A feud developed between Isaac’s sons after Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob and was then deceived by Jacob out of God’s blessing to Abraham, handed down through their father Isaac. Because of this, Jacob was sent away, partly for his own safety and partly to find a wife from his mother’s side of the family in Haran.
Bible Reading: Genesis 28:10-16
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.
He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it."
I suspect there are times in all of our lives when we wonder, ‘Where is God in all of this?’ It might be something that happens in the world at large, or it may be something, like with Jacob, that happens within the family, something for which we may partially be to blame, something that seemed small at the time but has now got out of hand.
The history of Jacob tells us that, whatever has happened, God does not give up on us. When we have put our faith in Jesus he remains with us, never leaving us or forsaking us, and his promises remain true, to bless us so that we can be a blessing, to watch over us, to provide for us, to guide us and to protect us, to give us peace and to lead us to eternal life.
We may face battles both external and within ourselves but, like Jacob, when we lie down we can rest in our God. As he slept Jacob had a dream of a ladder reaching up from earth to heaven from where God spoke to him, encouraged him and reaffirmed to him his promise of blessing.
We might think of Jacob’s dream as a one-off event for an important biblical character. Jacob was chosen by God, but then so are all Christians. I wonder if this isn’t actually a glimpse of how it really is. I wonder if heaven is actually that close all the time, but we are just unaware of its presence. If so, what difference would that make to your life and the way you relate to God?
Jacob’s dream led him to say, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’
Looking back, can you see times when God was present, and you were not aware of it? How might that affect the way you handle these times in the future?
Father God, in the times when it seems that you are absent, remind me of your unfailing presence and that you never give up on me.
Here in this place