This Alien Place

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Daily Reformation, Genesis 28:15-16

From the Reformer

God now promptly anticipates the temptation which might steal over the mind of holy Jacob; for though he is, for a time, thrust out into a foreign land, God declares that he will be his keeper until he shall have brought him back again. He then extends his promise still further; saying, that he will never desert him till all things are fulfilled. There was a twofold use of this promise: first, it retained his mind in the faith of the divine covenant; and, secondly, it taught him that it could not be well with him unless he were a partaker of the promised inheritance.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis

Pulling It Together

When God promises not to leave us, he is not promising us ease. He is not saying, I do not care for discomfort either, so I’ll keep it away from you too. It was to Jacob in a foreign land, which the slightly younger brother must have feared only a little less than he feared staying home, that God promised to be with him in the midst of all things alien—not to mention that he would be with him when he returned home to Esau. It was to his disciples, just before he was about to ascend from the earth, that Jesus promised he would be with them until the end of things—until they went to their heavenly home as he was about to do. When God says he will be with us, what does it mean but that he goes through this alien place with us and sees us safely home?

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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