The day before I was due to travel to Jerusalem, I awoke singing the hymn, “Nearer my God to Thee.” I had not been singing this hymn or heard it for a very long time. I only knew a few verses. I sang them over and over before I got out of bed.
I looked up the internet to find out all the words. The hymn was written by Sarah Adams in the Nineteenth century and inspired by Genesis 28 v 11 to 19
“So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it…”
Here are the words.
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Chorus: Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
Though like a wanderer, the sun gone down.
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,
There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,
Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
I Iistened to the hymn being sung on u tube. I was enjoying this early morning praise, when I was rudely interrupted by the door bell. My neighbour came to tell me our car was just stolen from the car park, in broad daylight. I let my husband deal with it.
Police were contacted. The thief had entered our home through the back door, stole the keys from the kitchen and started the car. All this happened while I was upstairs listening to the hymn! I thought to myself, “Something good is going to come out of this.”
Next day we left for Israel. We were meeting friends there. They wanted to see the historical sites in the old City of Jerusalem.
One morning Brendan was reading from a book about Jacob having a dream in Bethel. I said “I want to go to Bethel.”
That morning I had been reading in the bible from Exodus 20 v 24
“Build altars in the places where I remind you who I am, and I will come and bless you there.” Jacob had built an altar to God at Bethel after he had the dream.
So I said “I think we should go there.” A week later we all agreed to go to Bethel. We hired a Taxi. We drove thirty kilometres north. We came to the city of Ramallah. Bethel was three miles from there. Our driver took us to the site when Jacob had his dream.
It was wonderful to look out over the land of Israel from the spot where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived so long ago.
The house with the domed roof is the site of Jacob’s dream.
“Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants. ” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord. (Genesis 12:7, 8 NLT)
Photo taken from inside the domed building.
We went down to the site where it is said to be the place where Jacob had his dream. That was a special moment for us all. I believe we were blessed by God there, just as I read from the bible a week earlier. Many are the plans of a man but God directs his path. I believe we were directed by God to go to Bethel. Three things happened to lead us, Bethel mentioned in the Hymn, Brendan reading about it in his book and my reading from the bible. Let everything be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses.
We return home tomorrow. We will look for a new car!