Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” Genesis 31:3
We are hanging out with Jacob again today. Decades have passed. He now has 11 sons and several daughters from four wives. He still lives in his uncle Laban’s household where he’s worked since he ran away from home years before. God is clearly with him. His flocks increased while Laban’s decreased. Eventually Laban and his sons become jealous of Jacob’s prosperity. Jacob notices his Uncle’s and cousins’ changes in attitude and had to be anxious about what to do. At that time God once again intervened. God told Jacob to finally head home and reassured him that he would be with him. I love how human Jacob is. After this great reassurance from the Almighty God, Jacob packs up all his possessions and wives and children and heads out while his Uncle is out of town. I can so relate. Can’t you? We have all these amazing promises for us in the Bible about grace, salvation, God’s presence with us, and yet, I so commonly hear God and half obey, half self-protect just in case. Laban eventually meets up with Jacob to say a peaceful good-bye to his daughters and grandchildren. Even with this sneaky lack of trust on Jacob’s part, God still continues on with him, blessing him not only with provision but also with resolution in his relationship with Laban and eventually with his brother as well.
Emmanuel, we need your help to continue in trust today. Thank you for your grace when we make a mess of our own way in our attempt to “help” your plan like Jacob did. Thank you for staying close to us through your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your Word and our ability to read your words every single day rather than waiting for decades for you to speak like Jacob did.
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. Genesis 28:15
Turn the page in your Bible from where we were yesterday and we see God promising his presence again, this time to Jacob who was on his way to hideout at his uncle’s place. He had tricked his brother Esau and now ran away to avoid revenge. In the middle of his fleeing, he fell asleep on a rock (I’ve always found that odd!). God spoke with him while he slept and promised to keep the Covenant He had promised to his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. He promised to be with him and watch over him everywhere he went. As he had fallen asleep that night, I imagine Jacob had been afraid for his life and was feeling vulnerable out in the open. God met him right where he was the most at risk. God promised to watch over him and to be with him. As an adult, I sometimes long to get to be a kid and be taken care of again, that feeling of being protected and watched out for and just rest into that. Wouldn’t that be nice?! With God, that is still possible. He watches over for us. He is with us. Let’s lean into him as our good watchful Father today.
Father, thank you for watching over us. Thank you for the security of your presence in our lives. Help us today to run to you in our times of struggle. Remind us through the day of your palpable presence with us. Lord bring rest over each of us as we pray, resting back into your arms of protection.
The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land a while, and I will be with you and will bless you.” Genesis 26:3
When famine struck the land, Isaac planned to take his family to Egypt where they would find abundant food. It made perfect sense. But God had other plans and appeared to Isaac to let him know Egypt was not the answer. If he would trust God and stay where God told him, God promised to be WITH him and bless him. When God is with us, his blessings seem to overflow into our lives. For Isaac, God provided abundantly for their physical needs during this time of famine. He found well after well of water and reaped a crop one hundred fold what was sown. God’s hand of blessing was clearly on him. It’s been in my hardest “famine” times when circumstances were the worst, that God showed himself more WITH me than ever. I was desperate and leaned hard into Jesus, the only rock of refuge that satisfied (trust me I tried others!). God provided strength beyond myself; he provided financially; he put a supportive community around me, but most of all, I rested in the comfort in his presence, knowing he understood my pain even if no one else could. In my need to control, it's so easy to lean on my own understanding and "go to Egypt", but God's ways are always better than mine. What physical or spiritual treasure have you found because of God being with you in your life?
Lord, today, we like Isaac need you with us. Help us to not run to what seems like a quick fix, but to trust you even when we don’t quite understand your leading. Thank you that with you are endless gifts of all kinds. Thank you for understanding each of our hearts and minds and bodies. Thank you for being with us and never leaving us.
Reflection Question: Where in your life these days are you tempted to follow your own path rather than trusting God to lead?
The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. Isaiah 7:14
I can hardly believe it’s December 1. Here we are in advent season, the month to focus on Christ’s coming into the world as a newborn baby, on God wrapping himself in human flesh, taking on our vulnerabilities, our brokenness, to save us. He chose to walk our world for more than three decades. He came into the world to truly be with us as well as save us. The name of God Emmanuel, means “God With Us”. All month, I want to guide us around the Bible and focus on just this—that God is WITH us. As he was with those thousands of years ago, he is also with us! We are not alone. Today let’s take a few moments here to thank God for choosing to dwell among us.
Father, our world is hurting with so much pain, sickness, and suffering. We need to know we are not alone in this pain. We need to have you with us, your power, your understanding. As Moses begged God after the people had rebelled, so we beg you to stay with us, to never leave us because more than ever it feels that we need you, our Creator, our Almighty God. Thank you for sending Jesus, to fulfill this prophecy, born of a virgin, to by Emmanuel, God with us. Open our hearts to know what that means for us this Christmas season. Draw us even closer into your arms and be our strength, our wisdom, our hope each and every day. Thank you for not abandoning us, for never leaving us.
Taking it deeper: Take some time to think or journal about how your life would be or feel different if you were aware of God being present with you all the time. (Feel free to share your response in the comments, but no pressure...the point is for personal time with God.) Until tomorrow!
Join us this December for an Advent Devotional
focusing on Emmanuel, God with Us!
What to Expect
Bible-focused, life applicable devotions, ending with a prayer each day
and some keeping-it real-moments cuz we can’t take ourselves too seriously!
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Hi. I'm Maggie. Current hats: Wife, mom, artist and starting this week, a devotional writer! Enthusiastic, creative, focused. I love chai tea lattes, and authentic conversations.