Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it."

Genesis 28:16

When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

—Luke 2:43-44

Two events, very different but oddly similar.

Jacob had an encounter with the presence of God, but He didn’t know it.  At this point in Jacob’s life he was running away from Beersheba to escape his brother Esau’s wrath and to find a wife in Padan Aram.  He was religious at this point, but not terribly sensitive to spiritual things.  He doesn’t appear to have been born again until twenty years later when returning to Israel (Gen. 32).  So when encountering God, he “did not know it.”

Joseph and Mary were the parents of twelve year old Jesus.  After visiting Jerusalem for the Passover, when it was time to return home to Nazareth, they departed.  They both thought Jesus was in the caravan (travel in those days, especially for the feasts in Jerusalem, was commonly in large groups of family and friends).  They assumed Jesus was with them, but He was not.

I wonder how many times in my life is was either in Jacob’s shoes, or else in Joseph and Mary’s.  How many times was God present, and I was oblivious?  How many times did I think I was walking in God’s will, but was not?

Oh, that I would be more sensitive regarding the Lord’s presence (and will)!

Thank the Lord for His abiding patience with me when I am spiritually out of sync.