… and Isaac the father of Jacob …
Prepare to Listen. Light 2 purple candles. Be still and silently repeat: You are the Lord my God.
Prayerfully Read Genesis 28:10-19a
10Jacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran. 11He came to a certain place and stayed there for the 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. 12And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13And the LORD stood beside him 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; 14and 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 all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. 15Know that 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.’ 16Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place—and I did not know it!’ 17And 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.’ 18So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he 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. 19He called that place Bethel.
“The sun had set.” Jacob’s exile began and his world went dark. His was a literal exile that would last for decades. Our exiles are mostly figurative, thus spiritual. They often occur when we experience loss, disorientation, frustration, the silence of God. Whatever causes our exiles, it feels like the sun has set and we’re struggling in the dark. We try to resist exiles, but we shouldn’t. They aren’t all bad, and, if we remain open to learning, exiles will give clarity and lead us to truth.
It happened to Jacob. His first night on the road God unexpectedly showed up and stood, not on the ladder, but on earth and spoke directly to Jacob. The next morning he exclaimed, “Surely the LORD is [not was] in this place—and I did not know it!”  He’d learned there’s no gap between heaven and earth. God, “doesn’t dwell somewhere outside our reality but right within the movement of life and love.” 
That night, God made six promises to Jacob. The first three—land, descendants, blessing to the nations—are the standard covenant promises made to Abraham and Isaac. The final three were only for Jacob. First, God’s presence, “I am with you,” and again, “I will not leave you.” Second, God’s protection, “I will keep you wherever you go.” Finally, homecoming, “I will bring you back to this land.”
Jacob continued his journey to Haran in the north with a new way to think about God and life. Exile would be a struggle and it would feel like the sun had set upon him and life was dark, but he could trust God.
The first lesson of exile is that God is there, in the exile with you. How have you experienced God in your exile/s?
Respond in Prayer
Lord Jesus, you are always present, even in our exiles. Help me be attentive to your presence and let you in, where I work, play, relax, shop. Amen.
Live Obediently. Remember, the Lord is in your space.
 It was believed then that one’s gods, including the LORD, were confined to one geographical location and didn’t move around.
 Halík, Tomáš. I Want You to Be. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame Press. 2016, p. 158.
Reading my Bible has been central in my life since I received my first Bible at 8 years of age. My decades of reading, studying and teaching the Bible gives my devotions a unique and enriching perspective. Reflecting on Jesus' family tree enriched my understanding of Jesus and the salvation he offers.