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Responding To God With Faith    Gen. 28:1-2, 10-22    March 02, 2008

The Book of Hebrews tells us, " . . . without faith it is impossible to please God, . . ."
(Heb. 11:6 HCSB). From the statement of that verse we must respond to God in faith if we please Him. But let us just ask our selves, "what am I doing in my Christian life that requires faith." Surely all of us want to be Christians Responding To God With Faith.

1. With Faith To . . Tackle Transitions. 28:1-2, 10

A. Transitions Responding To . . Orders From His Earthly Father. 28:1-2
1 Isaac summoned Jacob, blessed him, and commanded him: "Don't take a wife from
the Canaanite women. 2 Go at once to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, your
mother's father. Marry one of the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother.

B. Transitions Responding . . Obediently To His Earthly Father. 28:10
10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.

        The older we get the fewer transitions we desire to make in our lives. But Isaac ordered Jacob to participate in a transition to find a wife. Now most younger people do not mind that kind of a transition. I wonder if we would have fewer divorces if more young people listened to their parents direction about finding a mate. Jacob acted obediently as he followed the advice of his father and made the transition to Haran in order to find a wife.

2. With Faith To . . Trust God's Message. 28:11-15

A. Trusting The . . Communication From The Lord In This Dream. 28:11-13
11 He reached a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set. He took one of the stones from the place, put it there at his head, and lay down in that place.  12 And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching heaven, and God's angels were going up and down on it. 13 The Lord was standing there beside him, saying, "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land that you are now sleeping on."

B. Trusting Through . . Commitment To The Lord From This Dream. 28:14-15
14 Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the
west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through
You and your offspring. 15 Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you
go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I
have promised you.

        Have you ever questioned God speaking to someone through a dream? I have, but then I am reminded of how many times God used this manner of communication. In addition today
we have the Word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide in checking the validity of a dream. God communicated His message for Jacob through a dream, and Jacob did not waste much time interpreting and committing himself to it. If we have a dream and believe it is from the Lord we need to make sure it agrees with His Word, and further impressions we get from the Holy Spirit, and then act. This dream confirmed the Lord's approval of the command given by Isaac to Jacob, and comforted Jacob in his commitment.

3. With Faith To . . Think Through God's Message. 28:16-19

A. Think Through The . . Revelation Of The Dream. 28:16-17
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it." 17 He was afraid and said, "What an awesome place this is! This is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven."

B. Think Through The . . Remembrance Of The Dream. 28:18-19
18 Early in the morning Jacob took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a
marker. He poured oil on top of it 19 and named the place Bethel, though previously
the city was named Luz.

        Have you ever had an experience where you did not recognize the Lord at work until it was over? Jacob sure did! He received a very unique revelation from the Lord but did not realize it while it took place. Remembering hid dream he decided to memorialize the place of this vision, He anointed the stone he slept on, and changed the name of the town from Luz to Bethel, which means: "House of God."

4. With Faith To Give . . Tribute To God's Message. 28:20-22

A. A Tribute . . Impacting The Reality Of The Dream. 28:20-21
20 Then Jacob made a vow: "If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey, if He provides me with food to eat and clothing to wear, 21 and if I return safely to my father's house, then the Lord will be my God.

B. A Tribute . . Immortalizing The Reality Of The Dream. 28:22
22 This stone that I have set up as a marker will be God's house, and I will give to You a tenth of all that You give me."

        If we really make a commitment, it impacts us financially. Did you note a commitment to tithe? Jacob was not very mature in his faith at this time, and offers a deal to the Lord. But the Lord planned to bless Jacob in his faithfulness with or without this offer. It is interesting to note the Bible speaks of tithing before, during, and after the Law; so do you tithe? Jacob was so impacted by his dream that he made a tribute to God's message; thereby immortalizing it for us. Surely we need to be Responding To God With Faith. Amen? Amen!