Jacob came to the ancient holy place. He lay his head upon a stone and dreamt. “'Know that I am with you,' said the Lord. 'I will protect you, wherever you go. I will never leave you.' Jacob woke from his dream. 'How awesome is this shrine!...you are nothing else but an abode of God, and the gateway to heaven’” (Gen 28).
In ancient Israel God dwelt with his people. He went before them as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. He abided in the Holy of Holies in the Meeting Tent. At its consecration his glory filled the Temple as a cloud. He was their God and they were his people.
They in turn were a people who lived in God's presence. Their daily lives were penetrated by their awareness that God was in their midst. Sometimes they forgot their God. Yet even then he never abandoned them completely. He would begin by calling them back and then give himself to them anew.
Lord, I believe that you are faithful. Even when I think you have abandoned me you are really very near. Increase my faith in your faithfulness.