The Lord Was There, I Knew It Not!
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” Genesis 28:10-16 NKJV
Jacob journeyed from home toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down and slept. Then he dreamed, and saw a ladder (staircase) set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood above it and spoke to Jacob rehearing the same promises of blessing that He had given some 150 years earlier to his grandfather, Abraham. When Jacob awoke from sleep, he said, “surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”
Although I grew up in the church and eventually got saved and filled with the Spirit, I knew that God lived in my heart; yet, there were times that He still seemed far away. But God was always there. Jacob’s story reminds us that we’re always in the presence of the Lord. And, it is not God who changes, it’s us.
Jacob had to leave home. It was the only thing he could do after the way things went down (see Genesis 27). He conspired with his mother to deceive his father, and to steal, his brother, Esau’s birthright and blessing. The family was in crisis and in dysfunction. Instead of acknowledging God, Jacob ran. Often in the midst of pain and struggle, it seems hard to find God, but He is always there to save, heal, deliver, and restore.
Often, when we find ourselves in a crisis, it is so easy to complain about the trouble and not be aware of God’s presence. So we complain instead. Complaining is the realization of “I knew it not.” What we need is a realization of the presence of God (Ps. 16:11). Nothing could help Jacob except realizing the presence of God (Ps. 16:11). There are three reasons why one knows not the presence of God: (1) preoccupations; (2) distractions; and, (3) ignorance of God’s Word (Hos. 4:6). Jacob undoubtedly was preoccupied with regrets for the past; loneliness and fear in the present; and uncertainty of the future (Pr. 23:7). Anyone under the pressure of an emotional crisis can easily be distracted by money or the lack thereof, materialistic things; fear; the voice of the world; the voice of the flesh; and, the voice of the devil (Matt. 6:24).
It’s time to awake from “sleep” and realize that the presence of God is here whether we know it or not—whether we want Him or not. The problem is that we don not practice the presence of God. So, don’t be like Jacob who looked back after a dream or a life-experience and say, “surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it!”