1. Hello, listening friends.
2. We are so glad that you have joined us today.
3. We are in the midst of a series of messages about God’s grace.
4. We are calling this series, “Portrait of Grace;”
5. and, today, we’ll be looking at Genesis, Chapter 28, verses 10 to 22.
6. You know, my listening friend, if you traveled the world over, as I have done, you see broken people everywhere.
7. Rich and poor alike, they all get sick and die.
8. They all go through loss and pain of all kinds;
9. but what I want to tell you is that those times can be times of blessing;
10. and, in today’s message, we find Jacob broken and alone with God.
11. He has a stone for a pillow and the stars for a blanket.
12. He has the hard ground for a mattress and no mother to look out for him.
13. He has no business to attend to and no scheming to occupy his attention.
14. He is in the wilderness all alone with God in Bethel;
15. but I don’t want you to miss the way God deals with His broken children.
16. You will have expected God to appear to Jacob in the wilderness and say to him, “You are a miserable sinner.
17. You conspired with your mother to deceive your father.
18. You have missed your opportunity and I cannot use you anymore.
19. Look at yourself now—all alone and desperate. Don’t look to Me for help.”
20. Is that what the Bible said?
22. The way God deals with us when we are broken is not to punch us in our wounds.
23. The way God deals with us when we are down is not to kick us.
24. The way God deals with us when we are burdened with guilt is to pour out His grace.
25. Today, I have a word from the Lord to all those who are either broken or heading for brokenness.
26. I want to tell you three things that you must never forget about your Bethel experience.
27. First, rejoice when you are in your Bethel experience.
28. Secondly, respond immediately to your Bethel experience;
29. and, thirdly, remember to return to your Bethel often.
30. What do I mean when I say, “Rejoice when you are in your Bethel?”
31. Because, most often, Bethel is the only place where God can get your attention.
32. Because, most often, Bethel is the only place where you are not distracted by other things.
33. Because, most often, Bethel is the only place where you are ready to hear God;
34. so, if you view your Bethel experience positively,
35. you will see it as an opportunity to encounter the living God.
36. You will not see your hardship as a place from which you want to flee,
37. but a place in which you encounter the living God.
38. For most of us, our natural reaction when we get into our Bethel experience is to cry out to the Lord, “Get me out of this!
39. Lord, do something and do something quick!
40. Lord, find me a way out!”
41. Instead, ask yourself, “Why am I here in my Bethel?”
42. Because there are dreams that God wants to give you, but they can only be received in Bethel.
43. There are blessings that God wants to communicate to you, but they cannot be communicated when you are on top of the world;
44. and that’s what He did with Jacob;
45. and, oh, what a dream God gave Jacob in Bethel!
46. Do you remember the story of the tower of Babel?
47. There, the Babylonians wanted to reach God;
48. and they were busy building a tower to the zodiac that would connect them to God.
49. They were busy working, trying to get to God their way;
50. and we call it, the “Tower of Babel;”
51. but, here, God builds the stairway to Heaven for Jacob.
52. God reaches down and reveals Himself to Jacob.
53. God manifests His glory to Jacob.
54. My listening friend, God is the One who is always reaching out to us.
55. God is the One who’s always seeking after us.
56. God is the One who wants to bless us and pursue us.
57. If you are frantically trying to find God,
58. if you are praying and praying and not sure that God is hearing your prayer,
59. my advice to you is this:
60. calm down so that you can hear the gentle voice of God calling you,
61. so that you can see the hand of God reaching down to you,
62. so that you can feel the presence of God.
63. He may be speaking to you today through this broadcast.
64. In Jacob’s case, when all of his scheming and maneuvering was over,
65. God reaches down to Jacob in the lowest point of his life and gives him a glorious dream;
66. and, when Jacob wakes up from the incredible dream, or vision,
67. he concludes, in Genesis 28:17, that this is an awesome place.
68. “This is no other than the house of God. This is the gate of Heaven...”
69. and that is why he calls it, “Beth-el.”
70. “Beth” means “house,” and “el” means “God;”
71. and, then, he sets up an altar and worships God.
72. This vision is nothing less than a vision of Jesus Christ, who was to come.
73. This is a vision of Jesus Christ, who’s the only Stairway to Heaven.
74. What a privilege for Jacob to have in the wilderness!
75. He receives the confirmation of Abraham’s blessing.
76. and he is assured that the Messiah will come through his descendants.
77. In John’s Gospel, when Andrew brought Nathaniel to meet Jesus,
78. Jesus told him about Jacob’s stairwell to Heaven.
79. What is Jesus saying?
80. Jesus was proclaiming that Jacob’s vision was fulfilled in Him,
81. that Christ is the blessing that God spoke about to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob;
82. so, my friend, rejoice in your Bethel, because there is your special blessing.
83. Jacob responded to God’s revelation to him.
84. How did he respond?
85. He responded tangibly.
86. He responded in self-commitment.
87. He responded with taking concrete steps to express his attitude of gratitude.
88. Many of you, my listening friends, have been eternally saved through Jesus Christ;
89. and many of you are thankful that your sins are forgiven.
90. Many of you are thankful for the fact Jesus died on the cross to save you and to forgive your sins;
91. but what most of us often forget is to always thank God for His salvation.
92. We often take that awesome gift of God for granted.
93. Jacob said, “I will give ten percent of all that God will put in my hands back to God.”
94. Remember, this was 400 years before the Law of Moses was given regarding the tithe.
95. Now, I want you to think about this, my listening friend.
96. Jacob is going to give something back.
97. All of his life, he had been a taker.
98. All of his life was characterized by “give me, give me, give me.”
99. All of his life was characterized by selfish ambition;
1. but, now, at Bethel, he has been transformed by the power of God.
2. Here, at Bethel, he responds to the grace of God by being a giver and not just a taker.
3. Generous giving is always in response to the grace of God.
4. Generous giving is in response to the God who meets you in your Bethel.
5. Generous giving is always in response to the generous grace of God that He heaps upon you—that He heaps upon us—again and again;
6. so, rejoice in your Bethel.
7. Respond to your Bethel.
8. Thirdly, remember to return to your Bethel often.
9. Jacob’s Bethel experience did not transform him into a super spiritual man over night,
10. for he fell back into his old habits, as we will see in the coming messages.
11. The process of becoming like Christ every day is a process.
12. Every day, you and I are faced with temptation.
13. We often find ourselves in the same old territory that we thought we have left a long time ago.
14. We often find ourselves drifting into doubt, discouragement and depression.
15. Those are the times when we must return to our past Bethels again and again.
16. Those are the times when we must return to those places where we have experienced God before,
17. those places where we have encountered God before,
18. those places where we have seen that God moved mountains in our lives,
19. those places where we have seen God answer prayers.
20. You must keep on going back in your memories to those places.
21. There is no doubt that during the tough times that Jacob faced in his life,
22. he returned to Bethel again and again in his mind and in his spirit.
23. My listening friend, I’m about to conclude, so, please, listen carefully.
24. As I said in the beginning, your Bethel experiences need not be negative.
25. The Bethel experiences in our lives are supposed to be touchstones for us.
26. They are supposed to be defining moments.
27. They are supposed to be landmarks which we remember deeply and can return to.
28. When we face times of brokenness in our lives,
29. we need to remind ourselves that the God who helped us once will help us again.
30. The God who met us then will meet us again,
31. that the God who blessed us then will bless us again,
32. that the God who gave me a dream then will confirm it again and again.
33. Rejoice, respond and remember,
34. so that your Bethel experience will bring you to new heights of love and appreciation for your gracious Lord.
35. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.