Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Assurance: Jacob's Ladder

Gen 28:10–22

Jacob was Abraham’s grandson, the son of the very Isaac for whom God had provided a substitute (Gen 22). Jacob is definitely one of those people in the great story of redemptive history that reminds us that God calls and uses us “warts and all.” When I read the story of Jacob and Esau, I have the strongest suspicion that Esau would have been my good pal if we had been neighbors—and only a directive from my mother would have made me go play with the sneaky momma’s boy Jacob. Sure enough, Jacob’s shifty ways got him into deep trouble with his brother Esau.

One night while he was on the run for his life, Jacob was sleeping. God gave him a dream about angels going up and down a stairway that reached from earth to heaven (28:2). Jacob was on the run in a form of exile from the covenantal family, but God announced himself in covenantal terms: “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father Isaac” (v. 13a). Jacob was on the run, heading for foreign territories, but God told him, “The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am going to give it to you and your descendants” (v. 13b).


Jacob realized that he was in God’s own land, right at the front porch of God’s heavenly house. So he called the place he slept Bethel.[1] Jacob realized that God was renewing the patriarchal covenant. God had promised Abraham the land where Jacob was now sleeping (Gen 12:1; 15:7). Several times God had promised to multiply Abraham’s descendants like sand on beach or stars in the skies (Gen 12:2; 13:16; 15:5; 22:17; 26:4). And he had promised that Abraham’s descendants would bless the whole world (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14).

So Jacob went on his way knowing that God would bless and keep him. And God did. He went through a tough time with a father-in-law who proved to be a match for his own sneaky ways—and got an extra wife in the bargain (Gen 29). Finally, went it came time to head home, he found Esau ready to have him back (Gen 32).

Jacob eventually came to be named “Israel” (Gen 32:27–28). Jesus became his most worthy descendant. Now Jesus blesses all the nations when they obey him.

Questions, Reflections, and Commitments

  • Tonight as you put the children to bed and eventually turn in for your own sleep, you may feel harassed, You might even feel all the worse because you can list several things you did to bring it on yourself. Before you lay your head on your pillow, ask God to wake you up with his assurances of protection and guidance tomorrow morning.
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1. The Hebrew word Beth means “house” and ‘El means “God.”

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