1 Genesis (2011) 28B Jacb is leaving hme, headed fr Haran It s time fr Jacb t grw up spiritually, since he will becme the father f a natin f Gd s peple If we knew Jacb persnally and we were t list Jacb s shrtcmings, we culd prbably find many faults Scripture recrds at least a few f Jacb s shrtcmings clearly He relies n himself and his intellect rather than relying n Gd He turns t Gd nly after his schemes have brught him truble Like his father, he fails at times t assume the leadership rle in his family Generally, he tends t fight against Gd rather than wrk with Gd As we ll see thrugh the curse f ur study, Jacb s persnal traits freshadw the traits f the natin that cmes frm his and takes his name Meanwhile, Gd begins t instruct Jacb One f the mst amazing things abut ur relatinship with the living Gd is the way He wrks in ur lives t grw us spiritually It s been said that Gd saves us as we are, but He lves us t much t leave us that way And s it is with Jacb And Jacb s jurney t Haran and back is a 20 year bt camp in learning t trust and fllw the Lrd Jacb s jurney begins with a prmise And it ends with a test Tday we see the prmise 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
2 Genesis 28B 2 f 11 Gen. 28:10 Then Jacb departed frm Beersheba and went tward Haran. Gen. 28:11 He came t a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he tk ne f the stnes f the place and put it under his head, and lay dwn in that place. Gen. 28:12 He had a dream, and behld, a ladder was set n the earth with its tp reaching t heaven; and behld, the angels f Gd were ascending and descending n it. Gen. 28:13 And behld, the LORD std abve it and said, I am the LORD, the Gd f yur father Abraham and the Gd f Isaac; the land n which yu lie, I will give it t yu and t yur descendants. Gen. 28:14 Yur descendants will als be like the dust f the earth, and yu will spread ut t the west and t the east and t the nrth and t the suth; and in yu and in yur descendants shall all the families f the earth be blessed. Gen. 28:15 Behld, I am with yu and will keep yu wherever yu g, and will bring yu back t this land; fr I will nt leave yu until I have dne what I have prmised yu. Jacb leaves his family s traditinal hme in the land and heads nrtheast t Haran His rute tk him alng muntain range running nrth-suth alng the east side f the Jrdan river He wuld have pasted thrugh Hebrn, Bethlehem, Jerusalem And after abut 50 miles, he reached a place called Luz Luz is near the brder f the land f Canaan Jacb is within a day f crssing the Jrdan river and walking ut f the prmised land His father had never left this land Yet here was Jacb preparing t leave it behind, perhaps never t return Night is upn him, s he lies dwn n the grund t sleep We re tld he tk a stne and placed it under his head There are tw things abut that descriptin that tell us t take a clser lk at the descriptin First, the mere fact that Mses mentins Jacb s placement f this stne shuld catch ur attentin 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
3 Genesis 28B 3 f 11 Why wuld he include such a meaningless detail unless it was, in fact, meaningful? Secndly, wh sleeps with a rck as their pillw? That wuld have been n mre cmfrtable in Jacb s day than it wuld be fr us tday Simply put, it desn t make sense, s the descriptin must mean smething else And in fact, the descriptin des mean smething else The phrase in Hebrew literally says at his head nt under his head I dn t knw why many English translatins, including the NASB, missed this translatin, but there are numerus English versins that gt the verse crrect The New English, Hlman Christian and New King James versins all translate this verse crrectly S Jacb places a stne at his head befre he falls asleep This explains why Mses recrded the incident The rck is a weapn in case Jacb shuld need t defend himself Much like Saul slept with his spear at his head while he was pursuing David This als explains why Mses recrded this detail in the first place The detail f the rck shws us that Jacb was in fear fr his safety and felt vulnerable and alne during his travels Cnsider his situatin: His father has sent him away His brther is seeking t kill him He is wandering thrugh strange land by himself Headed t a place and peple he has never met And he can t be sure what will cme f him there 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
