Genesis 28 has Jacob running from his brother Esau who has just been tricked by Jacob and his mother. Through some deceptive help of his mother Rebekah, Jacob escapes with the Birthright and Blessing of the Promised family. As a runner I have found that you can run as long as you want, eventually you will tire out and be caught. For me it was unwilling to accept what the Lord had told me for 15 years – I was being called to the ministry. I fought it and ran from it but in 1994 after becoming completely exhausted with “playing” christian, submitted to the Father. It was a great day and burden lifting experience. Jacob on his running to Laban, encounters Yahweh at a place to be named later as Bethel. We know the story as Jacob’s Ladder. Remember at this point Jacob is lost, really lost. He has heard from grandpa Abraham, and listened to Isaac talk about God and His amazing acts – yet has not known Him. The Heavenly Father, repeats the Promise that has been passed down from the last two generations, now given to him. Jacob isn’t even remotely close to being ready to be “put in the ministry.” It will be some 20 years before Jacob submits to the Lord. In Genesis 28: 18-22, it sounds like Jacob is playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with God. The very words Jacob states will come back to him. At this point God is the God of Abraham and Isaac, but not His God. In the next few chapters we run into the rascal Laban and his basket of tricks and deception. Over the next 20 years, Jacob works for two women, of which only Rachel does he want. At the end of the “courting process” Jacob has four  women and 12 children, 11 boys and Dinah. Jacob should have learned his lesson, when he woke up with the wrong woman on his wedding night! Laban will prove to be a formidable challenger as far as tricks are concerned. So after 20 years – Jacob runs some more, this time from his present position to his past. The encounter with Esau, who at times really seems to be the victim, lest we forget Hebrews 12:16; both men are rich with resources. Jacob fears for his life and set up stages of goats, camels, kids and wives in front of himself – still the “shameful coward” to face his sins. Jacob tricks Esau again, telling him he will follow behind later, and send Esau on his way. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the poor parenting of Jacob in the dealings with Shechem and Dinah ordeal. Even though Dinah had been knowing raped, Jacob kept silent – however the sons could not let it go. Through a painful circumcision and then slaughtered while recovering, Simeon and Levi avenge their sister Dinah. Back to the River – hearing from God this time, Jacob goes to Bethel, where he first encountered Yahweh. Crossing rivers, Jacob comes to Bethel again, this time he is an active participant in the dealing – he wrestles with God, and gets crippled in the process. What a point – all of us wrestle with God, and having wrestled with Him – our Walk will be changed from that day forward!At least there is a respect for God now, Jacob tells his entourage to “put away your foreign gods, purify yourself and change your clothes [ same statement Naomi tells Ruth to do before meeting Boaz in Ruth 3]. Final the runner is no longer the Rascal, instead of running from God, he is running TO GOD. On the plain of Paddan-aram, the trickster Jacob becomes Israel. A name change because of a personality and heart change. Just as Abraham became God’s man of blessing, now Israel is the conduit of blessing to all people’s. Tell you the truth I would not have chosen Jacob! But then again he probably wouldn’t have chosen me; but both of us have been chosen by the Father! It is a sad time, for just as Jacob [Israel] gets right with the Father, he loses his beloved Rachel in child-birth of Benjamin. The 12 Tribes are now complete – but what a cost. At the end of this section, the Runner has Run, the Rascal has met his challenge, and the Rivers have wound around to bring the weary traveler back to the Promised Land. Changed, weary, and blessed. More parenting problems next week.