10 July 2017
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he had reached a certain place he passed the night there, since the sun had set. Taking one of the stones to be found at that place, he made it his pillow and lay down where he was. He had a dream: a ladder was there, standing on the ground with its top reaching to heaven; and there were angels of God going up it and coming down. And the Lord was there, standing over him, saying, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. I will give to you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants shall be like the specks of dust on the ground; you shall spread to the west and the east, to the north and the south, and all the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants.
Be sure that I am with you; I will keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this land, for I will not desert you before I have done all that I have promised you.’ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Truly, the Lord is in this place and I never knew it!’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awe-inspiring this place is! This is nothing less than a house of God; this is the gate of heaven!’ Rising early in the morning, Jacob took the stone he had used for his pillow, and set it up as a monument, pouring oil over the top of it. He named the place Bethel, but before that the town was called Luz.
Jacob made this vow, ‘If God goes with me and keeps me safe on this journey I am making, if he gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear, and if I return home safely to my father, then the Lord shall be my God. This stone I have set up as a monument shall be a house of God.’
While Jesus was speaking, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.’ Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him. Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again.’ Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ And from that moment the woman was well again.
When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.’ And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.
Be sure that I am with you; I will keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this land, for I will not desert you before I have done all that I have promised you
My colleague just bought the latest luxury watches and was discussing with another colleague on the various brands which are available and how his budget could not afford him to buy another brand. It made me reflect on whether our life is about the accumulation of all these material goods. The readings of today remind me that the accumulation of all these material goods should not be the end goal of our life but rather the need is for us to keep close to Almighty God so that we may be found ready to be close to Him.
God promised Jacob that He will be with Jacob wherever he goes and keep him safe. I believe that such an assurance extends to all of us. The good Lord wants us to stay close to Him and learn from Him what it means to be totally dependent on Him. This does not mean that we give up whatever we are doing but rather than we continue to work and plan but let God decide what the outcome of these plans are. Human beings love to control the outcome of every thing we have. Perhaps this is what the world has taught us but God’s plans are different.
Jesus went to raise the dead daughter of the official to life. Despite whatever knew, Jesus came to disprove them of their ways. This is also instructive for our lives. Jesus wants us to trust Him with the issues we are struggling with. Despite what others around us say, he would like us to learn that trusting in Him is the best way forward. We live in a very complex world with many changes confronting us yet one thing is certain. Jesus is here to be with us at every step of the way. Are we ready to let Him take control of our lives?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to become closer to you as we continue to carry our cross, knowing that you will always be with us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for the many love which He has blessed us.