Genesis 28 * Jacob’s Dream

* JACOB NEEDS A WIFE

* JESUS MEETS JACOB IN A DREAM

* ISAAC BLESSED JACOB

Rebekah had no love for the pagan women hovering around her sons. They were bad news, and she was rightly concerned.

Bestowed upon Jacob is the blessing of Abraham, Isaac’s grandfather, and his blessing included taking possession of the land given to Abraham.

Isaac set Jacob before him and blessed him. He had every reason to hold onto anger, but it seems Isaac recognized God’s sovereign hand in the scheme of Rebekah and Isaac, so Isaac blessed 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 once again takes things into his own hand and plays the fool. Seeing his father blessing his brother, and sending him to relatives up north, Esau seeks out a lover from his great uncle, the long dead Ishmael. The text illustrates Esau’s perversion, he had other wives.

THE DREAMER

Bethel is about 70 miles north of Beersheba, and means House Of God.

At the time of Jacob, it was an empty spot, of importance only because Abraham, years before, had built an altar there, after God had called him (Genesis 12: 8). It’s doubtful that Abraham’s 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.

It would be wrong to think of Jacob’s ladder as anything similar to fireman’s ladder. The ladder 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, a clear picture to the eventual arrival of Jesus. Angels went upon and down in Jacob’s vision, and in John 1: 61, Jesus uses the same words to signal it was Jesus himself authoring Jacob’s vision.

The vision was powerful, “the land on which you lie I will give to you and your offspring…your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth.”

In a divine moment, Abraham’s blessing of land, seed and blessing is placed upon Jacob, and it can never be taken away.

But learning how to wield such power will take the young man into a journey of maturity, where pain will be God’s helper, encouraging Jacob to leave behind 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.

STILL SCHEMING

Jesus pronounced an awesome promise on Jacob, but that was not good enough for him. When Abraham heard God’s word, he simply believed it, and that word was credited to him as righteousness.

Jacob heard God’s word, and figured he would cut a deal with God, a laughable move.

THE VOW

Jacob, as is his way, came up with a man centered response to God’s enormous blessing, it’s laughable and painful at the same time.

God said to Jacob:

I am the Lord God

…The God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac

…The land on which you lie I give to you, and your offspring

…Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth

…In you shall spread abroad to the west, east, north and south

…In you and your offspring shall all the families of earth be blessed (this is an outstanding comment by God)

…I am with you wherever you go, and will bring back to this land

…I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised

Jacob said to God:

If God will be with me…

And will keep me in this way…

And will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear…

So that I come again to my father’s house in peace…

Then the Lord shall be my God…

And this stone which I have set up for a pillar shall be God’s house…

And of all that you give me I will give you a tenth…

See the difference?

God saw it, in case you missed it.

God only asked Jacob to believe it, but Jacob came up with a man centered conditional response to a love gift, sent without any conditions attached. God sent divine love, but Jacob turned God’s love into a form of “Ya but.”

Jacob is still a schemer, but he is about to meet the greatest schemer of them all, Uncle Laban.