February 12, 2019

Grace for the Disgraceful 

Genesis 28

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Jacob Sent to Laban

Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother's father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. God Almighty1 bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.

Esau Marries an Ishmaelite

Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth.

Jacob's Dream

10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder2 set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the LORD stood above it3 and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel,4 but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 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, 21 so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, 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 give a full tenth to you.”


[1] 28:3 Hebrew El Shaddai
[2] 28:12 Or a flight of steps
[3] 28:13 Or beside him
[4] 28:19 Bethel means the house of God

Grace for the Disgraceful 

Key Verse | Genesis 28:15

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."

Bio | Abby Fifer

Hey y'all! My name is Abby Fifer, and I'm so blessed to be writing to y'all today! Some things about me: I play soccer, I serve in Watermark's Kaleidoscope ministry and LEAD Team, and I help foster babies with my family. I have an amazing community of girls who constantly point me toward Christ. I couldn't be more blessed by them.

Most importantly, I'm a broken person who has miraculously been saved by the grace of our one true God, and I am excited to share more of that good news in today's devotional!

Central Truth

God has never forsaken His people, and He will never will. He is faithful and full of grace.

Devotional | Genesis 28

Have you ever felt like you're too sinful to deserve God's grace? Do you feel "too far gone" or like your mistakes are too big for God to cover? Do you live a life full of fear because of...

Have you ever felt like you're too sinful to deserve God's grace? Do you feel "too far gone" or like your mistakes are too big for God to cover? Do you live a life full of fear because of past/present mistakes?

In this chapter, Jacob is handed a wonderful gift: grace. After stealing his brother's birthright in chapter 25 and then stealing his family blessing in chapter 27, Jacob found himself doomed. He was not only jealous and selfish, but had stolen and lied to his own family. He broke trust in his home and felt he had no choice but to flee from his land.

While Jacob was on this journey, however, God revealed Himself in a dream to Jacob (Genesis 28:10-15), telling him of the numerous descendants he would have that would bless the rest of the world. God promised Jacob these things even though Jacob did not deserve them. Jacob had proven to be unfaithful, but God had plans for him. In Galatians 3:26, 28, Paul wrote, "[F]or in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. . . . There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

God sees us all as His beloved children, and He desires to use us in His kingdom. God chose to give Jacob grace despite his choices and used him to build His nation.

Like Jacob, we're all broken. We constantly stray from the faithful lives God has called us to. We are disgraceful people who would only have the choice to "flee" from our problems but for the grace of God!

Despite our sins, God chose to forgive and bless us just as He did for Jacob. We are God's children (John 1:12), and we have been given the greatest gift of all through His Son (Romans 5:10). God loves you, has already given you His grace, and wants you to believe in Him and His free gift of eternal life! 

So now, live in the freedom of God's grace! 

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you believe that God can forgive you despite the weight of your sins? Why or why not? (Read 2 Corinthians 12:9.)

2. How have you been living like Jacob? How have you been living unfaithfully? 

3. How can you live the faithful life God calls us to? Who can help keep you accountable?

4. How has God already proven to be faithful in your life? Take a moment to thank God for His never-ending love and grace!

16 Comments available

Ricardo Garcia 5 months ago

Throughout my journey with God, I have been constantly working in getting away from my old sinful ways. At first, I knew it would be so difficult for me to gain God’s trust in me, since I have been so far away from his path, but through learning about His word, I know He loves me and it only motivates me to keep on pushing those sinful ways and walk the righteous path. God’s love and blessing are TOO good for me to not take them in.

Jay Caruso 5 months ago

“God has never Forsaken his people and never will he is faithful and full of grace”I love the central truth and thank you Abby for your devotion. I still have a lot of work to do. these Devos are always a great source of hope

Michael Scaman 5 months ago

Jacob longed to come home and says if God allows me to " come again to my father’s house in peace" But we all have a sense of desiring to be able to ‘come home’

greg jones 5 months ago

This Esau reminds me of Herod king of Judea, not the Esau who will show up a few chapters later.

