Gen. 28:20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear,
Gen. 28:21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God,
Gen. 28:22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that you give me I will surely give one tenth to you.”
It appears that during the time of Jacob there were very few people who served God. His father and his grandfather had personal relationships with God and yet there would have to be a commitment on the part of this young man that he, too, would follow the LORD. The faith of his parents would not be enough, he would have to make a vow himself. During the night he had an incredible dream that became very personal and when he awakened he realized the need for his own personal commitment to God.
Jacob awakened and made a vow — one which would change the remainder of his life. He recognized that night that God would be with him and therefore, “If God will be with me…” then everything in life will be different. Jacob was pledging to remain in this relationship with the LORD. He recognized that God would care for his very needs. Notice, this does not include the “extras” of life, but acknowledging that God gives us food to eat and clothing to wear. Jacob also needed protection for he knew that his behavior had created a rift with his brother. This relationship with the LORD would also be one of peace, one that could unite him once again with his brother so that there would be peace in his father’s house.
In response to the vow that was made Jacob set up a stone — as a visible reminder to the commitment made. As Jacob’s personal visible reminder of his vow he promised a tithe of all that he had.
How seriously do we take our faith? What kind of a personal vow have we made to the Lord?
To be in a personal relationship with the Lord is to embark on a serious adventure. Unfortunately many don’t see it in that way. Instead it is seen as a commitment to occasionally attend church, get excited about some worship music, and listen to a sermon.
Just as Jacob was very serious about his vow, so we need to be serious about our vow as well. We have vows in marriage where we are committing to a life-long relationship with one another. Sadly, many of those vows are being broken these days. Could it be that we are living in a time where making vows and sticking with them has become extremely difficult? And could it be that it has become difficult because we are too focused on ourselves and what it is that we want? Jacob was ready to tell God that he would be satisfied with having his “needs” met, and he would always give God back the tenth.
Many people are unable to tithe these days because of their personal debt. We are living above our needs and have moved into our wants. The vow, or commitment has become to ourselves and our self-satisfaction, to the detriment of our families and the on-going life of the church.
It’s time for God’s people to make a vow — a serious commitment to a life of devotion to him! This is a commitment from which we will never waver, being faithful to God, through his grace, to the very end. Then, may a stone be raised over us that serves as a reminder to the world that this has been the house (or the temple) of God. God has lived within and been reflected in the life of this individual.
Lord, thank you for your faithfulness to me. Amen.