The Lord was with Jacob as he fled north to escape the wrath of his twin brother, Esau, whom he had enraged by tricking him out of the family blessing. Along the way on his journey, the Lord appeared to Jacob in a dream:
11 And he (Jacob) came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 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 promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:11-17 (ESV)
This was the first of three times that the Lord would appear to Jacob. Each time, Jacob responded in a more mature, faith-filled way. His initial response to God’s appearing was not necessarily evident in his behavior, but the hard knocks of life would have a tenderizing effect on both Jacob and his resulting faith.
Our own experiences interacting with God may not be as dramatic or as direct as Jacob’s (though for some they may be), but they can be just as impactful on our lives and in our manner of living. Our initial response to God’s calling may not be as faithful as we later would have liked, but any positive response we have represents progress and improvement. It pleases the Lord whenever we seek to change bad direction and begin to follow Him and his ways.
Just as the Lord spoke to Jacob, he speaks to us today:
15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go. Genesis 28:15 (ESV)
As I write this, I am heart-broken because of the loss of a beloved pet. My head knows that it was God’s appointed time for her to depart, but my heart is struggling and pained by the loss. She was a tremendous gift of God to our family, and such a blessing to so many who knew her and loved her so deeply. Yes, it is time to let her go. And blessings be given to God Most High, who gives us such wonderful gifts, and comforts us when the sword of loss pierces our heart.
The Lord promises that He is and will be with us always, working to guide us and to keep us safe wherever we go. To another continent as He leads? Yes. To a new job site, or working from home, to the unemployment office, to the hospital, or even to the jail if we have made a poor choice? Yes, He is there. Down a road of loss, grief and pain? Yes. He will be with us to comfort and keep us in all situations.
God promised Jacob that, through him and his offspring, all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 28:14). This happen with the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who brings salvation to all believers worldwide.
All people are being freely offered the love and salvation of Jesus, who appeared through the lineage of Jacob, a person who dreamed of God, a heavenly ladder and a host of angels ascending and descending upon it. This is also a special calling to you and I – God has a unique plan for each of our lives.
You are a special creation of God – no one else on earth is like you or is able to do what God has prepared for you to do. Your personality and experience divinely shapes you to credibly share a message of hope and love in a way that no other person can. God has a specific purpose for your life. It may include just being present and compassionate to reflect the grace and love of God to someone at a critical moment in their life.
As we connect with Jesus, we, like Jacob, are empowered to become a blessing to all the people we encounter on this earth.
Have you ever had a dream that you believe was from God? How did it impact you?
Jacob said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” Is there a time or event in your life where you had thought God was not present or had abandoned you? Looking back in faith, can you now see that He WAS there, and you did not know it?
Lord, thank You for never leaving me. I am grateful for Your loving presence. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.