On Jacobs part I think two words count here, “my God”. Not my covenant, my mama, my daddy, my brother, my blessing, a corner is turned Jacob has a picture in his head and puts a rock on the ground. It’s not much, but God can use it.

Scott Jones 5 months ago

If Adam was the poster child for passivity, then Esau gets the nod for impulsiveness. Neither extreme ends well. My prayer is to be able to wait patiently on the Lord, but to act courageously when the time is right.

Michael Scaman 5 months ago

Jesus as the word made flesh will someday describe himself in terms like ‘Jacob’s ladder’ in the gospel of John to Nathaniel (John 1:51 ). I remember singing WE ARE CLIMBING JACOB’S LADDER when I was little but no one ever quite explained why the song was written that way

Michael Scaman 5 months ago

Isaac FINALLY comes to grips with Jacob being the one to carry on the blessings. In his dying days he trembled with fear over the ‘mistaken blessing’ and now is sending Jacob on with a blessing. Gen 28:3-4

Rebe Long 5 months ago

Abby girl! Great Devo this morning, blessed by your encouragement! Your words, “God sees us all as His beloved children, and He desires to use us in His kingdom. God chose to give Jacob grace despite his choices and used him to build His nation.” - Are SO TRUE and it’s awesome that I can say, God has used you for the kingdom in mighty ways. Way to live out faithfulness, sister!

Heather Haskins 5 months ago

Great devotional today, Abby! Thank you for sharing it!

Michelle Martinez 5 months ago

Thank you God for your never ending love and grace!

Elizabeth Erickson 5 months ago

Abby this is fantastic! What a great job you did reminding us all of our need for our savior and our desperate need for Gods amazing grace!!! Great Devo entry Abby we are proud of you!!

Hugh Stephenson 5 months ago
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Hope - you’re an amazing testament to the power of Christ to change lives.

Sue Bohlin 5 months ago

Thanks, Abby!

I was wondering out loud about what you’d call the wife Esau took (half-niece?) when my husband pointed out that Jacob married 2 of his first cousins! I’m glad that all worked out ok.

Esau, bless his heart, apparently wanted to please his parents by marrying a non-Canaanite woman. But he didn’t inquire of the Lord OR his parents, he just went off leaning on his own understanding. The testimony of scripture is that that course of action is a bad idea!

Lindsey Driscoll 5 months ago

Verse 28:20-22 reads “If God …then the Lord will be my God.” Like Jacob, we can sometimes put God in a conditional box. “Will you perform this way God… then I’ll give you my fill in the blank.” When and where do I do this? Meditating on this today, how God is in control and I am not, He is never changing and does not need my conditional acceptance. I just need to learn more of his character and trust him.

Hope Harris 5 months ago

In response to ? 4:

God has been beyond faithful to me over the course of faith journey. Thursday marks 10 years since I gave my life to Jesus and started an adventure filled new life in Christ.

I am grateful to come experience that Jesus is my savior and the Messiah. I have learned that God is my provider, protector, and healer.

This morning I am challenged to commit the next leg of my journey to the Lord Psalm 37:5-7.

With that I am off to visit a new set of Middle Schoolers and talk about Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships.

Hugh Stephenson 5 months ago

In this passage I count three choices and eight promises.

Isaac chooses to bless Jacob and seems to finally submit to God’s will in doing so.

Esau chooses to rebel even more by seeking a Canaanite wife. Eventually he moves to Edom. This is one of the most desolate places I have ever seen. Dirt, rocks and goats. That’s it. Great choice.

God makes eight promises to Jacob. My summary - Land, seed, blessing, protection, return, presence.

Then Jacob chooses to make a vow to God.

It seems the key section is when Jacob says “If God will…so that…then…”

I laugh at his arrogance. What a knucklehead. Did Jacob think God would be grateful that he would give Him back 10% of what was already His?

May I know Him so well that I surrender to Him, give all credit to Him, and trust Him for my provision.

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