Jacob was not a nice person. Taking advantage of his brother’s hunger, he tricked his brother out of his birthright. He was a deceiver. That is what his name means. He willingly fulfilled his mother’s instructions to deceive his father so that he received the blessing that was rightfully Esau’s. Jacob was a swindler. He made deals with Laban, and then tried to influence nature against Laban, for his own prosperity. The only thing really endearing about the youth of this biblical character is his love for Rachel.
It is interesting how often Jacob was, in turn, deceived. He reaped what he had sown. Laban deceived him by giving him Leah as a wife, instead of Rachel, the one whom he loved, thereby getting seven more years of labor from Jacob. The Scriptures also say that Laban changed his wages ten times in seven years.
Yet he prospered, greatly. In addition, he was God’s chosen man to be the father of a new nation. Why?
I am reminded of a few of Jacob’s prayers. The first was when he fled from his brother Esau, and made a bed of stones.
20And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
21So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
22And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. Genesis 28:20-22 KJV
This was a very conditional prayer. Lord, if you do this, I’ll do this. How many times have we said this to God? “Lord if you get me out of this mess, I’ll serve you for the rest of my life.” Many things strike me about this prayer as remarkable, but two speak to me more than any others. The first is that this seemingly selfish prayer was answered. In every way. God provided for Jacob, and returned him back to his father’s house in peace. It took some time, and Jacob returned a different man having suffered much at the hands of Laban, but the requests made in this supplication were answered. The second thing I find interesting about this prayer is that he marks the place that he made this vow to God with a pillar, and when he returns, many years later, the pillar is still there reminding Jacob of two things: God’s faithfulness to him over the years, and that he had made a vow to God.
Making altars or pillars can be a very effective tool. This week, ask God for something according to His will in His Word. Or, if you’ve recently had a prayer answered thank Him for it. Then, make an altar of sorts. You might write a scripture promise, or something you are grateful for, or even a care you are giving to Him on a slip of paper and then place it under a pile of rocks on your dresser. Be creative! Put the pillar somewhere that you will see it everyday, so that as you pass by it you remember the covenant you have made with God to trust Him at His Word. If you feel led, share with us your experiences in the comment section. I would love to worship with you at your altar!
11 thoughts on “Making Pillars: Testifying to God’s Goodness”
I love this and will share with my Sunday School class as we are presently in a study of “Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference?” by Philip Yancy. Thank you, kd. So well written.
I am so honored that you’d do that! Thank you so much for being such a faithful reader Georgette!
I usually steer clear from making the if you do this then I will prayers…Im too afraid I wont keep my end of the bargain!. Interesting reflection on Jacob and prayer =)
I know what you mean. Thank God for His mercy!!
I always thought it interesting that when Rachel died, he buried her on the roadside but he was buried with Leah – there’s a book in there somewhere.
I love how Jacob, having wrestled with God, come to know who He was to God, repented – wasn’t scared to ask God. There’s something amazing in knowing who you are to God and knowing you can go to Him:)
I’m going to make a pillar and put 3 requests:)
There is a book in that! I’ve always found that interesting about Rachel and Leah as well. Next week I’ll be writing more about Jacob…and perhaps his wrestling with God. Take a picture of your pillar! I want to see it!
I have so many instances in my life that I could mark that prove His goodness to me over and over again. I love how you have challenged us to make tangible pillars.
Take a picture if you make one. I’m not all that happy about how min looks, (I’m not a fan of the picture), but it is meaningful to me…
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I love this Kimberly. I am an OT junkie! So much to learn from Jacob’s story. Love your cairn. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for your comment. I also love the OT as it allows me to learn thru story.