Brief Notes

The Stone,
the Pillow, and
the Pillar (5):
Submitting to
the Lord’s
Dealings

25 June 2024

As soon as Jacob submitted
to the Lord’s dealings with Him,
God gave him a marvelous
vision of His purpose

Why did God give Jacob the remarkable vision contained in his dream in Genesis 28?

Often, in the Bible, such things come to those who have been faithful in their following of the Lord. Melchizedek met Abram and blessed him after Abram defeated the kings and rescued Lot; Ezekiel received his visions as a faithful prophet of the Lord; Paul was caught up to the third heavens and then into paradise some time after giving himself to Christ (2 Cor. 12:2-4); and the apostle John received the greatest vision of all, the apocalypse of the book of Revelation, when he had been exiled to the island of Patmos because of his testimony on behalf of Christ (Rev. 1:9).

Jacob was not at all like this. Quite the contrary: he had, with the help of his mother, just deceived his father in order to steal his brother’s blessing! And yet, nonetheless, God came in to give him one of the greatest visions in the entire Bible. Why?

Very simply, because Jacob submitted to the Lord’s dealings with him. And this should give us hope that, even if we at times fail in our following of the Lord, when we turn back to Him, He can still use us for His purpose.

Genesis 27 tells the story of Jacob stealing the blessing. Darby, in his Synopsis on this chapter, says of Jacob,

Heir of the promises, and valuing them, he uses means to have them, evil and low in character. God answers his faith, and chastens his evil and unbelief.

So often, we are just like this; we are the real “Jacob’s,” who do love the Lord and want to follow Him, but do so in a fleshly way. And so, as with Jacob, God must deal with us in much wisdom, “answering our faith, but chastening our evil and unbelief,” as Darby says.

Darby then goes on, in his comments on the next chapter, Genesis 28, to contrast the life of Jacob with that of Abraham:

The wanderings of Abraham were in the land of promise; those of Jacob, out of it: two things very different one from another. God, indeed, was with Jacob, and never left him, but Abraham walked with God: in the realization of His presence he built his altar. Jacob had no altar; he was not in the place of promise. For such a path takes us out of communion. Although God in His faithfulness be with us, we are not with Him.

Nonetheless, he then says, of Jacob’s dream,

…So soon as [Jacob] bows to the chastisement, destitute, and with his staff, and a stone for his pillow, God reveals Himself to him, and assures to him all the promises, not in the full revelation of communion [as with Abraham], but in a dream.

As a result of his scheming, Jacob was forced to leave the Good Land; this was God’s dealing with him. Yet, as difficult as it was, he accepted it, and it was this obedience that God answered by giving him the vision of His purpose to have His dwelling place on the earth.

This same principle, namely, that we come to know God and His purpose as we submit to His dealings with us, very much applies to our own spiritual experience, as we shall see in the next Note in this series.

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— 26 June 2024 —