When I began to ask the Lord what He would have me paint next, the name Yahweh Shammah kept coming to my awareness and with it a vision of the dream Jacob records (Genesis 28:12) in which he sees a stairway to heaven with angels ascending and descending out of heaven.
Asking the Lord midway into the painting what He wanted to speak through this vision given originally to Jacob, I felt Him reminding me of the place that Jacob was in right before this dream was given to him. Before this, Jacob had likely never had his own experience with the Lord as his Grandfather Abraham and Father Issac had received and now he was running for his life from his brother Esau who wanted to kill him. He was likely lonely, afraid of the future, and unsure if the promises were really for him. Can you relate?
Yet, it was in this very place, the lonely desert, where God chose to encounter Jacob in a dream that would change his life forever. This one encounter set him on course to discovering his identity as God's son and fully believing the promises over his life, not only for himself but for a whole nation. It was here that God speaks over him a promise I believe we can also take hold of in this season:
"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Genesis 28:15
I believe we are in the days now where it will be imperative to root ourselves in the promises God has given us, find out what they are, and truly live as sons and daughters of the Most High. The unknown may threaten to overwhelm us, but that is where God wants to teach us to trust Him and know that He has already gone before us and is preparing the way just like He did for Jacob! He truly is Yahweh Shammah, the Lord the Abiding Presence; even when we can't see or feel Him moving in our lives - He is!
"When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, 'Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it."