Does God still love idiots?
Jacob just got done deceiving his brother and his dad in an Oscar-deserving performance. The scene is daddy’s deathbed. Influenced by his back-stabbing mom, Jacob pulls a monster heist and steals his brother’s blessing using the ol’ wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing routine — he straps on chunks of goat pelt and tells dad he’s actually Esau. Dad has his doubts, but reluctantly promises Jacob the blessing nonetheless.
Genesis 28 opens with Dad’s blessing, immediately followed by an admonition to not marry any foreigners. Without any shame whatsoever for what he’s done, Jacob takes off and escapes his brother’s bloodthirsty rage, finds a cozy rock near Abraham’s old stomping grounds and takes a snooze. And then things get weird.
As if Jacob ate pizza right before bed, or even ingested something considered illegal today, he dreams of angels going up and down a ladder (or staircase, depending on the translation). We are pretty certain that angels can fly or appear where they please, but Jacob is witnessing a step aerobics class, I guess. Of course, it’s downright awesome that Jacob has the privilege of seeing the “other side” for a bit. Then God speaks, and Jacob changes.
If Jacob didn’t make some significant alterations to his apparent idiocy, I wouldn’t like him very much, because he would have a bunch of jerks for kids as well (with the exception of Joseph). But he makes some redeeming moves:
1) He acknowledges that God is around. This is an obvious fact, but it took a bizarre dream to get him there. Whatever it takes.
2) He acknowledges that he previously didn’t know that God was around. It’s good to be right. It’s even better to be wrong, to realize the problem, and then fix it.
3) He has reverence for God. Jacob shows intense fear once he realizes that God is indeed around, and that he’s been around the whole time. If you really understood that God is actually there, and always has been, what would your response be? And would you be ashamed of yourself? It’s okay, me too.
4) He worships God in response. He doesn’t just blow it off. He actively shows a heartfelt expression of love and awe instead of taking his experience for granted. It’s kinda like saying, “Thank you,” when your buddy picks up the tab. It’s just plain polite.
5) He dedicates the place he stands to the Lord. Jacob uses oil. Words work just fine.
Jacob will have to fight his past. Everyone does, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s how we pick up and march forward that matters.
Today isn’t a bad time to start over.