Genesis 28:10-22 – Jacob’s ladder

 

 

10 ¶And Jacob went out from Beer–sheba, and went toward Haran.*n5  11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.  12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.  13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;  14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.*n6  15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.  16 ¶And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.  17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.  18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.  19 And he called the name of that place Beth–el: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.*n720 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,  21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:  22 And this stone, which I have setfor a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

 

Jacob had been sent out by his father with nothing but the shirt on his back.  He had deceived his father and denied any kind of blessing for his brother and now he was weighed down and possibly depressed by recent events and so he finds a place to sleep for the night, and he uses rocks for pillows.  He must have felt pretty low and I wonder what might have been on his mind while he lie there on the ground and looked up at the stars.  If it was anything like the experiences that I, my wife, and many people who are more connected to the Father than myself, he must have felt about as far away from God than he had ever felt.

The funny thing about that is that it seems that when we feel that way; when we lose our job, when we are on the verge of divorce, or we have been diagnosed with something fatal. It seems that when we are at our lowest, when we seem to have nowhere else to turn, and we have some to the end of ourselves; it is in that very point, that God will come to you and really make Himself known to you.

Look at Moses and the burning bush, or Elijah in the cave.  Just like Jacob, they were down in the dumps so to speak, Moses had lived in the wilderness for 40 years, fled from Egypt because he was sure they would kill him after he had tried to work out God’s plan for himself.  Elijah had believed that he was the only person left in the world who loved God and he was ready for the Lord to take him.

But in each instance, as with what we are about to see with Jacob, God made Himself known to each person in a very important way, so much so that they were energized again for His purpose.

So Jacob is lying there, possible all depressed and eventually falls to sleep.  While he sleeps, he sees a vision of a ladder and on this ladder are angels ascending and descending upon it, and the Lord God is standing at the top.

What we can learn from God’s wonderful picture book:

 

1. The angels are ascending and descending:

This tells us that angels are among us here on earth and that their purpose is to minister here more than in heaven.

 

The Lord tells him that He will be with Him and bless him:

13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;  14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.*n6  15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

 

2. We have the very same blessing from God:

Matthew 28:19-20

Hebrews 13:5

 

Jacob wakes up and proclaims:

16 ¶And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.  17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

 

Notice that he says that the Lord is in this place, not that the Lord was in this place.

Jacob sets the rock pillow up as a pillar and poured oil upon it and renames the area Beth-El or House of God.

3. The name of God changes as He is revealed to His people:

God was known as El from Abraham till around the time when He told Moses His Personal name in Exodus.  I think that this is how He slowly revealed Himself to mankind and Israel.

 

4. We also learn that the area had been called Luz before Jacob renamed it.

It is interesting to note that Luz meant two things that we know of:

a. The name comes from the verb meaning “to turn aside.”

In the case of Moses and Elijah, as well as Jacob, all three had their walks changed  or turned by God when they were at their lowest

b. It is identical to the noun denoting the almond tree.

We find another tree mentioned in the New Testament when this very same ladder is mentioned again; a fig tree.

 

John 1

 

43 ¶The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.   44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.  46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.  47Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!  48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.   49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.  50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.   51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

 

5. The tithe is mentioned again.

 

20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,  21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:  22 And this stone, which I have setfor a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

 

Jacob is not saying “If God,” but is saying “Since God.”

 

6. The significance of anointing the rock.

Jacob anoints the rock and sets it up as a pillar.  Anointing was not something new and it usually was used when someone was making a vow. Stones were used for marking territory but they were not anointed with oil.

It would probably signify in Jacob’s mind his encounter with the Lord and his vow to God, but to us it denotes something more:

Jesus, the Ladder and our connection to God is also called two things that we see here:

1. Christ, the Messiah, or anointed one

2. The Rock

 

So from this we learn that the very ladder that Jacob dreamed about is none other than the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

He is the link between God and man!

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About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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