I was reading Genesis 28 today and when I came to verses 10-22 , I had to stop. It’s amazing how some of the Bible will just snatch you up by the scruff of your neck and force you to take notice.
The second half of this chapter is about the ladder Jacob saw in a dream. He saw angels ascending and descending from that ladder and the Lord at its top. He reminded Jacob of the blessing of the land he would incur as well as the promise of a great multitude of people which would come through his blood line.
But the tremendous force that smacked me like a brick was that He then promised Jacob that He would always be with Him and that He would fulfill His promise of delivering him to this promised land. The driving forces of these statements are things that God will do, not Jacob. I take great comfort in that. That Gods promise does not rest on my performance…that if I don’t do, God will not deliver. How sovereign is that!
The text goes on to say that Jacob states, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” So many times have I had experiences like that of Jacob where it seems as though God has opened the very gates of heaven and shown forth in his grace and glory in my life. That tremendous warming of the soul one gets when the Almighty reminds his sheep that He is still there and all is going according as planned. But then to only fail to recognize it. To fail to understand what He has given in that very moment of comfort.
I can remember hearing of a story when D.L. Moody once was walking down the street when suddenly the outpouring of divine grace was made manifest in his soul and he had to duck within a doorway and pray that it pass because he was so frightened by it all. Kind of what Jacob feels there in v16 where it says “Jacob was very afraid”.
But then after this dream, Jacob took a stone and pured oil on it and called that place Bethel, or “the house of God”. When these moments of grace happen in my own life, I need to recognize those should be times of stopping whatever I am doing and taking that moment to worship the Lord in thanksgiving and praise for doing what it is He still continues to do in my life. To be faithful to a sometimes faithless wretch like me.