Essay: Story of Jacob: Genesis 28 10-17 and 35 9-15

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[. . .] It is not uncommon for human beings to lack trust in God and resort to taking matters into their own hands - neither is it uncommon to come across phrases like; 'God, I appreciate the fact that you care, but from "what's happening in the market lately, you can be in charge of other areas of my life, but I'll handle the money'" (GSLC, n.d.). As was the case in Jacob's story, God would often leave believers to have their way, but it would not be long before they realize that it gets them nowhere but far away from those they love - however, God still forgives, and draws them toward His glory (Wessner, 2000).

God expects believers to keep the vows they make. It is evident from the two accounts that God does not take vows lightly; He keeps his word and expects the same from all believers (Ecclesiastes 5:2-5) (Constable, n.d.). It is a believer's duty, therefore, to ensure that they keep the vows they make with God. Christianity is a covenant between God and a believer, in which the latter vows to turn away from sin, and to completely embrace God's teachings (Constable, n.d.). Every believer ought to do some soul-searching and establish the extent to which they have kept this vow.

Humans are prone to forget the covenants they make with God either when God fulfils His side, or when things are going as they expect them to. In Genesis 35:9, God is forced to remind Jacob to go back to Bethel and honor his vows. This kind of 'forgetfulness' most often comes about when people make commitments (vows) in times of crisis. Jacob made his vows when he felt lonely and distant from both God and his family, but forgot them when God gave him a family, riches, and safety (Keathley IV, 2004). It is important for believers to realize that vows made at a time of crisis are just as binding as those made at 'normal' times. The concept of selective practice does not apply to the scripture and God, in Deuteronomy 8:11-20, warns the children of Israel against the same (Borgman, 2001).

There is hope after forgotten vows; God renews blessings if believers go back and fulfill their forgotten vows. God commands Jacob to return to Bethel, just like Christ told the Ephesus Church to return to the beginning, and do their first works (Rev 2:4-5) (Borgman, 2001). Christians abandon their first works by forgetting their covenants and, hence, ought to go back to doing their first works (prayer, bible study) because only then will their promises be renewed. When Jacob goes back and fulfils his part of the covenant (Gen 35:9-15), God renews the promises he had made to Isaac and Abraham (Keathley IV, 2004). In a similar fashion, Christians can receive their spiritual blessings in full if they go back to their original commitments and fulfill their vow of devotion and service to God in complete repentance and prayer (Borgman, 2001).

Conclusion

Every Christian needs to do some soul-searching and serious weighing to determine whether or not they are living the life God expects them to. If not, then theirs, like Jacob, is a case of forgotten vows. They need to go back to their original commitment and fulfill their vows in repentance and trust because only then will they be in a position to access the blessings of heaven.

References

Borgman, P. (2001). Genesis: the Story We Haven't Heard. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Constable (n.d.). Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable. StudyLight. Retrieved 31 March 2014 from http://www.studylight.org/com/dcc/print.cgi?bk=0&ch=48&vs.=1

DeLashmutt, G. (2014). Teaching Series from Genesis: The Story of Jacob -- Genesis 25-33. Xenos Christian Fellowship. Retrieved 31 March 2014 from http://www.xenos.org/teachings/?teaching=134

GSLC. (n.d.). Genesis 28:10-17: "God's Promise to Jacob and to Us -- I Will Not Leave You." GLSC Deltona. Retrieved 31 March 2014 from http://www.gslcdeltona.com/home/180004789/180004789/docs/Genesis%2028_10-17.pdf-sec_id=180004789

Keathley IV, H. (2004). Jacob. Bible.org. Retrieved 31 March 2014 from https://bible.org/article/jacob

Kim, D. (2012). Genesis 37-50: the Story of Jacob and His Sons in Light of the Primary Narrative (Genesis ~ 2 Kings). The Expository Times, 123(10), 486-493.

Vawter, P. (2013). An Exposition of Jacob's Experience at Jabbok from Genesis 32:22-32. Theological Maranatha Baptist Journal, 3(2), 105-122.

Wessner, M.D. (2000). Toward a Literary Understanding… [END OF PREVIEW]

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