Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wherever You Go

"And 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." Genesis 28:15 NASB

God spoke to Jacob in a dream after he was forced to leave home because he had cheated his brother, Esau, out of the blessing (his inheritance as the firstborn). God promises to be with him, guard him, and bring him back. If you know anything about Jacob he is described as “a peaceful man, living in tents, while Esau is described as a skilled hunter, a man of the field.” Now the tent dweller is sleeping outside, all alone, and fleeing for his life. If he was ever in need of assurance, this would be it. 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 Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on its top. And he called the name of that place Bethel; Genesis 28:16-19a NASB

I have taken two Bible studies where we were encouraged to pinpoint spiritual markers in our walk with the Lord. We were to list times, places, or events where something significant or pivotal happened in our walk with God. It is a good and healthy thing to do. It is striking that Jacob seems to focus more on the place of the encounter than the incredible promises of God given in the encounter. However, after setting up a memorial marker he moves on. After all God has promised Jacob that he will be with him wherever he goes.

When we have a strong encounter with the Lord there is a danger of putting too much emphasis on the place. I have heard it from Christians over and over, “I really grew at that church, under that pastor, when I was in that small group, Bible study, town, college, time period, revival, etc.” We should be grateful for them all, but we need to live and grow in today. We need to move on.

I experienced something very disconcerting a couple of summers ago. I was in a large beautiful church on a mission project. A woman, who worked at the church, was showing me around their building with her grandchildren in tow. We were in the balcony looking down into the empty but impressive sanctuary. The grandmother announced in solemn tones to the children, “This is where God lives.” From Genesis to Revelation we are being led to the glorious truth that, “Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:19 “He remains not as a guest precariously detained, but as a Master resident in His proper home.”(Moule) Jesus promises us, just as Jacob was promised, that He will never leave us. He, or our own bad choices, may take us through some dry, barren, or even scary places, but He is Emmanuel, the With of God. and if we will work with Him we will grow no matter what, no matter when, and no matter where. Don’t keep looking back to some place you perceive God was…..He is with you wherever you go. Go forward.

MY PRAYER: Lord, help me not to look back to what I perceive as better times and places. I have your promises and your presence. What more do I need to go forward and to bear fruit for your glory?

MY CONFESSION: You are with me and you will keep me wherever I go. You will do what you have promised. I stand on your word!

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