“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God.'” Genesis 28:20-21 (NASB)
Jacob wants to trade with God. He says, “Now, God, if You will do this for me. . .” But God has already told him that He is going to do every one of these things for him. “I am going to keep you; I am going to bring you back to this land; I am going to give you this land; and I am going to five you offspring” (Gen. 28:13-15). Then Jacob turns around and bargains with Him, “If You will do it, then I’ll serve You.”
God doesn’t do business with us that way. He didn’t do business that way with Jacob either. If He had, Jacob would have never made it back to that land. . .
Many people even today say that they will serve the Lord if He will do such and such. You won’t do anything of the kind, my friend. He doesn’t do business that way. He will extend mercy to you, and He will be gracious to you without anything in return. But He does say that if you love Him, you will really want to serve Him. That will be the bondage of love. It is the same kind of love a mother has for the little child.
J. Vernon McGee, Commentary – Genesis