I have been reading again Geerhardus Vos’ Biblical Theology and thoroughly enjoying it. I have just finished the section on the life of Jacob. What struck me most about Jacob was the abundance of god’s grace in his life. How God called him rather than Jacob showing his grace and establishing Jacob, as Paul shows us in Romans, as the paradigm for predestination. How Jacob’s vision of the angels ascending and descending the ladder- Vos says the order is important!- reminded Jacob of God’s providence in his life. And of course that wonderful mysterious wrestling match where God deals with Jacob so graciously.
The other great thing that struck me form the point of view of preaching the life of Jacob was how important it is to keep God at the centre of our message. If you like the story of Jacob is not about Jacob but about God’s great plan of redemption. The danger is that if we keep Jacob at the centre then we preach the passage and apply it by substituting ourselves for Jacob. When, to borrow from one of Dick Lucas’ preaching instructions, ‘Its not about you silly!’
I’m reminded also of DR Davis advice that if we keep God at the centre of preaching narrative we’ll not go far wrong in our interpretation.