I Am With You and Will Keep You [Genesis 28]
10Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14"Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
16Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it." 17He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
Jacob had to leave town because his brother was so angry with him that his mom feared for his life. So his father sent him to get a wife from his mother's family. I can imagine the range of emotions he was feeling as he left. Sadness, empty, alone, fear, rejected, fear of the future, misunderstood, missing the people he loved - emotions I have felt when leaving home for the first time or during one of my many moves. How did God answer his feelings of rejection, sadness and fear of being alone? He gave him this truth, "Behold, I am with you." He must have had uncertainty about what the future held for him because this is one of the things the LORD addressed. "(I)will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land." What about his fear that he has been abandoned by all who loved him? Maybe even the fear that God had forsaken him because of his deceit and stealing what didn't belong to him? God includes this truth, "for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Even before He spoke those words God assured him that His promise to Abraham was to be continued through him. (I am surprised God start didn't by chewing him out about his deceit. Instead He assured him that what he did, his sin, didn't change God's purpose - God was still going to use him to bless the whole earth!)
God was so gracious to meet him in a time of deep emotion and need. What a sweet dream and what sweet words were ministered to his heart. God gave Jacob such a tangible message that when he awoke he was sure that God had been there. "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it." His response was that he wanted to worship God and he wanted to make a memorial that would cause him to remember the precious words that were spoken to his heart. He did not want to forget.
Lord, we don't want to forget either. You are so gracious to meet us and answer the questions and fears that come with our pain and emotions. We praise You that You are with us to the end, You will do what You have promised. You alone are faithful. I praise You that You are with me wherever I go. You never leave or abandon me. You are taking care of me. Cause me to remember Your words today.