Today’s Scripture Selection: Genesis 28:16
“When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’”
As Abraham and Sarah’s story unfolds there is much richness, albeit mixed in with some deception.
At one point, after receiving his father’s blessing that rightfully should have gone to Isaac, Jacob’s story continues. There is this very interesting dream that Jacob has at a place called Bethel.
Do you remember a song about Jacob’s ladder? It’s from this bit of scripture.
Dreaming of a wonderful stairway reaching to heaven, complete with angels ascending and descending on it, Jacob hears the LORD speak of how his descendants will be “like the dust of the earth” and how they will “spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.” Jacob receives this wonderful promise: “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.”
It’s quite a blessing, to say the least.
No wonder he exclaimed upon waking, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”
What’s so poignant and interesting about this story is that Jacob receives this blessing – and comes to new awareness of God’s powerful presence in his life – after he has done wrong and has been on the run.
Isn’t that often true for us?
We sin, or we fail in some way, or we fear facing the consequences of some ill-chosen action, and God – in God’s mercy – blesses us and others with grace. Somehow, some great providential plan happens just as it should – despite or even by way of our duplicity or failure.
There is great mercy in the story of Jacob and his wonderful dream at Bethel. That’s the name Jacob gives the place where he dreamt and built an altar to God. It means “house of God.”
Perhaps God is at work in your life – some place where, for the moment, you have missed Him. You may be there, like Jacob, right in God’s midst – and not even be aware.
If so, isn’t it time to wake up – and give thanks?