Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 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.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he 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.”
So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” (Genesis 28:10-22)
Jacob was a wheeler and dealer and all of his dealing had finally caught up to him. When he left, he was in fear of his life and on a mission to get a wife! What a combination. And yet, God meets him along the way in a very vivid dream. In this dream, God reaffirms the covenant (promise) made to Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham. When Jacob wakes up from his dream, he is in awe. His response is – “How awesome is this place! This is none other then the house of God!”
However in the morning when he gets up, his basic character has not changed. Even though he builds an altar to God and makes a vow, his vow is filled with conditions. He starts with If God and then lists all the things that he wants God to do and then the LORD will be Jacob’s God!
And God does not strike him down! He meets Jacob right where he is and works in amazing ways in and through his life.
And God does not strike me down when I act just like Jacob! God meets me in all of insecurities and failings. He meets me in my conditional obedience; He meets me when I stand in Awe of Him and when I am confused; He meets me when I understand and when I am questioning. He meets me right where I am at – in my Bethel – the House of God!
And I am so thankful that He does!