The One about Bethel

“Then Jacob woke and said ‘Surely the Lord is in this place and I wasn’t even aware of it. It is none other than the house of God- the gateway to heaven” Genesis 28:16-27

He’s running away from something bad. When his mother told him the story of his birth; how the Lord told her two great nations resided inside her, that the younger would have the blessings of the older; when she told him these stories he could not have imagined this is how it would have ended up. Brother against brother. His father is grieved. His brother wants him dead. His mother is afraid. And so Jacob runs. This can’t be how he thought it was going to go.

He sleeps on the side of the road and during sleep his eyes are opened. The space between heaven and earth is smaller than he ever imagined. The angels walk up and down over the very ground where he sleeps. And the Lord is there.

He wasn’t even aware

Am I aware?

Am I aware of the presence of the Lord? Sometimes I am. Sometimes my eyes are opened and I truly see. I feel. I hear the promise. I’m so close I can feel the breeze as he walks by. I hear him say what he said to Jacob.

“The ground you are lying on belongs to you.”

“I will be with you and I will protect you wherever you go.”

“I will someday bring you back safely to this land.”

“I will be with you constantly until I have finished giving you everything I have promised”

Sometimes I hear these promises and I am full of energy and life. Like Jacob I wake up and I say “Surely the Lord was in this place!” Like Jacob I am energized and I go on my way knowing who goes before me. So close I could touch him.

But sometimes

Sometimes I’m not aware.

Sometimes I have my eyes open as wide as I can, and all I see is the dusty empty road ahead.

Sometimes I listen as hard as I can, and all I hear are the footsteps behind me. The past coming up quickly, ready to rob me; destroy me.

And I forget

The Lord is in this place

But I forget

What do I do when I forget?

Jacob knew he would forget. He knew he wouldn’t always be aware. So what did he do?

“The next morning he got up very early. He took the stone he had used as a pillow and set it up upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. He named the placed Bethel which means house of God.”

Jacob set a reminder for himself. A place he could literally go back to and remember. Here. Here is where he received his promise. Here is where he saw the presence of God. When his traitorous eyes, ears, and heart tried to tell him he was alone he had this monument to the moment God made him aware.

So where is my altar? Where is my monument? What pillar will I stand up and anoint with oil? Have you guessed it yet?

It’s me.

The house of God is in me. In my soul. The moment the Holy Spirit in all his wisdom drew me to the heavenly father, the stone pillar was turned upright. He anointed me with oil and my cup is running over. There will be external moments that’ll become a pillar. But the externals will always point to the internal. The pillar that is constant no matter the external.  There is a promise on my life. And when the path around me looks dry and empty I will look in my soul. I will go to Bethel. And I will say with joy and wonder

Surely the Lord is in the place and I wasn’t even aware!

PC: Tika Siburt


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