Life couldn't have been better, and yet he didn't get it. Security was his, a marvelous inheritance, counsel, guidance, protection, everything he could think to ask for. Still he didn't quite grasp it, and did not comprehend all of the guarantees that were his. He was living as though he didn't believe it. This is Jacob of Genesis 28:10-19.
It took a dream to wake him to the dimension that he had not seen. The dream from the Lord showed him that he had been and would continue to be in the presence of God for the rest of his life. Angels were seen busy in communication to and from the heavens in the very place where Jacob stood. Above all stood the Lord reminding Jacob that He was the God of Abraham and Isaac. All of the land would be given to him and to his children. Blessings would follow him as well as God's presence and his divine protection. "I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."
His response: "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not." This was the dream that was not a dream. This was Jacob's wake-up call. How could he have missed all of this? What was he thinking? "He was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place? This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
The timing is interesting. Jacob would need this encounter with the Lord in light of the events that he was about to face. The reality was that God was ever-present and very active in all of Jacob's daily activities. "I am with thee, and will keep thee in all the places whither thou goest." He is hands-on and sovereign in all of the affairs of men. Too often oblivious to his presence, we behave like little children covering our eyes thinking that our parents can't see us. And like Jacob we awake from our sleep and say in amazement, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not."