Jacob ran away from home after he cheated his brother Esau out of his birthright. Esau had determined to kill Jacob so his mother sent him to Paddan-aram. While Jacob travelled, he rested one night, in a certain place after he used stones to rest his head. Jacob had a vision that there were angels, ascending and descending on a ladder between heaven and earth. He saw the Lord standing above the ladder and God confirmed his covenant to Abraham, Isaac and now to Jacob also. “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:15).
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he was afraid and amazed at how awesome the place was. He declared it the house of God and the gate of heaven. Jacob used the stones that were under his head to set up a pillar and poured oil over it. He called the name of the place Bethel, which means the house of God. The amazing thing for me was that until that time, there was no physical building in that place. I believe that Jacob was predestined to carry on the seed of Abraham and the promise of the inheritance. God’s presence came and rested in that place to demonstrate to Jacob that he was chosen.
We see a similar occurrence when Solomon built and consecrated the temple unto God in Jerusalem. “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.” (2 Chronicles 7:16). When Solomon completed the building and dedication of the temple, the fire of the Lord came down and consumed the sacrifices. The Priests could not enter because the presence of the Lord filled the temple. The people knew that within the ark of the covenant, the presence of the Lord would dwell among them.
God is not limited to physical spaces of buildings and the Holy Spirit dwells in the people of God. God has his resting place with us and our prayers, worship and praise create a place for God to dwell. Our prayers create an opening to heaven as we connect with Christ who is seated making intercession for us. Our affections are set on the things above as we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We have access to the throne of God as we come before him in boldness to find grace and mercy in times of need.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name” (Psalm 100:4)!
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of glory shall come in” (Psalm 24:9).