Isaac blesses Jacob
Rebekah has no love for the women hovering around her sons, and she was rightly concerned.
Isaac transfers Abraham’s blessing to Jacob, recognizing God’s sovereign hand in the scheme of Rebekah, he blesses Jacob all the more.
THE 500 MILE HIKE
House boy Jacob must now venture alone into the wilderness and find his way to his mother’s relatives living near Paddan – aram, a place we understand to be near the southern border of modern-day Syria.
Esau is understandably upset after seeing Isaac bless Jacob. With Isaac going north, Esau settles south below the Dead Sea, and in order to pain his parents, takes a lover from his great uncle, the long-dead Ishmael, even though he had wives.
Bethel is about 70 miles north of Beersheba and means House Of God.
At the time of Jacob, it was important only because Abraham built an altar after God called him (Genesis 12: 8). It’s doubtful the altar was still around.
The pillow rock is not as odd as it sounds, there are many flat wide rocks all over the world perfectly useful for sleep. Wilderness guides often use such rocks after warming them by the fire.
The ladder was not a fireman’s ladder, it most likely looked like a stairway found on ancient pyramids, wide with narrow steps, pointed directly at heaven. Only this ladder was not man-made, it came down from heaven, likely a picture of Jesus’ return. Angels went up and down in Jacob’s vision, something Jesus references as Himself in John 1:61.
Learning how to wield the power of Abraham’s blessing will take young Jacob on a journey toward maturity, where pain will be God’s helper in beating out of him man-made schemes.
Jacob woke up and shares a laughable thought, “Surely God was in this place and I did not know it.” He took the stone he slept on, made it the base of a pillar, and poured oil over it.
In a laughable move, Jacob’s response to God is a certain attempt to cut a deal with him. “If God will,” is what he says, “Be with me and keep me…then the Lord will be my God.” His words, however well intended, run contrary to the nature of God’s most abundant resource. Grace patiently waits for every opportunity to run to the lowest place in our lives, like water it cannot help but move through every obstacle in its path until grace saturates and waters our lowliness. Jacob had not earned the sacred promise on his life nor the sweet revelation of angels dancing, yet he speaks to God ignorantly and carnally. Instead of thankfulness, he speaks of entitlement.
Jacob is still a schemer, but he is about to meet the greatest schemer of them all, Uncle Laban.