Jacob has a strange and beautiful dream of angels going up and down a ladder reaching to heaven. Neither he nor anyone else had seen this when awake. The dream reveals that in reality, he has ready access to the heavenly places. The barriers are not there.
This idea of open access to the unseen world comes to Jacob in a dream. Amid this scene comes understanding from God that the land before Jacob will be inhabited by a group of people who will be blessed and be a blessing to the people around them, even to the entire earth. So tremendous and breathtaking is this dream that Jacob knows it has to be from God. God eagerly wants to be with Jacob and take care of him, no matter where he goes. Jacob understands that he is at the gate of heaven in the middle of a very ordinary place.
God is always at work but often behind the scenes. Often we cannot comprehend until after the fact that the wonderful things that happen to us are God’s doing. Then we think, Surely the Lord is at work, but I didn’t know it!
Maybe that surprises us because we think God would announce this divine presence with great fanfare. But God is not a show-off; wise Isaiah says, “Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior” (Isa. 45:15).
God may have something important to communicate to us today, even if it isn't new information. (Jacob’s grandfather Abraham receives the same basic information that Jacob does.) God’s word for us is often simple and wonderful: “Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.” If that’s what you need to hear today, do not doubt that God is interested in communicating that to you.
Suggestion for Meditation: Be alert for how God is acting behind the scenes today to guide you, comfort you, and help you move forward. Ask God to show you!
As God promised land and descendants to Abraham, in the reading from Genesis God confirms these same promises to Abraham’s grandson Jacob. The psalmist meditates on and takes comfort in the fact that God knows everything and is everywhere. He asks God to search his heart and reveal if there are sins away from which he needs to turn. The Romans passage continues Paul’s reflection on the life in the Spirit. Because we are children of God, we cry out with confidence that God will hear and answer. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew concerning the final judgment. He says that the wicked will be taken first, then the righteous will be gathered together.
Read Genesis 28:10-19a. When has God quietly been at work in your life? How do these experiences help you recognize God’s presence with you in ordinary days?
Read Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24. God already knows us completely. What is holding you back from inviting God to search your heart?
Read Romans 8:12-25. Consider the ways you already resemble God. In what ways to you need or wish to be transformed to resemble God more fully?
Read Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. Reflect on a time when you were frustrated by God’s inaction in the face of injustice. In hindsight, how was God at work?
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