Friday, September 25, 2009

Leaving Home, Alone -- Genesis 28:10-11

Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.

Jacob leaves his home area of Beersheba and heads towards Haran, the place where his grandfather Abramham had gone when he left Ur of the Chaldees and where Abraham remained until his own father died. The text informs us simply that he came to “a certain place”. No town is mentioned but the translation of the Hebrews implies that “a certain place” was not just a point in the road, but an actual town, or city. Given the direction that Jacob was traveling, some have assumed that place to be Bethel, forty or so miles from Beersheba. Had he left early in the morning, he well could have made that distance in one day. The sun had now set and he prepared to spend the night there outdoors. We know this because scripture indicates he took one of the stones lying about to use as his pillow and he lay down there for the night.

The account is very sparse. We are not told much about anything that happened during his travel that day, nor what he may have eaten, or even how he felt. While he left on good terms with his mother and at the arranged request of his father that Rebekah had taken care of, there is no record of Jacob being given any assistance regarding the trip with servants or food or drink. This is in stark comparison to the occasions when Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away or when he sent his servant off to find a wife for Isaac. In addition, he did not take time to say good-bye to Esau. Clearly, Jacob was humanly speaking, very much alone on this trip.

Some of us have passed seasons in our lives when we have been very much alone, humanly speaking. And like Jacob, we get weary and need to rest. We’re not always in the most comfortable or, for that matter these days, in the safest place in life when that happens. We may feel very scared as sleep tries to overcome us. And yet, for the true believer, the fact remains, he or she is never alone. God is always there with us. Our job is to allow ourselves to sense His very presence. And He makes Himself known in various ways.

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