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This devotion is part of the Jesse Tree Advent devotion series. 

Scripture reading: Genesis 28:10-22

Have you ever had a dream that feels so vivid that you sit up in bed and start to act on it, as if the events of your dream had really happened? In Jacob’s case, they had. His dream wasn’t just the normal processes of a brain filing away the day’s events. His dream was a vision deliberately given to him by God.

In the dream, God reiterated the promise he made to Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather: “your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth … and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring” (Genesis 28:14). God also promised that he would remain with Jacob wherever Jacob went (28:15).

In response, Jacob determined that the Lord—the particular God of his father and grandfather—would be his God. He wouldn’t follow some other shoddy god. He also declared that this was to be the Lord’s house and that he’d give back to God a tenth of what God gave to him.

This is the pattern of the gospel: God makes a promise to us and commits himself to us, and then we offer to God our allegiance and a portion of what we’ve been entrusted. During Advent, we anticipate the fullest expression of God’s promise to remain with us. At Christmas, Jesus comes as Emmanuel, God-with-us. As we wait for his coming, let’s consider where our allegiance lies and whether we’re offering back to God what’s rightfully his.

Prayer

Lord, what a promise—to remain with us always! Through your Holy Spirit, point out to me the places where my response to your grace is less than adequate. Enable me to give myself fully to you. Amen.

About the author

Grace Claus is resident theologian and editor for Faithward. She's also managing editor of RCA Today, the denominational magazine of the Reformed Church in America.