Sermon starter: Being blessed

July 10th, 2020

Genesis 28:10-19a; Psalm 139: 1-12, 23-2; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Jacob’s father sent him to Paddan Aram to find a wife. This may seem extraordinary in our culture where marriage is often entered into without direction from anyone. Jacob obeys his father and sets out on a journey not realizing that his journey will be interrupted by angels.

Jacob camps for the night without the benefit of room service. In this ordinary setting he dreams of a stairway going from earth to heaven.  Angels are on the staircase and if that were not enough, the God of Abraham is just above the stairway with a message for our traveler. After identifying himself, the Lord promises Jacob that his family will multiply. They will bless other people. I once had a retired minister tell me that he was going to bless me. He then proceeded to pray God’s blessing on my ministry. I still think of that prayer when the journey becomes difficult.

As if the promise is not enough, God reassured Jacob that he would be with him and never leave him. One would think Jacob’s worries were behind him. When he awakens he is afraid. His fear may have been based on a sense of God’s Holiness or perhaps he was insecure and wondered what to do next.

Jacob erects a crude structure to God that he promises is the beginning of a house for God. Then he makes a vow to God promising to follow him. God has already promised care but Jacob needs reassurance. He can’t be satisfied with the free gift of God’s grace. He must add to it.

Like Jacob we have difficulty taking God at his word.  We insist on adding to the gift of grace when God has already assured us he loves us. Much of our religious work may be for our benefit rather than the Creators. God had already promised to be with Jacob. His faith story included a gift of grace as does ours.

The words of Romans reminds us that we are led by the Spirit of God. As Jacob was so we are the recipients of God’s promises and guidance.

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