I was reading again this morning a favorite encounter with God in Genesis 28
Jacob came from that wonderfully dysfunctional family in Abraham’s line. They certainly put the fun in dysfunction didn’t they? Well they aren’t so much different than we are, are they? Jacob had tried to arrange his future, even though God had already declared that he would be the lead, even before he was born, but he tried to “work it out” for himself. Hmm, I wonder where he learned that from? (Abram). But after he stole his brother’s birthright, Isaac sent him to find a wife among his family relatives in Paddan-aram. Along the way to Haran, he stopped to spend the night. Genesis 28:11 says he took one of the stones from the place, put it there at his head, and lay down in that place.
On my desk, I have a little collection of stones. They are from different places where I have been, reminding me of things I have done places I have gone. There is a piece of coral I got with my wife in Tulum, Mexico, there is a stone from the place where Paul met Lydia, outside of Philippi, there is a piece of volcanic rock from a hike with my wife in Guatemala to the top of an active volcano, there is a little piece of tile from near the Inn where the Samaritan brought the man injured by thieves, and several others, even a piece of salt rock from the Dead Sea. They remind me of things that have happened in life. When our sons were little we collected a rock from ever state we’d been to, every significant place, and we would carry them home and place them in the rock garden in front of our house.
Well this stone, was just a place to lay his head. And yet v12 says and he dreamed…
Oh my my my, do you take time to dream? You should dream, we should dream more. We should imagine the things that God can do because of what Ephesians 3:20-21 reminds us. Paul said, “now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us – 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.(CSB)
We need to dream more, we need to imagine what God CAN do because he CAN do MORE than we can ask or think, dream or imagine, exceedingly abundantly, immeasurably more than … so we need to dream.
But THIS dream was more than just thinking, or imagining, but God was at work revealing himself to Jacob. Jacob needed to begin to understand who God was, and what he could do. And he saw, in his dream, a stairway from the earth reaching to heaven. And there were angels of God, that is messengers of God, and they were coming down and they were going up. Messengers of God and Messages of God, come FROM God, do his work, and Isaiah 55:10-11 tell us that things from God, do what GOD plans, and then they return to God. God is both the source and the destination. The messengers and messages of God are also for God’s intentions, that passage in Isaiah says that God’s word DOES what God INTENDS, what he purposes, what pleases him.
And seeing this amazing scene, v13 says, there above it stood the Lord (NIV) or The Lord was standing there beside him. Oh wow things are more than they seem. This is a Christophany, a Theophany. This is an appearance of God, God the Son, because John tells us John 1:18 no one has seen God (the Father). So if we see “God” in the Old Testament, it’s Jesus. So there is this beautiful revelation of the working of God, but it’s NOT about the working, it’s about The LORD! And his message for Jacob is, I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham, and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land on which you are lying. Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for you I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised.
Wow, if you look back Isaac had sent Jacob to find a wife and told him he would receive “the Promise of Abraham.” And now, here is the LORD himself confirming that this promise is an eternal promise to the offspring of Abraham through Jacob.
And Jacob Woke up
Oh we should dream, but we have to wake up and come back to the world in which we live. And Jacob woke up and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it… What an awesome place this is! This is none other than the house of God… the gate of heaven.
Oh folks. Do you realize the door to heaven, is right beside you? The place where you are IS the House of the LORD. That’s not just a church thing, it’s a world thing. What makes it so? The recognized presence of God. We need to recognize that God is right here. Jesus said, My father is always at work, and I too am working. When we walk into work, walk the streets of our neighborhood, we need to recognize that God is HERE, and he is Working, this is the house of the Lord, the Gate of Heaven, this is a HOLY PLACE. Our question needs to be, not, “is God working”? But, “Lord, what are you doing here, and how can I join you?”
Let’s get with God and ask him to open our eyes to see what he is doing. Ask him what he is saying about you, and what he is inviting, and then commit to join the messengers of God, coming and going From God, To GOD, FOR GOD.
And when God speaks, and when we join, and when God moves, REMEMBER. V18 Jacob took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a marker. He poured oil on top of it and named the place Bethel (House of the Lord)
Make note of the revealed presence of God in your life. Make a memory.
Then REMEMBER what God says, and speak it back as Truth – v20 If God will be with me and watch over me… That’s exactly what God had just promised to do… if he provides… if I return safely… then the Lord will be my God.
Oh we don’t have to make God prove himself, but when God gives us a promise, and we abide by the promise, and God does what he says, we need to be READY TO GO and to DO, according to his Word.
V22 this stone that I have set up as a marker will be God’s house, and I will give to you a tenth of all that you give me
Hear, Commit, Obey, and Give – Surely the Lord is in this place, and it is AWESOME!