Afterthoughts for July 18, 2011

Genesis 28:16- Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, “God is in this place—truly. And I didn’t even know it!”

If you ever sang the song Jacob’s Ladder, this is where it comes from. While on a journey to find a wife, Jacob sleeps in the open one night, with a rock for a pillow, and dreams of a stairway or ladder connecting heaven and earth. Angels were going back and forth. In the dream God renews the promise to give Abraham’s descendants, now through Jacob’s line, the land where Jacob is sleeping. I think the wording in the above verse is interesting. He doesn’t say “God came to me here” or “God visited me here.” The dream gave him the realization that God had been there all the time even though he hadn’t been aware of it. To make the point, he names the place Bethel, the house of God, because this is where God lives, not just a place he visits occasionally. So many things happen to us each day. Some we like, others we don’t, but either way most of the time we don’t connect them with God until there is some sort of psychic shift (a dream?) that helps us understand that God is present in this event. One way of viewing prayer is the act of opening our hearts and minds to the presence of God. I think many of us can look back at times in our lives and now say, “God was there with me- truly. And I didn’t even know it!” What if we lived this week open to praying, “God, let me know you are here with me, truly, in this present place.”

Don

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