‘Remember, I will be with you and protect you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done all that I have promised you.’
Jacob woke up and said, ‘The LORD is here! He is in this place, and I didn’t know it!’ He was afraid and said, ‘What a terrifying place this is! It must be the house of God; it must be the gate that opens into heaven.’ (verses 15-17)
It was an awesome experience for Jacob to realise that he had been in the presence of God. It terrified him, to have been in God’s presence and not know it. In the morning he made a monument to God and named the place ‘The House of God’ (Bethel).
Being in the presence of God doesn’t seem to be such a great novelty for us. Sometimes we may even take it a bit for granted, since we do it every week. There is a problem for us Christians when we lose our sense of awe – awe that we can stand before our God and receive all the blessings he has to give us in worship.
No doubt, when Jacob reflected on the incident and remembered God’s promise not to leave him until he’d done ‘all that I have promised you’, this promise must have been a great source of comfort to him. It should be for us too. Jesus promised his disciples (which includes you and me) that he would be with them to the end of the age. In all we face, we are never alone.
Father, may I never lose a sense of awe that I can come into your presence in worship. Thank you for all you give us there. Amen.
by Bob Turnbull, in ‘God’s Promises for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1999)
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