January 16, 2022

God’s Faithfulness Is Steadfast

Passage: Genesis 28:10-22

Morris H. Chapman wrote a book entitled, “Taking God at His word.”  In the book he illustrated what it means to put your faith in God.  A little girl was walking down the hallway of her home and she came to the place where they had a cellar door.  It was one of those trapdoors on hinges, and it was open.  She looked down into the darkness, heard a noise down there, and said, “Who’s down there?”  Her father replied, “It’s me, Daddy.”  The girl responded, “I want to come down there with you.”  He answered, “Well, I have already taken the ladder away, but if you jump, I will catch you.”  The girl thought,Jumping down into that hole is far too scary.”  You see, her father could see her because she was in the light, but she couldn't see him because he was down there in the darkness.  She said, “But, Daddy, I can’t see you.”  Then her father said, “If you believe I'm down here, if you know that I love you and if you trust me that will catch you, then you can jump.”  The little girl put her trust in her father and said, “I'm going to count to three and then jump.”  When she landed in the safe arms of her father, he said, “See, you can always trust me.”  You know my friends, there come the times when we can't see what's before us, but then we have to 1 remember, God will be there watching over us.  We can take Him by His word.   

Let's turn to Genesis 28: 10-22 and meditate on what God did for Jacob.  Jacob was facing a very uncertain future.  He was lonely and isolated.  His brother sought his blood after he deceived him and there was no way he could return to what was home.   And if his brother wasn't going to get him, bandits or wild animals would.  Have you ever felt like a speck of dust in the universe?  That there was no one to turn to; no place to go to?  Jacob did.  He travelled about 70 miles of his 450 miles journey to Haran.  He needed to rest for the night, so he set up camp in 2 “a certain place" according to verse 11.  This place was not especially noteworthy.  It was just a place in the middle of nowhere.  So, Jacob had no reason to expect anything to happen there.  He just wanted to spend the night and be on his way the next morning.  But soon after Jacob went to sleep with this head on a rock as a pillow, God came to him in a dream and affirmed to him what He, God Almighty, could do.  In the dream Jacob saw a stairway going from earth to heaven, with angels going up and down the stairway, and the Lord was standing at the top. In Jacob's dream, he received the affirmation that God was with him.  In “a certain place” God was there with him and was going to reveal to him some truths.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Jacob received the wonderful affirmation –  3 God's Promises Always Come Into Reality.  When He mentioned Abraham and Isaac to Jacob, God wanted to make it clear, “I have told them what I would do – I secured their lives and from them their descendants would be blessed.”  And now the promise was given to Jacob, “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.  All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”  Verses 13b and 14.  I think when Jacob woke from his dream, he must have felt encouraged.  There was his grandfather, Abraham.  How far did he come from his homeland to a land he didn't know anything about?  And God made him successful.  He even gave him a son, Isaac, when he and Sarah were of advanced aged.   And then God later made Isaac so prosperous that his enemies came to him and said, “We can't compete against you.  It is clear that God is with you.”  It was in a split second that Jacob must have come to the realization, “Now God is going to make me to prosper.  I will have a family and people will come to me.”  And how wonderful it came into reality for Jacob!  The deserter with no hope and no place wasn't a nobody anymore.  God's promise to him became true.  This principle wasn't true only for Jacob, it's became true for generations and generations that came after Jacob.  Throughout the bible we see how God's covenant became the rock solid foundation for all of His chosen ones.  There is something that echoed throughout the ages and it echoes in our ears right now, “I will be your God and you will be my people.”  Isn't it a wonderful peace that comes over us like a soft wind? – like God's promises in the past were fulfilled, His promises in 2022 will come into place for us.

There is a second truth Jacob learned in his dream of what God can do – 4 He Will Always Be With His PeopleVerse 15a, “I am with you...”  Jacob may have felt alone, but He never was alone and neither are we!  God is with us.  Remembering His presence has been a source of encouragement in uncertain times for all of His saints.  David affirmed in Psalm 23 how great God's presence was for him even in the most trying times of his life, "I will fear no evil for You are with me."  Jesus encouraged His disciples in Matthew 28 by assuring them, "Surely I am with you always."  How can we explain it that the God of heaven and earth is in heaven right now, but also on earth?  Because He is omnipresent.  Omnipresent is defined by Webster's dictionary as “present in all places at all times.”  That's why we can say that as we have this worship service, our Lord Jesus is with us here in this building and for those on You Tube He is present in their homes in different places.  My friends, the wonderful truth is that God has His hand over those in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and North America at the same time.  If that wasn't true all things in parts of the world would fall apart.  But it's not just to affirm that God can be in any place.  No, it's to say, “Be at peace, you are never alone.”   There is one passage that has been a wonderful affirmation to many believers over time – Isaiah 43.  More than once the prophet repeats the words of the Lord, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”  We can place these words before us for each day ahead of us this year and any other day to come in the future.  When you think of the world right now with all the challenges it brings – not just a world pandemic, but all the things that bring fear in human hearts, can you say with certainty, “I know that when fear enters my heart I can conquer that in the name of Jesus Christ?”  There was a professor who taught Christian counselling courses.  He asked students to go to the front and write on the blackboard about all the things that would cause people to despair.  There were words written like unemployment, depression, fear, deceit, malice, injustice and more.  One student wrote in big red letters over all those words – GOD IS WITH US.  The professor acknowledged him for what he did and said, “I can’t add anything to that.”

There is a third truth we learn from Genesis 28 – 5 We Always Have God's Protection.  We read in verse 15a, “...and will watch over you wherever you go...”  Like his father Isaac before him and his grandfather Abraham, Jacob had God's protection.  His life was secured; his future was secured with his family as God kept them in His care.  And when we read all the passages in the bible, we're just in awe of how God kept His people secured.  Peter and Paul gave testimony of the times when they thought their lives were over, of how God protected them.  And now, there will be those who would like to point a finger at God and say, “What about all those bad events of 2021?  There was violence in many places when people's lives were threatened.  When everybody thought that Covid-19 was over, it just got worse.  And there were those who suffered in many other ways.”  Because of all those things voices went up, “God, where were You?  Why didn’t You protect those people?”  But then we have to understand what St. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1: 12, “...I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”  You see, God will protect us, His children, for the Day of Christ.  Even if a person driven by an evil force takes our lives or anything else we can think of, we the children of the living God, have His protection for eternity.  We have to remind ourselves that in the midst of danger and hatred and death and disasters or anything else, our God is in control.  He is God Almighty and He can deliver us from any situation.  I think we have to become like little children as we put our trust in God.  And then we should sing along with them,

“My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do.”

Let's again place our lives in the hands of our God.  He will guide us, He will secure our lives.  In the shadow of the Most High, we will conquer.  We can always affirm – God's Faithfulness Is Steadfast.



Rev. Willem H. van de Wall