“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.”
Jacob was running away from home. He had stolen his older brother’s inheritance (see Genesis 27), and now his brother, Esau, wanted to kill him. So, to save his own life, Jacob was fleeing the place that should have been home. Sometimes we shatter our experience of home with our sinful actions. We betray our marriages. We ruin family relationships with our jealousy. We antagonize neighbors with our angry words. We find that we can no longer feel at home in the place we ought to belong.
Yet even when we are running away, God can meet us in unexpected places with his promises. Jacob was not looking for God; there was nothing special about the “certain place” where he stopped for the night. But in his dream, Jacob’s eyes were opened to see that no place is outside of God’s presence (Psalm 139:7). And he heard God’s assurance that even though Jacob had done wrong, God would keep his promise to Jacob’s family and bring him back home.
Jacob’s experience anticipates the way God restores sinners through the work of Jesus. Even as we are still running, God meets us with the assurance that he will watch over us and bring us back to himself. And we discover that being in God’s presence is a refuge for all who feel away from home.
Almighty God, our sins cause us to run from you. Amaze us with your grace, and help us to trust in your promises to forgive us and return us home to you, through Jesus. Amen.
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