If you’ve been to the movie theater lately, you may have noticed an unsettling trend in the films today. In an effort to make their characters more realistic and “human”, film makers create characters with glaring moral flaws. Some movies hardly have a decent character in them to the point that even the supposed heroes don’t seem much better than the villains. One may come away from such a film thinking, “I didn’t know who to cheer for”.
As we continue the drama of Jacob that began yesterday, one may have a similar feeling of not knowing who to cheer for . Isaac seems against—or plain oblivious to—God’s plan that “the older will serve the younger”. Rebekah is willing to stoop to deceiving her own husband to see her favorite son get the blessing. Esau is rash and hot tempered while his brother Jacob is passive and manipulative. Suddenly the promise God made with Abraham to bless all the nations through his descendants appears to be in serious jeopardy.
Yet a hero emerges. Just as God appeared to Abraham and Isaac, God reveals himself to Jacob in a dream. God continually proves himself faithful to his word and pursues those who don’t seek him. God is the hero in the story!
While Jacob seems more inclined to barter with God than worship and obey him (“If God will be with me…”), this is a turning point for Jacob.
When we first encounter God, we too are more inclined to barter with God like Jacob than to have an instant about-face like Paul on the road to Damascus. But the hero, God in Christ Jesus, shows himself faithful in saying, “I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you”.
Perhaps you find yourself doing more bartering than repenting. Maybe you are discouraged because your walk looks more like Jacob’s than Paul’s. In spite of our struggles, God will be faithful, even when we are faithless. Like Paul said:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.— Philippians 1:3-6
1. Who is your favorite hero from the movies to cheer for? Have you ever seen a movie with no one to cheer for?
2. Read John 1:46-51. Do you notice any similarities between this account and that of Jacob’s dream? What do you think the significance of this might be?
3. Read 2 Timothy 2:8-13. When you read “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself”, does that make you want to be a better Christian or “live like hell”? Does God’s faithfulness make you want to be more obedient or less?