Thursday, December 7: Jacob: Still Longing for the Blessing

Genesis 28:10-17

 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran.  When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.  He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.  There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.  I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”  He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

John 1:50-51

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.”  He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

Jacob, knowing that his brother Esau planned to kill him for stealing his blessing from their father Isaac, fled to the land of his mother’s family.  As Jacob was about to leave the land that God had promised to Abraham and his descendants, God appeared to him in a dream and repeated to him the promises he had made to his grandfather.  God would give Jacob the promised land, would be with him until he brought him back to Canaan, and would bless him with many descendants, through whom all the earth would be blessed.

Amazing! As undeserving as he was, God would graciously give Jacob all the blessings that he had tried to gain by trickery and deceit.  If Abraham was a picture of faith, surely Jacob was a picture of grace.  And yet, “The chief blessing is not God’s promise of land and descendants, of security and significance; rather, it is God’s promise of himself” (Iain Duguid).  Years later, as Jacob was about to reenter the promised land, he wrestled with God and refused to let him go until God blessed him (Genesis 32:24-30).

In Jacob’s dream he saw a stairway to heaven from earth, with angels ascending and descending on it, and God standing at the top.  While sinful men had attempted to reach heaven by their own efforts at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11), God came down to man.  “Right down to where the fugitive lay, the ladder came, and right up to God Himself the ladder reached!” (A.W. Pink).  As Jesus explained to his disciples, he himself is the stairway to heaven, the only way for man to reach God, the descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through whom will come blessing to all the earth.

Cling to him!  Seek blessing only in and through him!  Worship him as the only Lord and Savior!

As Jacob with travel was weary one day,
at night on a stone for a pillow he lay;
he saw in a vision a ladder so high
that its foot was on earth and its top in the sky:

Alleluia to Jesus who died on the tree,
and has raised up a ladder of mercy for me!

(Traditional English Carol)

© 2023 Stephen A. Hoogerhyde.