Thursday, February 18, 2016

Friday, Genesis 28 - Jacob's Ladder

At this point Jacob was somewhere past the age of 40 (Genesis 26:34). Still, in obedience to his parents he went off to visit "Uncle Laban." Specifically, he went to get a wife. Esau saw this and tried to make amends for his earlier marriages (to Canaanite women) by taking a relative (a descendant of Ishmael) to be his wife. He evidently assumed that this would please his father. It was futile. Even if his dad was happy about it, the deeds had been done.  The election of Jacob over Esau had been sealed (Hebrews 12:16-17 & Romans 9:11-13).
Jacob's journey toward Haran (in the Fertile Crescent) passed through a region that was to become eternally significant. He stopped there to rest. He laid his head on a stone and slept in the open air approximately half way between what would eventually become Shiloh and Jerusalem. Shiloh became known primarily because of the Tabernacle of Jehovah and Jerusalem because of the Temple of Jehovah.
In a very real, spiritual and visible premonition from God, Jacob was introduced to his God and to his destiny while he lay on the ground that night.  In a revelatory dream He saw a ladder that reached all the way into heaven. Appropriately, he named that place Bethel... or "House of God" in honor of God's manifest presence there. God was there. It was unexpected (Genesis 28:16) but aptly appreciated (Genesis 28:18).
Notice that the angels were ascending and descending (not vice versa). The order is significant. God's blessings were already with Jacob. The angles were already there before the dream. In fact, they had descended from heaven to minister for God to this family long before Jacob was even born.

Well, we know it was a life changing moment. He made his commitment to God that morning. His conversion sounded something like this, "Since God has promised that He will feed me and cloth me and bring me back home again someday... He is my God. I will pay my tithes to Him as a token of my faith."

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