Year 2 Day 253
Read - Genesis 28
Message - Scott Woodburn
Despite the abundant disobedience and trouble in Isaac’s family, the old man was still prepared to direct his son Jacob’s steps. Jacob was to go and stay with his uncle Laban until Esau’s anger lessened. As he went his father urged him not to marry a woman from the Canaanites but instead to marry a woman from his own people. The Christian is still not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. We would see the problem in the life of Solomon who despite his wisdom married all sorts of wives. The Word says that “when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.” (1 Kings 11v4) Jacob wasn’t to follow his heart but instead he was to guard it by following the Word of God.
With his father’s words ringing in his ears, Jacob began his journey to Paddan-aram and one night after the setting of the sun he fell into a dream. Jacob saw a ladder upon the earth which reached all the way up into heaven (v12). Amazingly the angels of God were going up and down the ladder but more amazing still was the fact that Almighty God stood above the ladder.
In his dream Jacob heard the voice of the Lord who said “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (v13-14)
By this stage we should be familiar with the covenantal language used. God promised once more that the descendants of Abraham and his descendant Jacob would be numerous and by their offspring all the peoples of the earth would be blessed. Jacob might be fleeing from his brother’s wrath but the Lord would bring him back to the land. The Covenant would be kept - God Himself ensured it!
Jacob woke in awe and fear. “Surely the Lord is in this place” he said and immediately used his stone pillow as a stone pillar. He poured oil over the top of the pillar and named the place Bethel which means the house (Beth) of God (El). Jacob vowed that he would respond to God’s graciousness with worship. He would one day return, there would be a house of God in the land and Jacob would tithe (give a tenth) of his possessions to the Lord.
What had Jacob done to deserve such a visitation? NOTHING. The picture we have encountered thus far has not been wonderful. Jacob means “he takes by the heel” or “he cheats”. His name was appropriate for just as he was born grasping at his brother’s heel so too he would cheat his brother and supplant him. Yet God takes the initiative and meets Jacob in a dream showing him a ladder between heaven and earth and promising blessing.
What have we done to deserve God’s grace? NOTHING. We may not be called Jacob but we are just as sinful and just as tricky. Yet in our lives God has taken the initiative. He has met sleeping sinful scoundrels with his abundant grace and by faith in Christ we have been awakened to the riches of the Gospel. How can any of this be so? Christ is Abraham’s promised seed and Christ is the ladder of Jacob’s dream. Jesus is the God-man who bridges the span between heaven and earth. He has paid the price at Calvary and by Jesus all the Jacobs of this world can be saved.
None of this is new but all of it is true. Respond to the Lord this day in fearful reverence. Worship Him and fulfil all that you vow for the initiative is His and salvation belongs to the Lord!
Q19 What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell? All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.