Gen. 28:20-22- 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, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, 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.
I hope you didn’t skip the verse in today’s devotion. I know it is pretty long, but for some it could be a game changer. Jacob had just awakened from his famous dream, you know the one, the one about angels and ladders. This night was not just any night, it was Jacob’s first night away from home. Before now he was under his father Isaac’s roof, his dad was rich and Jacob worried about nothing. Now Jacob was alone. At least he thought he was alone until that dream. When he awoke he felt something he had never felt before. The very weighty presence of God was there in that place. He wasn’t alone after all. He was in the very presence of the Lord. He had to name that place, he decided to call it Bethel. Bethel means house of God. He knew he was in God’s house and God was with him.
Something special was happening that night. He had heard Grandpa Abraham’s stories about the Lord, he also heard his dad Isaac tell some stories. The one that really got Jacob was the one about the ram in the bush. The one where Jehovah Jireh provided an offering so that his dad wouldn’t have to die. He knew the Lord was the Lord of Abraham and Isaac, now he had become his God too. He was now the God of Jacob.
Jacob was beginning to get it, that’s it, Jehovah Jireh, He is my provider. That’s when he remembered what Grandpa Abraham had taught, “the first tenth of our income belongs to the Lord”. Jacob knew now what that night had been all about. The Lord would be with Jacob and take care of him in all his ways but the Lord wanted something, he wanted Jacob. That’s what the tithe is all about, the Lord wanted Jacob to put some skin in the game. He wanted the first of all of Jacob’s wealth. He was going to make Jacob wealthy, just like Abraham and Isaac, but He had to have Jacob’s heart first. It’s not good enough to know about God, He has to become your God. That happens when you find yourself in God’s presence, at the bottom of Jacob’s ladder at a place called Bethel, the house of God.