Read Genesis 28:1-22
Jacob had a rich spiritual heritage. He was heir to a promise made originally to his grandfather Abraham and restated to his father, Isaac. Of Isaac’s two sons, Jacob was to be the one through whom the promise of land, people, and blessing would be realized.
But in spite of that great spiritual heritage, Jacob’s faith was still being forged in the fires of divine encounters and life experiences. You see, he had yet to fully own the faith that his family had historically claimed.
This divine encounter at Bethel, however, became a milestone experience in his life. Have you experienced that? Yours did not likely include a voice or a vision. It was probably void of angels and ladders. But it was real, nonetheless. Somehow the promises of God became clear. His provision for you became plain. It was a moving encounter and a milestone event.
Jacob had one of those while resting. And, when he awoke, he expressed his amazement and made a vow . . . a conditional one. Even though God had spoken clearly, renewing the very promises He had made to his dad and granddad, still Jacob wasn’t ready to fully sign on as a God-follower. That final and full commitment was still contingent upon God’s faithful provision and protection in his journey. If God provided and protected, then the Lord would be his God.
Indeed, God honored Jacob’s conditional vow. He was faithful to Jacob. And, eventually, Jacob did give Himself to following the God his family had embraced. Still, before you establish some kind of conditional vow with God — some kind of “If You . . . then I . . .” agreement with God — let me encourage you to consider all of the ways God has already revealed Himself to you. What about all of the ways He has already been faithful?
Better than “If You . . ., then I . . .” is “Because you . . . , therefore I . . .” Here is the way Paul stated it in Romans 12:1:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”