow, he set it up as an altar to God and poured oil on it, and called the place ‘Bethel’ (the house of God) (Gen.28:16-19) Then he made this life changing vow. ‘If God be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar (altar), shall be God’s house: and all of that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.’ (Gen.28:20-22) 

Ah friends, yuh see how our mighty God moves in mysterious ways? Who would ever have thought that He would use Jacob as one of His main men eh? But that ought to give us hope and encouragement, that no matter how bad we are, how low we fall, that it doesn’t prevent our God of many chances from using us to do big things in His name. So please let the words of the Good Book and the hymn detailing Jacob’s change of heart, resonate in our own hearts, souls, bodies and minds today, and thus cause us to desire the most wonderful option possible… ‘Nearer My God to Thee…Let me draw… Nearer My God to Thee…! Much LOVE!

…no one’s past…eliminates them…from being involved in God’s future…

 

 

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