Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.Genesis 28:15, ESV
When God spoke these words to Jacob, He spoke to a man who had conspired with his mother to defraud his father and cheat his brother. He spoke to a man on the run, fleeing from a brother who comforted himself with thoughts of killing him. Jacob wasn’t someone who was easy to trust, and based on the way he treated his own family, it’s safe to say he wasn’t someone who was easy to love. And yet, as Jacob slept, we’re told that God spoke the same promises over him that He’d spoken to Abraham and Isaac.
God didn’t wait for Jacob to get his life together. He didn’t wait for Jacob to turn things around. God’s strategy then was what it remains today–love that simultaneously draws near to us and draws us toward Him. It’s kind of His thing. When Jacob awoke from his dream, I think it’s interesting what he has to say, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it” (28:16). Maybe you’ve been in places like that. I know I have. As Jacob recognized, God had been there all along, and as the reader of Genesis will recall, the words of these promises aren’t new either. God had been there, and His promises remained. What changed that night wasn’t God but Jacob. He began to see the Lord not just as the God of Abraham and Isaac but as “my God” (28:21) and began to walk as one who believed God and the promises He had made.
God doesn’t wait for us to get our lives together. He doesn’t wait for us to turn thing around. His strategy today is what it was then–love that simultaneously draws near to us and draws us toward Him. Or as Jesus would say, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). See? It’s kind of His thing. So, where is God’s love pursuing you today? Where is His kindness calling you to a new way of thinking and a new way of living?