5Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother. 6Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women,” 7and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. 8So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, 9Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abrahams’s son, the sister of Nebaioth. 10Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.
Day after day, walking in the hot sun, doing what God commanded, feeling the weight of obedience, thinking God was very far away, Jacob was ready for another lesson: God is at work even when the place I find myself in is wearisome. We’re not sure exactly why he didn’t go into an inn or ask for lodging with a stranger. In that culture, he could expect hospitality. It was very dangerous to be outside overnight. But for some reason, he pulled off by the side of the road and lay down in an open field. He was on a mission, not a sightseeing trip. Maybe he was thinking, “I haven’t got time for socializing.”
As he fell asleep in the stale surroundings, the wilderness atmosphere, and the weariness he felt, I’m sure Jacob didn’t realize God had guided his very steps to the exact place where his grandfather had worshiped. It’s amazing. Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are established by the Lord.” Jacob didn’t know it, but God was ordering his journey.
How many times in our lives do we face some tedious regularity and think to ourselves, “Well, God’s not in this.” Jacob stretched out in that field. No cathedral, no worship music, and no stunning ocean or mountain views. No obvious clues God was anywhere in that boring neighborhood. And yet God was very much there.
What tedium are you facing in your life and trying to figure out where God is? Moms are getting ready for another winter cooped up with toddlers or a summer of kids off school all day every day. I know some people carry a heavy burden because they go to work every single day and don’t love their job!
I talked to a man I respect this week and asked, “How’s it going at work?
He said, “You know, James, my job provides for my family and it gives me an opportunity to serve God. I don’t love my job, but I’m thankful for it.”
Man, is he ever right on. Do you know God is in that place where you work? Even if it seems so regular, He’s right there!—James MacDonald
- What parts of life fit in the category of not-liking-it-but-discovering-God-is-working-in-it? How would the tedious aspects of life be different if I understood better how God was working in them?
Prayer - Father, sometimes I wonder about the value of a particular day. Did I accomplish anything? Were You pleased with my efforts? Did You work through me? I realize these questions are sometimes the mistake of insisting on seeing results, but I also want to make sure that I’m not slipping into a casual and careless life that isn’t attentive to You. Lord, please remind me how You demonstrate Your power by working in the weakest, tedious places in my life—for Your glory. In Jesus’ name