When we’re young we build forts in the living room out of blankets and chairs. As we grow older we retreat behind closed doors and accessorize our room with things that create our own space. As adults, we follow fixer-uppers and obsess over tidying up. The need is obvious–we all need a place to call home; a sanctuary and refuge from the outside world; a place of peace. In the Hebrew Bible, God calls himself a home for his people. What kind of home is he? Join us this week as we hear God’s reassuring words from the book of Genesis.
Love. We use the word so easily and might even think we know a bit about it. Surely it’s something we all want and, in our better moments, want to give. Yet there is no more demanding occupation than love. Love, as a reflection of the glory of God, is the ground of being, the reason for existing, and the core of the gospel. It is the most basic staple of life; yet it is nearly impossible to wrap words around love’s vastness, to describe how to be transformed by it, or to use it for the sake of another, especially in a world that hurts us regularly and often.
—Dr. Dan Allender, Bold Love
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder[a] set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it[b] and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 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.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel,[c] but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”
CONFESSION OF SIN:
Most merciful God,
Whose Son Jesus Christ was tempted in every way, yet without sin,
We confess before you our own sinfulness;
We have hungered after that which does not satisfy;
We have compromised with evil;
We have doubted your power to protect us.
Forgive our lack of faith;
Have mercy on our weakness.
Restore in us such trust and love
That we may walk in your ways and delight in doing your will.
We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
SONG TO CONSIDER: