Genesis 28:18-22: Responding to God.

“18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.’” NIV UK

There was something of the ‘wheeler-dealer’ about Jacob. There had been no ‘’If ‘’ about the things God had promised (13-15). What the Lord said, He said; and what He said, He meant – every word of it. But somehow Jacob felt he had to lay something on the table. It was like he was trying to bargain with God. Of course, if I am understanding correctly, this fits the picture of the Jacob we are getting to know. But what we can applaud is his desire to respond to God’s promise. However imperfectly, he made a response. He wanted to lay hold of what God had said. Each of us must do the same.

‘Jacob didn’t suddenly become a perfect man after encountering God at Bethel; but he was changed. He made important commitments to God. And later, he returned to Bethel and rededicated that place to God (Genesis 35:6-7). Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, pp.173/174