Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not (Gen. 28:16).

Many a man while young thinks of God in terms of his parents. What happens when he himself discovers God? A case of the sort appears in Genesis.

I. A Strong Man Meets with God at Bethel, a place he may have considered God-forsaken. His vision at night had four stages. A. Behold the ladder, or rather, “steps unto heaven.” Some way of contact between earth and heaven. B. Behold the angels—messengers of God to a man. C. Behold the Lord—the One to whom the steps lead up, to whom the angels report, and from whom they come down with the blessings of God. D. A promise of personal blessings from God. Some such experience every man ought to have whenever he comes to church.

II. A Strong Man Begins to Bargain. A. Because of an awakened conscience, he feels afraid of God. B. He goes through forms of worship. C. He makes with God a “half-way covenant.” Jacob begins to bargain with the word “if.” He seems to mean that if God will bless Jacob through the years, then some time Jacob will stand up for God. A shabby way to deal with the Most High!

Note the refusal to make a complete surrender. What should Jacob have done? Surely what he did 20 years later. Why did he tarry so long, with only enough religion of his own to make him feel wretched for years?

Perhaps because Jacob knew that in order to get right with God he would have to get right with the brother whom Jacob had defrauded, with the aged father whom he had wronged, and with the partner whom he had later out-cheated.

My young friend, how is it with you? Here in this Beth-El you have seen the steps into heaven, the angels going up to heaven, and best of all, the Lord. You have heard his words of assurance and hope. What ...

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