Thursday, July 17, 2014

God in unlikely places

Jacob's Dream - Gustave Doré, 1832-1883

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 28:6-22

TO CHEW ON: "Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.'" Genesis 28:16

Jacob's thoughts on waking from his wonderful dream are a testimony to how God-forsaken he felt. His feeling of being alienated from God was no doubt largely his own fault. He had recently participated in his mother's plot to deceive his father into giving him the blessing reserved for first-born Esau. Now Esau was living, eating, and sleeping revenge: "Just wait till Dad dies; I'll kill Jacob!"

Mother Rebekah got word of this and had Isaac send Jacob away on the pretext of getting a wife from her people. It is into the first lonely night of the journey that God came to Jacob in this dream of a ladder, angels, and God, who spoke a generational promise over him, the weasel kid. His first thought was: "God is here. I had no clue!"

I think of other unlikely times and places God showed up.

  • In the words of an enemy soldier - Judges 7:13-15.
  • In the life of a young boy who was surrounded by evilly religious men - 1 Samuel 3:19.
  • In the sea depths - Jonah 1:17.
  • In the middle of a Babylonian furnace - Daniel 3:25.
  • In a den of lions - Daniel 6:21-22.
  • In the presence and words of a young relative - Luke 1:41.
  • On an island of exile - Revelation 1:9-10.

These examples recall the words of David in Psalm 139:

"Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there.
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea
Even there Your hand shall lead me
And Your right hand shall hold me...." - Psalm 139:6-12.

Wherever we are today, no matter how God-forsaken we feel, let's cling to this truth: God is here, with us, whether we feel Him or not.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the truth of Your everywhere presence. Help me to recognize You in my everyday world. Amen.

MORE: Not one hidden moment
"I can hide my heart and my past and my future plans from men but I cannot hide anything from God. I can talk in a way that deceives my fellow-creatures as to what I really am, but nothing I say or do can deceive God. He sees through all my reserve and pretence; He knows me as I really am, better, indeed, than I know myself. A God whose presence and scrutiny I could evade would be a small and trivial deity. But the true God is great and terrible, just because He is always with me and His eye is always upon me. Living becomes an awesome business when you realize that you spend every moment of your life in the sight and company of an omniscient Creator" - J. I. Packer, Knowing God, 1973 edition, p. 91 (emphasis mine).

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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