“9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.’ So he named him Israel.11 And God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.’ 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.”NIV
‘’Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it’’ (14)
Once again we can marvel at the mercy of God towards Jacob, and be encouraged for ourselves. The changing of a person’s name (in a Biblical context) points to the changing of their nature (10). This was, and is, a sovereign work of God, unearned and undeserved.
So God renewed the covenant with Jacob (11,12).
But note what Jacob then did (14,15). He marked it! He responded in worship, and in so doing he marked the sacred ‘’place where God had talked with him’’ (15).
God is continually speaking – in the ‘book’ of nature; but especially in the Book of books, Scripture. (Within this Book, He speaks to us predominantly in Jesus). But although God is always speaking, do you not find that, like Jacob, there are special moments in which God comes to you in (it seems) extra powerful ways/ He shows you things. He reveals truth to you. Maybe He gives you direction. You don’t want to lose that. Capture it. Make sure you mark it in some way.
I mentioned recently that I keep a diary/journal. Just before writing this piece for today, I looked at my entries for this time last year. I came across this prayer I had written on 29th March 2020:
‘’Lord, as we come into a period where it is expected that the pandemic is going to intensify, I pray you will have mercy, and cut short these days of tribulation. May many lives (and souls) be saved, in Jesus’ Name. Teach us to pray Lord. Teach us how to pray. Please douse the flames of this virus and put out the fire-for your glory. May many come to know you in these days.”
It’s still a relevant prayer I think. As I read through the old pages, I’m glad that I have been able to memorialise certain moments with God, however poor my efforts.
Don’t waste any encounter with God. Worship Him with your whole life poured out before Him like a drink offering. ‘Capture’ what He says. Mark the moment…
…and whatever He says to you, do it!
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