Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden knew what it felt like to be on the far side of the moon. For three days back in 1971, he flew alone in his command module, Endeavor, while two crewmates worked thousands of miles below on the surface of the moon. His only companions were the stars overhead that he remembers as being so thick they seemed to wrap him in a sheet of light.
As the sun went down on the Old Testament character Jacob’s first night away from home, he too was profoundly alone, but for a different reason. He was on the run from his older brother—who wanted to kill him for stealing the family blessing normally given to the firstborn son. Yet on falling asleep, Jacob had a dream of a staircase joining heaven and earth. As he watched angels ascending and descending, he heard the voice of God promising to be with him and to bless the whole earth through his children. When Jacob woke he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Gen. 28:16).
Jacob had isolated himself because of his deceit. Yet as real as his failures, and as dark as the night, he was in the presence of the One whose plans are always better and more far-reaching than our own. Heaven is closer than we think, and the “God of Jacob” is with us.
Father, thank You for using the story of Jacob to show us that the glory of Your unseen presence and goodness is far greater than we could imagine.
God is nearer than we think.
The Scriptures teach us that saving faith must be a personal faith; the faith of our parents will not save us. But it is interesting that in today’s passage God introduces Himself to Jacob by pointing to his ancestors. It is not Jacob’s lineage that is important, but that the God he had heard about from his ancestors was the same God who would now be with him. Jacob could have confidence that God would be with him because He had been with Abraham and Isaac.
What stories of God’s faithfulness from your past or from the lives of your family bring encouragement that God does not change and will always be with you?