Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you (Genesis 28:15, ESV).
Sometimes, we just won’t take yes for an answer.
God’s promises to us in Scripture are so clear. Promises including His love, His forgiveness, and His provision, as well as His presence, His control over all things, and His zealous protection of His people—not only from the temporary threats of the moment but from the clutches of death and hell for all eternity.
You’d think, having been given so many steadfast assurances of His goodness and faithfulness toward us, belief in His Word would come easily. We’d consider the price He paid for us, and simply walk in the confident freedom of being His child, empowered to follow His Word on earth and into eternity.
He’s the God who made the heavens and the earth—but do you still sometimes look sideways at Him, not so sure you can trust Him?
Whether from doubting the truthfulness of His claims, or trying to find the catch, or carrying the baggage of too many experiences in life where people have let us down, we can feel the need to press Him for further proof and confirmation.
You’ll remember the story of Jacob’s ladder—the amazing vision the Lord gave to him along the roadside one night on the way to his homeland, where God told this grandson of Abraham that the covenant made years ago with his forefather was still in effect. “Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 28:14). What an incredible moment! The angels of God. The voice of God. “How awesome is this place!” Jacob said. “This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:17).
But early the next morning as Jacob prepared to leave, he set up a little marker to enshrine the place where God had met with him so vividly, and he made this vow: “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God” (Genesis 28:20–21).
Did you catch that? “If God will be with me. . . . ”
God Almighty had just said to Jacob that He would be: “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.” He’d promised it with the accompanying spectacle of angels ascending and descending on a ladder that stretched to heaven. And yet by breakfast the next day, God’s promises already seemed shaky enough to Jacob that he thought he’d better put some extra conditions on them.
Our God, as if He needed to prove Himself and His will to us at all, made Himself abundantly clear when He sent His Son to die on the cross, redeeming His lost people, and declaring victory over sin, death, and hell through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. Jesus Himself is the ladder between us and heaven—as He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). And now, “every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Him” (2 Corinthians 1:20, HCSB)—in Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
No need to bargain for them. No need to worry. No need to adopt a wait-and-see approach.
Receive what you’ve been given by the Lord’s gracious hand. And go on your way, rejoicing.
This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission.
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church-planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God’s Word on the Walk in the Word radio and television programs, and is a gifted author and speaker. You can find out more about James and his ministries at WalkintheWord.org.