Sovereign Grace of God

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Genesis 28:13-29:2613And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to 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. 15And, 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. 16And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. 17And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. 18And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19And he called the name of that place Beth-el: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. 20And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will 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, 21So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: 22And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. 1Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. 2And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. 3And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place. 4And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. 5And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. 6And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. 7And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. 8And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep. 9And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. 10And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 11And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father. 13And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 14And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month. 15And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be? 16And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored. 18And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. 19And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. 20And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. 21And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. 22And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. 25And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? 26And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. (Genesis 28:13‑29:26)
While Jacob was dreaming he saw the Lord standing at the top of the ladder, and He said to him, “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac.” He then promised to bless Jacob adding that “in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” The promised Seed was Christ who will bring bless­ing to all nations. God said also that He would not leave Jacob until all His promises were fulfilled. The descen­dants of Jacob (the Jews) are suffering today, but God has not forgotten these oft-repeated promises and will fulfill them in His own time which is now drawing near.
All Owed to God
When Jacob wakened from his sleep, he was afraid. His unconfessed sin made him fear the presence of God and call it a dreadful place. Then he took the stones and made a pillar, over the top of which he poured oil saying that that was to be God’s house. He owned in this way that worship was due to the Lord, but his faith was weak, and he began to bargain with God. He said, “If God will 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.” Jacob said that he would do certain things for God if God would do certain things for him. God had already promised to do these very things for Jacob, not because Jacob deserved them, but be­cause of His own sovereign grace. He had said, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again to this land,” but Jacob adds his “IF” to it all. When God speaks, we never need to add our “if” to His Word, but Jacob was still a schemer. He had bargained with Esau for his birthright, deceived his father to get the blessing, and he even tried to bargain with God.
Jacob then said that he would give God a tenth, but we should give Him more than that, for we are only stew­ards of all the Lord has given us. Nor should we give to Him on certain con­ditions which we choose to make our­selves. We owe all to Him because of His sovereign grace to us when we deserved nothing but judgment.
Reaping What Is Sown
At last Jacob arrived at Haran where his uncle Laban lived. He stood by a well of water where the shepherds watered their flocks and made en­quiries as to where he could find Laban. While he was speaking, Laban’s daughter Rachel came to the well with her father’s sheep. The women, however, were in the habit of waiting until the rest of the shepherds gathered together and then they watered their sheep, be­cause they were unable to roll away the stone themselves. Jacob, therefore, rolled back the stone, watered the sheep, and introduced himself to Rachel as her father’s sister’s son. He was then welcomed to Laban’s house, and after being there for a month, Laban offered to give him wages if he would work for him. Jacob said he would work seven years for him if he could have Rachel for his wife, so this was agreed upon. However, Jacob’s reaping time must come, and he was deceived by his uncle, just as he had deceived his own father Isaac. After serving the seven years for Rachel, Laban gave him Leah. Let us remind ourselves once again, dear children, that God’s Word is still true. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:77Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)).
Further Meditation
1. Why was Jacob afraid when he awoke from his sleep?
2. See if you can find the proverb that tells you about the wicked fleeing and the righteous being bold like a lion. Once you’ve found it, can you relate it carefully to the part of Jacob’s life described in this chapter?
3. You can find lots more about the life of Jacob if you are willing to dig a little bit more deeply into it. Search by selecting the author W. Kelly and then go to the page with the titles of his various books. That will lead you to a book entitled Jacob with 26 chapters that develop the life of the patriarch in detail.