Is That God?
“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
awoke out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.” (Genesis 28:15-16)
Despite the present promises of God to Jacob, he awoke claiming no knowledge of God…the God of the
promise remained only as the God of the dream.
It is a brave faith that holds steady in this chaotic-looking world where good often seems evil, and evil is
clamored after as good. And the anchor of the substance of things hoped for, being the evidence of things not
seen, holds fast every time some would whisper and say, “It is all over. God has failed! The earth is gone!” Not
so. That seeming chaos was not madness nor defeat but divine wisdom revealing itself.
Amid the turmoil of events that we call life, God will not allow us to settle down in ease with a second-
best relationship with Him, however splendid we may think the circumstances. He keeps breaking in on us,
disturbing and upsetting us, much to our chagrin. We know Christ as well as we want to and have taken from
Him as much as we wish, so God orders things that one day we come face to face with Him; with that, we must
rise and follow Him wherever His Spirit leads. Our ambition is to live a dull, tame, uneventful life, puttering to and
fro at little nothings “in a sleepy land, where the same old rut is deepened year by year under the same wheel.”
But He won’t let us be. Weary pilgrims and travelers, He keeps crying to us, “Up! Up! Rise and depart,
for this is not your rest.” He is urgent and insistent with us. With loving urgency, the Holy Spirit pushes us to
move onward, forward, reach forth into the realm of the supernatural, and abandon the tasteless, flat, deadly life
of the flesh.
Lanny Wolfe set words to song, “There’s a voice calling me from an old rugged tree, And it whispers, “Draw
closer to Me. Leave your world far behind. There are new heights to climb, And a new life in Me you will find.” Paul wrote,
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For
they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the
Spirit.” Brutally rough, we sometimes whimper, rubbing ruefully at the shoulder He has shaken till we open
drowsy eyes, and grumbling, we rise slowly to our heavy feet. At all events, He won't take a refusal but bids us
go; if we try to tarry, there and then shakes down about our ears the comfortable resting places where we
planned to loll and take our ease.
And we don’t like it!
That is a mood quite tragically ancient in this ever-changing world. An ancient inscription dug up by
archaeologists in Babylonia says, “The times now are not what the times used to be.” And if you, too, are
feeling that … if you are growing critical and faultfinding, if your lingering eyes are looking back wistfully
across your shoulder to what has been left behind; if you find yourself thinking that God is not today the God
He used to be, that means that you are getting old, in mind at least; it means that your adventurous days are
over, and you would like to settle by the fire while the world rushes on to eternity without Christ. It means you
are growing tired and losing touch with things, which is a pity. But what if it proves you are losing step with God?
We are dull and conventional creatures, and in God, there are unexpected events that continually disturb
us. Recall Jacob’s words, “Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.” God keeps asking something
new of us.
Let us beware lest that which we resent and shake off and dislike in our day is―God.