“I told you that was a bad idea, Mom.”
Rebekah shook her head. “No, God told me you would be first before you were born. This is still working out just fine. It’s time for you to marry and start a family. Go to Haran and live with my brother, Laban. He has daughters who’ll make a better wife for you than the women here. I’ll send for you after Esau has had time to calm down.”
Jacob shook his head. “Esau isn’t going to let this go. I just know it. I don’t think I’ll ever see you again.”
Tears streamed down Rebekah’s face as she hugged her son. “Never forget I love you.”
Jacob choked back tears. “I won’t.”
Rebekah turned around and dried her eyes. “I need to talk to your father. Go pack some things.”
When Jacob crested a hill he stared to his left. The sun was peaking through the layers of clouds in red and orange hues. The clouds overhead were yellow. The mountain ranges that were green now appeared in shades of gray. “Wow. This is such a beautiful land. Abba didn’t tell me much, but I do remember he said God promised the land we’re in to his father, Abraham. I wonder how much of this is included.”
He found a slender stone before it became dark. A full day of walking had drained his energy. He laid on his side and closed his eyes.
A ladder appeared near his head. He sat up and stared up. The top of the ladder stretched beyond the clouds. Angels were going up and down the rungs.
A man stood on nothing near the top of the ladder. “I am the God of Abraham and Isaac. Your descendants will cover this land like the dust does for I give it to you and them. All nations will be blessed in your seed. I will be with you wherever you go and will bring you back here.”
Jacob jerked awake. The darkness startled him. He sat up and rubbed his ear to relieve the searing pain. He searched for signs of where the ladder stood. Then he looked up at the stars. “‘If you can count the stars so shall your descendants be…’ That’s what you told Abraham. This place is awesome. It’s the house of God.”
He rubbed the ground he sat on. “And this must be the doorway to heaven.”
When he closed his eyes he could still see the ladder and the angels.
When he opened his eyes his head was back on the rock. The eastern horizon was a light gray. A half moon obscured most of the stars now.
Jacob grabbed a shard of stone and frantically gashed a groove in the hard-packed ground. He stood his pillow on end in the furrow and jammed dirt around its base. He took the flask of oil that was packed for him to help heal any wounds he encountered in his journey and poured it all on the stone.
“If God shall provide my food and clothes and bring me back to my father’s house in peace, then He shall be my God. This stone will be Bethel, God’s House, from this day forward. I shall return to You a tenth of all I get.”
Jacob gathered his belongings and continued his trek with renewed vigor.
I wonder how many people have tried in vain to find that exact spot Jacob slept that night. Who wouldn’t want to see that ladder with angels on it?
Those people miss the point of this whole encounter. The place wasn’t significant. The message is.
Jacob could have slept anywhere that night and received the same dream.
God was real to Abraham by showing Himself and talking to him several times.
Isaac’s first glimpse of God came on an altar he was tied to with his abba grabbing a knife to slit his throat.
Jacob’s attention was focused upward with this dream and repeated promise.
These three fathers of the Jewish faith needed to know God personally. They needed something significant to pass down to successive generations.
You and I need the same type of experience in our own personal journey today.
No, I don’t mean you have to sleep under the stars using a rock for a pillow. I mean we need to know God on a personal level.
Since Jesus came as the fulfillment of that promise of Jacob’s seed blessing all nations it’s simple to do.
All we need to do is admit we can’t come to God on our own efforts because of His perfection and our filthy sinfulness.
Then we have to believe Jesus’s death on the cross was done for us. He died as our substitute in God’s eyes.
When each of us does that individually then an amazing thing happens to God’s eyes. He then sees us as if He’s looking at Jesus.
No, this isn’t a dream event. This is all God’s choice so He can have an intimate relationship with each one of us.
Two things are given as proof of this transaction from above.
First, Jesus came back to life from a tomb He was placed in after three days. Nobody stepped in to make this happen. Jesus told His followers it would happen so they’d know it was from God.
Second, God places His Holy Spirit inside each one of His children so we can experience this intimacy personally. God promises to hear our prayers and heal our wounds while helping us understand His Word written to us as a love letter and guidebook.
Although I stated this transaction is simple it apparently isn’t easy. Otherwise everybody would do it.
Pride keeps too many folks thinking they’re good enough to get into heaven without a savior.
Confusion remains a stumbling block for some to accept Jesus as God who came to earth to be our substitute.
Pray for those you know need this.
Accept it as your own.
I’ll see you later. Wade