Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother. – Genesis 35:6-7
In reading through Genesis again, I’m seeing a pattern. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had close encounters with God, and following all those encounters, they laid physical markers as a memorial. From what I can tell from scripture, it wasn’t just a stake in the ground, but substantial marker that could withstand the passage of time. This was not a whim but a carefully planned, carefully constructed investment of time. A remembrance of God’s presence. An acknowledgement of God’s promise.
It makes me wonder about my own reactions. God still speaks and He still makes promises, but do I really acknowledge them? Do I mark that place in my life as sacred so I have something concrete on which to hold when things get hard, or am I guilty of giving God the no more attention than I would give the latest YouTube sensation?
Jacob could find a physical place on a map that said, “I saw God here.” While I’m not suggesting that I should pile up rocks every time I pray, maybe it would be a good idea to deeply acknowledge those times when God speaks or when God substantially breaks through a situation in a way that couldn’t possibly be solved without Him.
My new goal: to mark my own life’s map with the intersections between the ordinary and the divine.