Friday, July 02, 2010

Jacob Returns Home - Genesis 35:27

And Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre of Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned.

Later this morning my son will be coming to his parents’ and what was formerly his grandparents’ home to visit. Today my second daughter, who lives with us, leaves with her family for a two-week vacation and already I am thinking about when they will be coming back home. On a regular basis, since the beginning of Canada’s involvement in the Afghanistan war, the bodies of men and women have been coming home in a ceremonial convoy along Highway 401, now renamed the ‘Highway of Heroes’. There is something about human nature, both in life and in death, which causes us to one way or another head for home.

While we are alive, we still have the ability to choose when we go or even if we go home. Once we have died, others make that decision for us. But no matter the case, home always seem to be a good place to head.

So Jacob, having traveled afar, having been blessed financially, having met with God and made part of the promise that God first gave his grandfather and later his father, having struggled with the sins of his sons, having lost and buried his beloved Rachel, now comes home to his father’s house. He had been for decades. His children had never seen their grandfather nor he them. There were no telephones, no emails, and no daily mail delivery. Word of each other could only travel by individuals who may be heading in the general direction of the loved you wanted to communicate with. We have no record of too much news traveling back and forth between Jacob and Isaac.

But none of that seems to have mattered. The only thing that counted in our story was that “Jacob came to his father Isaac”. You will remember Mamre, or Hebron, as the place from as far back in the text as Genesis 13:18 when Jacob’s grandfather, before he was even called Abraham, came and dwelt there. Now Jacob returns to that place, now called Hebron, to join his own father, Isaac.

As an aside, permit me to stop and give God glory for His wonderful blessing on my own life. As I reflect on this verse, I realize that when my son and my eldest daughter visit their parents, they are visiting the very place they used to come as toddlers and later as teenagers and even as married adults, to visit their grandfather (my father). For my own grandchildren, these visits connect them back to their great-grandfather. What a joy that is for my wife and I.

One needs truly to be a parent in order to fully comprehend the joy that Isaac must have felt as Jacob comes home after all these years. One needs truly to be a child who loved his/her parents deeply and to have lost them, to know what it means to remember ‘coming home’ to see them. These are indeed precious moments. I believe they are gifts from God to be treasured.

Are you waiting for someone to come home? Do you need to go home to someone else? The pundit who came up with the expression “There’s no place like home” had it right. God wants you home – with your spouse, with your family, in communion with your parents, and most of all, in a personal relationship with Him. It is never too late to come home and if you have done your part, you will find loving arms spread wide open there – be those of people who mean so much to you, or those of the Heavenly Father who gave His Son to die for your sins. Fall into those arms today.

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