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…


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. And Jacob had prayed the promises, all those years before…

FIVE promisesthe 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 were 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 in this study, 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 their bringing 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!
[Reposted from the archives]
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8 thoughts on “Wherever!

  1. Love that HE brings us back…the line from a hymn “Prone to wander, Lord, I fear it, prone to leave the God I love” sure is accurate and part of our human condition. Grace. Mercy. Love. All from HIM.

  2. I’m with you. I’ve burned up good years for bad, but God uses all our missteps in a miraculous way to bring the redemption that only the Controller of the cosmos can. Redemption from grace… I’m seeing it more clearly all the time. Thanks for the wise teaching and reminder.

  3. I read your words this morning and was very touched. I have thought about them a lot today. I have slipped into a bit of a funk. A few steps were taken a little off the path here and there until I eventually woke up and realized I had veered far from the trail. It’s hard. I don’t like the way I feel, but your words met me where I am. Thanks.

  4. That wise teaching came from my husband, Floyd. He was the speaker. It really made me see Jacob’s story in fuller light. How God makes redemption work through even our mess-ups and missteps is such amazing grace, isn’t it? What a Savior!

  5. Tereasa, I have been exactly where you are! That’s why I reposted this old post from last year. Well, actually, I think God took me to it; I wasn’t even remembering it till I “happened” upon it. I’m so glad it ministered to you, too. (I kept rereading God’s promises in it.) That’s the kind of thing that astounds me about His timing, how he works it all together for our good.

  6. Wonderful observations – and such beautiful promises you’ve shared! Thank you for sharing this, Sylvia!

  7. It’s the wise way to pray isn’t it, Mary? Praying the sure promises of God. That’s what George Muller did, and so received such “amazing” answers. I never noticed before how Jacob was simply asking for what God had already promised.

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