I worry about missteps. Not gross sin, but foolishness, time waste, judgment errors, misled wrong turns…

Because I did…

get fooled, make missteps, stumble and fall in ditches, lose my way and my time on convoluting detours mistaken for my route mapped out. Repeatedly.

And I so want to get it right, steward my time, mine true treasure from my moments, not get robbed by wasted days backtracked to arrive and bow in my King’s presence with deep red blush of embarrassment.

But I still play fool, get it wrong, wander off misled.

How this happens I often can’t even comprehend. I just sorrow, grieve, regret.


And yet. And yet…


Today we review the life of Jacob so far: He’s on return from a path of escape. Twenty years “wasted”! Cheated of promises, rewards, and time. Cheated by self, cheated by others.

But there were promises that held. Not from the human, but from the True. Grace, ever grace.

FIVE promises, the speaker said, when I was seeing only four:

“I am with you.”

“I will keep you” (from harm, from fear)


“I will bring you back”

“I will not leave you.”


The WHEREVER YOU GO” he saw as promise in itself.

And now I do too.


Jacob gets dissed a lot today for his Genesis 28:20-22 words, as if he was wrangling a deal from God, “If You do this and this and this, then I’ll call you my God…” panned as meet-my-demands behavior.

But, I just realized this year, that’s out of context! Look at his so-called “demands” side by side with the Almighty’s already spoken promises, just five verses before:

VERSE 15:                     VERSE 20:

“I am with you.”             “If  God will be with me…”

“I will keep you…”           “…and keep me…”

“WHEREVER YOU GO.”      “…in this way that I am going…”

            …and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on,

“I will bring you back”        “…so that I come back…”

“I will not leave you.”        “then the LORD will be my God, &…”


See that phrase in the middle? Not part of those FIVE promises, right?

Yet what it asks, humble, falls far short of what God vowed before “the five” (Gen 28:13-14) — abundant descendants, rich in land, and even a blessing to all the families of earth!

Jacob could have named all these as “qualifications, demands,” but instead simply requested food to keep him alive to return, and clothing to cover his nakedness.

He knows his disgrace. And now he knows God’s grace“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it!”

And he trembles with awe and builds an anointed memorial to the place where God’s angels ascend and descend on the stairway to Himself. A place God promises him forever (v 14).

Jacob messed it all up. And it all lies in evident ruins, and he’s left destitute of all but his staff, without even flocks for its use. Yet God is there. And anywhere. Wherever he goes…

Wherever I go, even misstepping.



A fountain of gratitude welling deep within, for these inviolable gifts:

“I am with you.”

“I will keep you” 


“I will bring you back” (to where you need to be).

“I will not leave you.”

Gifts beyond measure! Grace gifts amazing!
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13 thoughts on “Wherever! {A Heart’s Sunday Sermon for All my Mondays}

  1. This is really profound. I too, have been studying Jacob and have posted several Bible Studies on him in my Epiphany Quest! series. I had never noticed the five promises before. Thank you for sharing, they provide more for me to think about.

    1. You know, kd, I never noticed them before, either, in all the times I read through that passage, up until this year! Just shows how little attention I/we can pay to context when we’re racing through to complete our “reading” of a text. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Lots to think about here. You could say Jacob was in a dark night, could you not? Hmmm.


  3. Yes, Dawn, I think you could say that! Especially reading back over the passage. Lots of things…

  4. Lots to ponder, here, Sylvia.

    I’m reminded of the words of the old hymn, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it! Seal it for thy courts, above.”

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Yep, Joe, that line is one reason why I love that hymn. Thanks for commenting!

  6. I just taught on the 5 promises the other week when I was comparing Habakkuk’s wrestling with Jacob’s. But, I didn’t realize that extra line that Jacob adds. I love your perspective here and how you have lined up the promises and the “demands.”

  7. I’m glad these stories of people messing up are preserved for us in the Bible. It reminds me that others have missed the mark and yet they got more chances to get it right. Plus – I’m glad we are not expected to get everything right. The only one who ever did that was Jesus. Since He did it right, I have hope.
    Thank you for sharing on Spiritual Sundays.

  8. How I love this Bible story. It reminds me never to let go of God in the midst of the wrestling. If I hang on, I will receive a blessing. Such a thoughtful and encouraging post.

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