By the time Jacob leaves his mother and father’s home as a young adult, he has no personal relationship with God, which is sad in itself.
Jacob’s lack of personal relationship with God is reflected in his response to Isaac’s question about Jacob’s apparent success in hunting. Jacob tells his father, “The Lord YOUR God gave me success” (Genesis 27:20).
So, it comes as no surprise that Jacob’s decision to head for his uncle’s house in Paddan Aram, at the first sign of Esau’s anger, is based on fear and the counsel of his mother and father. The Lord was not consulted or considered in the matter.
Just common sense.
Nothing wrong with common sense, if that’s all you have available for your decision making… if your spiritual senses have yet to be awakened by the Holy Spirit as the result of being born again.
Something remarkable, then, happens in Jacob’s life. Somewhere between Beersheba and Paddan Aram, Jacob spends the night. With a stone for a pillow, he has his own encounter with God.
The Lord has to introduce Himself to Jacob as “the God of your father, Abraham and the God of Isaac” (Genesis 28:13).
He is not the God of Jacob… yet.
Jacob is on his own.
Making his own decisions.
Conniving for his own future.
I am not suggesting that Jacob’s character is immediately transformed by his encounter with the Lord that night. I am suggesting this is where Abraham and Isaac’s God becomes Jacob’s God and Jacob’s transformation begins.
Now, Jacob has something more than his own common sense for making decisions. He has a personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The next time that Jacob has to make a major decision is when his prosperity incites the anger of his uncle Laban and his servants.
Common sense would suggest a change in location for Jacob and his growing household.
But something has changed, since Jacob ran for his life from Esau. Now Jacob has a relationship with God. Now Jacob’s life is not just dictated by common sense.
“Then the Lord said to Jacob, ‘Go back to the land of your fathers, and I will be with you'” (Genesis 31:3).
Jacob still has a great deal to learn about God and a great deal about himself; there is still much that needs to be changed, but his life and decisions are now being directed by the One whose ways and thoughts are higher than his own.
There is much for us to learn from Jacob’s experience in this season of his life.
How sad if we, who have had our spiritual senses awakened by the Holy Spirit, then revert to common sense to make our decisions!
And I’m not just talking about the huge decisions with long range impact.
How will we be able to discern the voice of God for those big decisions if we haven’t learned to listen to Him in the day-to-day decisions?
Being led by the Spirit is the very essence of being in relationship with God… of being a Christian (Romans 8:14).
So, let’s begin inviting the Holy Spirit into our everyday lives, and then actually listen and pay attention to His guidance. Do it daily. Do it consciously.
And let’s start making decisions led by the Spirit.