Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it! Genesis 28:16
Have you ever encountered God somewhere unexpected? Witnessed or experienced God’s presence somewhere surprising? Maybe it was a place you assumed only dry bones existed, a barren region, a desert place, or an area decimated by natural disaster. Or, maybe it was somewhere you assumed was forsaken; a red-light district, an excessively lavish enterprise, or an urban slum. Or, it could have been a place inhabited by people you considered immoral, inferior, or beyond redemption. Upon the revelation of God’s presence there, how were you changed; how did your perception of the environment and its people shift; and how did you commemorate the space as sacred, a place God dwelled?
As we encounter God, our preconceptions are shattered and lives are changed. When we truly encounter God things shift, we realize that who we previously were is not who we are destined to be. In this encounter, Jacob realizes he’s built his life upon sinking sand. Upon this revelation, he’s compelled to turn away from his idolatry and towards God. He acknowledges God as his provider, protector, and guide. He claims his faith as our own, vowing the Lord will be his God. Moreover, he pledges to construct a sanctuary and to give back to God ten percent of all he possesses.
God, may your mysterious revelation crystalize our faith.
Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” 17 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 Jacob rose early in the morning, and he 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. 19 He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 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, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22 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 surely give one-tenth to you.” Genesis 28:16 -22