Genesis 28:10-22 (NIV)
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord[d] will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
Jacob was on the run. Ignoring God’s promises, he had betrayed his family, stealing his brother’s birthright and blessing. As a result, he feared for his life. In Jacob’s confusion and guilt, he needed a fresh revelation of who he was and who God was. With his head on a rock, Jacob fell asleep on night, and God initiated the revelation through a dream, convincing Jacob of His presence and purposes. God revealed to Jacob that He had no boundaries, in contrast to the prevailing idea that gods had power only over a defined territory. Jacob became awestruck by God’s power and availability. If we were in Jacob’s sandals that night, we may have also shouted “How awesome is this place!”
We see in this story a pattern repeated throughout the Bible. First, God reveals who He is and what He has already done for us. Then comes our response: we choose to allow the weight of our lives to rest upon the person and promises of God, fully revealed in Jesus. That response becomes our worship.
God reminded Jacob that He was the God of his fathers, that He would keep His covenant promises, and that He would be with him and guide him. Jacob responded with worship, building a monument and making a vow to God.
Matt Redman, a Christian musician, once said, “All worship is a response to a revelation- it’s only as we breathe in more of the wonders of God that we can breathe out a fuller response to Him.” I could not agree more.
God has revealed Himself to us in Jesus and wants to make Himself known to us personally in our daily lives. Receiving that revelation and then responding to it is the truest form or worship that we can offer.
This week, let’s make a special emphasis, in our own lives, to spend some extra time in praise to God, thanking Him for His promises and encouragement that He gives us in our lives. He really is the best friend we will ever have. We need to make sure we are treating Him accordingly!