“… ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God..’” – Genesis 28.16-17From Dave Atkinson:
For many of us, lockdown has meant that plans to go to or re-visit places have been put on hold or cancelled. Some of those places we might have tagged as “awesome” as we recall, or look forward to, the beauty, wonder or excitement of the place.
For me, one of those was on Wednesday, when I was due to take up my invite to the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. I am pretty sure I would have said, “how awesome is this place”. The disappointment of missing out on such things can make our lockdown location feel dreary or depressing.
“How awesome is this place” is what Jacob said when he woke from his dream described in Genesis 28. He had just experienced an amazing and overwhelming encounter with God where, in his dream, he sees a staircase coming and going from heaven to earth, with angels ascending and descending. And, in the dream, God tells Jacob how he is going to work in Jacob’s life and how Jacob is going to be a key person in God’s bigger plan of salvation and blessing.
The location and the events leading up to this moment were, though, far from awesome. Jacob had deceived his dad (Isaac), betrayed his brother (Esau) and was now essentially on the run from Esau who wanted to kill him. He was on a 500 mile journey to try to start a new life. He was lonely and had to sleep rough in the middle of nowhere. But, as a result of meeting God in this amazing and personal way, the place becomes awesome to Jacob.
If you know the story of Jacob you will know that he didn’t deserve such mercy and grace from God. Neither do I and neither do you! But just as God took the initiative and came down to work in Jacob’s life, so Jesus came down because he knew that without his intervention in history, and in our lives, his big plan of salvation and blessing could not be fulfilled. Only Jesus is capable of reconciling heaven and earth, of restoring our relationship with God.
If we’ve given our lives to the Lord Jesus and trust him for our eternal future, that means that God’s personal presence is with us by the Holy Spirit. And that in turn means that whatever our location, and whatever our circumstances, and however we are feeling, we are able to say, “how awesome is this place” because we know God is right here with us, showering us with his mercy and grace, and equipping us to be part of his bigger plan.
How does reflecting on Jacob’s experience, change the way you think of your current circumstances today?