Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that 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.” Then Jacob woke 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 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. He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 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, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house.”
Psalm 91:1-4, 14-15AB
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble.
While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. And the report of this spread throughout that district.
Many of us who pray and read scripture have had a conversion in which we have met the Lord in a powerful way. Maybe there was an experience where we knew that God was with us. Maybe there was a point of desperation that facilitated our seeking God and when we found Him, we realized that we could never be the same.
Today, we may feel a sense of familiarity with the story of Jacob and his dream at Bethel where a ladder reached to heaven and angels were ascending and descending on it. Heaven and earth were interacting. Jacob felt the presence of the Lord and called the place, ‘the gate of heaven’. He swore that he would obey God and set up a house for him. And when we feel the presence of God, we too remember, or want to commemorate the occasion. A touch from God is so powerful, it can change our lives completely. We might also say, “God is in this place and I did not know it!”
The leader of the synagogue came to Jesus to ask him to come and heal his daughter. The woman with the issue of blood came to Jesus to receive her healing. Heaven and earth were meeting in each case. Jesus went to heal the girl. The woman went to Jesus to be healed. They both show that God’s Will is for us to have access to him. Through prayer, we go to Him and we find that He also comes to us.
Today, take a moment to think about how God comes to you each day and what it is that you need most from God. Remember the psalm, “When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble.”