Editor’s Note: This is a reprint from June 7, 2012
“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” Genesis 28:16. (KJV)
Jacob was forced to flee his family after receiving the blessing of God from his father, Isaac. He ran because of his broken relationship with his brother, Esau, who threatened to kill him. He was alone after leaving his family and was sleeping in the wilderness. It is here that Jacob encountered God personally for the first time. In a dream, Heaven was opened up to him. The Lord spoke to him there and gave him a promise to give him the very land on which he was lying.
This encounter with God made him realize that God was in this place, even though he had not been aware of it. God had to remove Jacob from all that was of comfort to him in order to reveal Himself to Jacob. What began as a crisis that forced him to be removed from his family and friends led to an encounter with the living God and a fresh vision of God’s purposes for his life.
How often we go about our daily routine and fail to recognize that God is in the place where we are. God had to bring Jacob to a place of separation from his old life and remove all his worldly possessions. He was alone with God at Bethel; nothing else could distract him from an encounter that would change his life.
God often must do radical things in the life of the Christen in whom He has special plans: separation from family, removal of physical and/or emotional resources. These are often hallmarks of ownership by God that build a vision into life.
But, what you must do is hear God speak to you. My older sister would often tell me that God speaks to His children in a quiet voice and we must slow down, get in a quiet place and listen to what he is saying.
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:. . .” John 10:26-28 (KJV)
There is a story of an Englishman and his encounter with a Muslim while walking in the country. The Englishman wanted to share the gospel with this man but knew little of Muslim beliefs. The two men agreed they would each share their beliefs with one another. The Muslim went first and dominated the time of sharing. The Englishman asked the Holy Spirit how to share his faith with the Muslim. He then asked the man if he considers his god his father who speaks. “Certainly not,” replied the Muslim man.
“That is one of the big differences between your god and my God. I consider my God as my Father who speaks to me personally.”
“You cannot prove that,” stated the Muslim man.
The Englishman again prayed to himself, “Lord, how do I prove this to this man?”
A few moments later the two men began walking toward two young ladies on the other side of the road coming toward them. As they approached, the Englishman spoke to the ladies and made small conversation. He then said to one woman, “I believe you are a nurse, is that correct?” The woman was startled that a man whom she had never met had just informed her of her occupation. “How would you know that? I have never met you before,” she questioned.
He replied, “I asked my heavenly Father and He told me.” The Muslim had his proof.
Many of us do not hear God’s voice because we do not believe He speaks or desires to speak to us. In order to hear, we must listen. In order to listen, we must believe that He speaks.