Anyway, that brings us to Genesis 28:10-17. Jacob is on the run, paying the price for his deceit. He stops to sleep for the night, and God does something incredible. He gives Jacob a dream in which He communicates encouragement. He renews His promises first made to Abraham. He promises His presence and His protection. What a demonstration of His grace!! What an amazing reminder that God's promises to Abraham and his descendants were not dependent on those people...they were purely dependent on God Himself. And so, even though Jacob's recent behavior had been pretty deplorable, God reminds him of His unconditional love, grace and blessing. And after waking up from this incredible vision, Jacob makes a very interesting statement in verse 16. He says "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." (NIV). I love that! Jacob--at what must have been one of the lowest points of his life--realized that even though he had been unaware of it, he'd been reminded that God was with him. And part of that realization was that God had been there all along...Jacob had simply been made aware of that fact.
We might not always FEEL as if God is with us. Sometimes, when life seems pretty bleak, it's easy to lose sight of His promises. Especially when we might be acutely aware of our own failings! But there's a good lesson here: God is always with us! No matter where we go; no matter what life's circumstances are; no matter the mistakes we've made...Surely the LORD is in this place! That's not to say our poor decisions don't have any consequences...they DO! (Jacob wasn't yet done reaping what he'd sown!) However, those consequences will never include God removing His presence or His unconditional promises. Sometimes, we just need to become more aware of God's enduring presence in our lives.
- Pastor Paul