“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 (NASB)
After his trickery and snatching the blessing Isaac intended for Esau, Jacob had to flee for his life. It is Jacob who woke up from a dream of seeing angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven named the spot El-Bethel because it was where he met God. God affirmed for him the promises and covenant already given to Abraham and Isaac. It was through Ezekiel who described the gates of the New Jerusalem and the city spoke these last words of his prophecy, “And the name of the city from that time on shall be, Yahweh shammah “The LORD Is There.”” (Ezekiel 48:30-35) This name of the LORD expresses a blessed promise and truth about Him: the LORD delights to be wherever His people are. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. When they sinned, God instituted sacrifices so that relationships could be partly restored. Ezekiel prophesied a lot about God’s glorious presence with His people. Jesus promises that we would experience His presence wherever we go as His disciples (Matthew 28:20). The heavenly Jerusalem will be marked by the presence of God dwelling with His people as He has always promised.
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” ” – Genesis 15:1-2 (ESV)
Have you ever been promised something that seemed impossible that you would see come true? Abram (not yet Abraham) was in that fix. God had promised descendants, children, and so many that they would be impossible to count. To Abram, God’s promise had stalled and he believed he had an answer. Abram suggested adoption of a servant as the male heir—a well-known contemporary custom of the time and culture. Abram considered it a done deal as it was the best official arrangement to make it come to pass⸺humanly speaking. God said No! It will not be ‘this man’ for it will be your very own son who will be your heir. Now eighty-six years old, time was running out for Abram and Sarai (not yet Sarah). In this exchange Abram address God by the name ‘Adonai’ which was a common name meaning lord, master and God. Abram also addressed God by the name YHWH. This is the name God revealed to Moses when He said “I AM WHO I AM.” While many titles are given for God, the name Yahweh is the true name for God. Most translations render the name as LORD – using all capitals.
“The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13 (ESV)
When it happened, everything on earth changed from a state of perfection to a state of deterioration. What would have lasted and lived forever because there was no death now had a terminal point. It is very difficult for us to comprehend the extent of this change. Yet, it affected all since that very moment. In a world where all was provided, everything became a need to finding a way to sustain life. No sickness became sickness. Long life became a shorter and shorter. God confronted their actions. “What have you done?” He asked them. But He knew. Some read their replies as excuses. Perhaps they simply stated the facts of what had happened. They were experiencing guilt and shame for the first time. Both quickly acknowledged what they did. They had been deceived but didn’t know yet how to deceive. Going after what they thought was more or better, they got much worse. God knows all the time. And when we stumble, he wants us to own it and confess it, and seek forgiveness through Christ Jesus the Redeemer who was promised by God on that same day. Before they were evicted from the perfect place God promised redemption.