“Then he (Jacob) dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: ‘I AM the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also, your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I AM with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.’ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.'”
“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”
Jacob is on his way to Haran to find a wife and to flee from his brother Esau. Jacob had deceived his ailing father into thinking he was Esau, the firstborn son, and thus received his father’s blessing instead of Esau.
There are many lessons in these few verses, but I believe the one the Lord is directing us toward today is understanding His omnipresence – His ability to be present in all places at all times. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? This is one of those reasons why we cannot contain God in our gilded boxes of religion. He far exceeds anything our mind can comprehend.
Jacob will eventually be renamed Israel (Genesis 32). He is crucial to the bloodline of Jesus, crucial to passing the torch of the covenant made with Abraham. In fact, he is the third generation to receive the promises of the covenant. And, I believe, the Lord knew that Jacob MUST know Him as Lord on his own, not be “grandfathered in”.
As the son of Isaac, Jacob certainly knew of the Presence of God through the teachings of his father. Jacob was aware of the covenant God had made with his people. But isn’t it interesting how, in the dream, the Lord so tenderly assures Jacob that not only is He the God of the past, He is also the God of the future: “And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: ‘I AM the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac..”Behold, I AM with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you,'” (verses 13,15)
I love how God revealed Himself to Jacob in such a personal way. Later in this chapter, Jacob says “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God” (verses 20,21).
Was it necessary for God to do this? It wasn’t necessary for God’s sake – His covenant was His covenant regardless. I believe it was necessary for Jacob’s sake. He needed to know the Lord in Whom he had believed.
Know what else I think? I believe this is a beautiful example of Old Testament grace. Hosea 12:4,5 reads, “…Jacob found Him in Bethel and there he spoke to us – that is, the Lord God of Hosts. The Lord is His memorable Name.”
Jacob found God there.
Could it be that Jacob once was blind, but now he could see?
God became personal to Jacob. He is the same God yesterday, today and forever. Just as He was with Jacob before Jacob realized it, He is with you and me. Just think about it! You are surrounded by the Spirit of God, safe within His love.
I have a Messianic Jewish friend, Mid Stutsman, whom I adore. She is a very gifted writer and has taught me much about seeing God all about me. The following is something she wrote on her blog, Mid’s Point (www.midspoint.com) a few days ago. I believe the Lord wants me to share this with you. It is my prayer that your awareness of God’s Presence will deepen through her words.
THE WIND WHISPERS
by Mid Stutsman
“Let go…come away, ” the wind whispers.
“But I must stay.”
Yet, the voice of the breeze pleads tender within.
I stand aglow in its gentle embrace,
Feel unseen fingers trace through my tresses.
I taste warm kisses and sigh from caresses,
Lingering on my skin.
The essence of You swirls all around me.
I’m aware this time of Your promised love,
Like the sound of a dove softly hovering
O’er my shadowed heart now covering
Until You set me free.
“Now, let go…come away,” the wind whispers.
And this time, I obey.
Powerful, isn’t it?
“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.'”
Father, Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for Your Presence. Open our eyes that we might see. Teach us to expect Your Presence, to look for You and listen for Your whispers of love. You are precious, Lord. We love you.