Reading: Genesis 28: 10-19
Verse 15: I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.
Jacob has had a long day of travel. As darkness sets is, he grabs a rock for a pillow and lays down on the ground. He is happy for his spartan bed. Perhaps you too have been there. You have driven a long ways that day and are happy to finally have a place to lay your head for the night. You’ve gone on a little further just to get a little closer to your destination. Jacob is just the opposite: he has gone on a lot further to get away from Esau. He had just stolen his father Isaac’s blessing from Esau and he is fleeing to Haran for protection.
In our passage today, we soon find that God is blessing this whole adventure. In the middle of the night, Jacob awakens to angels ascending and descending a set of stairs, coming and going from the earth. Then God speaks to Jacob from the top of the stairs to heaven. God gives Jacob this great promise: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go”. What reassurance! God also adds that He will give Jacob and his descendants this land to live in. God closes this exchange with another promise: “I will not leave you until I have done what I promised”. In the morning Jacob awakens and builds a pillar and names this place ‘Bethel’ – house of God.
Like Jacob, we too have our Bethel moments. We too have come to the place of weariness and have laid down our heads, happy for the day to draw to a close. We have carried our burdens or worries or anxieties with us and are content to just find a little rest. And then God has shown up. Sometimes we have prayed and sought God out and other times He has just shown up. Sometimes it is God and sometimes it is one sent by God. God may not remove all of our burdens… but He (or His agent) shoulders some of the load and holds our hand as we begin to move forward. There is no question that God has been present and we have been blessed by His care and love. This day may we take the opportunity to thank God for our Bethel moments and to rejoice in His presence in our lives.