It was an ordinary evening in the wilderness for Jacob. The young man had spent the day traveling, as ancient nomads often did, before finding a place between Beersheba and Haran to camp for the night. Exhausted from his journey, Jacob fell asleep, using a large stone as a pillow.

This ordinary evening turned into an extraordinary experience with God. In his sleep, Jacob dreamed of a ladder between Heaven and Earth, with angels climbing up and down. At the very top, in Heaven itself, Jacob could see the Lord standing. “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants” (Genesis 28:13), God told the young nomad. “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 spoken to you” (Genesis 28:15).

Jacob awoke, stunned by what he had seen and heard. The Lord’s words resounded in his ears: “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.” The God who had created the universe had committed to being Jacob’s keeper. Jacob couldn’t believe how fortunate he was. “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it,” he said, shaking with holy fear. “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” God’s glory, grace and loyalty awed Jacob.

In return, Jacob took his stone pillow, set it up as a pillar, and anointed it with oil. He renamed the spot Bethel—“House of God”—and made his own vow back to the Lord. Jacob said:

If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am
going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so
that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD
shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar
shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely
give a tenth to You.

Genesis 28:20–22

This power encounter changed Jacob’s life. God kept him all the days of his life, turning him into the father of the tribes of Israel.

When God is our keeper, we can rest. We never have to fear or fret, we can confidently put everything into His hands and trust Him. Understanding that God wants to keep us is a foundational principle of our spirituality. We must learn to rest in God’s keeping power.

God doesn’t slumber or sleep. He keeps us safe. He doesn’t allow
our foot to slip. He won’t let you stumble. He never loses focus;
He always pays attention. He protects us from the enemy,
He keeps our soul safe. He guards us in every part of our journey.

Our rest flows out of our confidence in God and what He wants to be for us. When we worry, it’s a sign that we don’t fully trust God to keep us. Our low threshold of faith often takes us out of God’s care because we think we have to do everything ourselves. We run all over creation trying to get help even though God Himself wants to keep us. He loves to protect us.

Instead of giving in to our soul—our mind, will and emotions — we must lean on His everlasting arms. The first place we should go when we’re in trouble is the heart of God. When we live under that umbrella of His keeping power, we no longer have to pray for His presence to come. It’s already with us.

We can have this same type of relationship with one another. Just as God has made a covenant to keep us, so we can be Christ-like in our friendships and keep others. All too often, Christians have Kleenex relationships, using a person once or twice and then throwing them away. This was not the model Jesus taught. It cuts Him deeply when men and women use and abuse one another. We are not called to look for reasons not to love each other.


I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt from my book God’s Keeping Power.

LEARN MORE about what is means to rest in God’s keeping power by picking up a copy of Graham’s book on sale all month, HERE.

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