4 Genesis 28B 4 f 11 His fear and uncertainty is cmpletely understandable But Jacb is frgetting smething very imprtant He is in a cvenant with the living Gd Jacb may nt have the supprt and prtectin f his family r an army f men, but he has smething much mre imprtant He has the Lrd f Heaven and Earth cmmitted by His wn wrd t prtect and bless Jacb And even thught that prmise was fcused n an inheritance f a certain plt f land, Gd s prmises and blessings weren t limited t that place alne As the Psalmist wrte Psa. 23:4 Even thugh I walk thrugh the valley f the shadw f death, I fear n evil, fr Yu are with me; Yur rd and Yur staff, they cmfrt me. This is the mst imprtant earthly cnsequence f ur relatinship with the Lrd thrugh ur faith in the New Cvenant We have the Lrd n ur side wherever we are and n matter what cmes We never again experience life alne We are cmpletely in His care We are nly as vulnerable as He allws us t be We are nly as afflicted as He chses t permit We nly carry thse burdens He permits us t carry Therefre, ur trials (whether the result f ur sin r the sin f thers) cme accrding t the will f the Lrd and fr ur benefit When reflecting n the trials and tribulatins f life, Paul asks: Rm. 8:31 What then shall we say t these things? If Gd is fr us, wh is against us? 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
5 Genesis 28B 5 f 11 This is the lessn Gd wants t bring t Jacb as he prepares t depart the land Thugh Jacb is leaving behind his family and the land, he isn t leaving behind Gd and His prmises S as Jacb sleeps, Gd brings him a visin in a dream This is the first recrded visin given t the family f Abraham thrugh a dream Jacb sees a stairway set upn the grund but reaching int heaven My translatin use the term ladder t describe the structure, which is where we get the term Jacb s ladder But the wrd in Hebrew (sullam) literally means stairwell On this staircase, Jacb sees angels mving ascending and descending Jacb sees angels leaving the heavenly realm and walking dwn the stairs t earth, while thers are leaving earth and walking up the stairs t heaven Then abve the staircase, Jacb recgnizes the Lrd abve it, frm where He speaks t Jacb in the dream Befre we lk at the Lrd s wrds, let s cnsider the symblism in the scene itself First, a stairway int Heaven makes a clear statement by itself that there is a pathway pen t reach Gd In fact, the genesis behind the Twer f Babel, which prbably resembled a large pyramid with stairs alng each side was t reach Heaven Gd is cmmunicating that He is accessible t Jacb And that accessibility was made pssible by Gd s cvenant prmises t Jacb by His wrd Secndly, the angels ascending and descending the staircase cmmunicate that an exchange is taking place between Heaven and earth The wrd angel is Hebrew is the wrd messenger, s fr Jacb these angels were messengers between Heaven and Earth 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
6 Genesis 28B 6 f 11 The writer t the Hebrews in the New Testament taught that the specific functin f angels Heb. 1:13 But t which f the angels has He ever said, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET? Heb. 1:14 Are they nt all ministering spirits, sent ut t render service fr the sake f thse wh will inherit salvatin? Angels minister t (r serve) the peple f Gd, and Jacb is seeing a visible reminder that Gd is wrking thrugh His angels t bridge the gap between heaven and earth It s als imprtant t nte tw ther details in the descriptin f the angels First, this is ne f nly tw times that the angelic realm is mentined in Genesis The secnd time ccurs in Genesis 32 when Jacb is returning t the land after a 20 year absence Secndly, it s ntewrthy that the angels are described first as ascending and then descending It suggests that the angels are carrying news t Heaven fllwed by Heaven respnding t meet the needs n Earth Finally, we see the Lrd at the tp f this visin Clearly, the messengers are seen prviding intercessin between Jacb n earth and the Lrd in Heaven Putting the visin tgether, Jacb sees a pwerful statement in the symblgy f the dream Jacb is nt alne He has the Lrd ministering t Him by the agency f angels And the angels are cnstantly mving between earth and Heaven, bringing the Lrd wrd f the needs f Jacb 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
7 Genesis 28B 7 f 11 And returning t minister with the grace and wisdm and prtectin and prvisin f the Lrd And if the visin itself were nt clear enugh, the Lrd standing at the tp f the staircase speaks reassuring wrds t Jacb He begins with a restatement f the cvenant first given t Abraham and later Isaac Nw it is spken by Gd t Jacb fr the first time Jacb will have the land and descendants and they will becme a surce f blessing fr the Gentiles Reminding Jacb f the cvenant is f utmst imprtance, because the cvenant is Jacb s best reasn fr cnfidence that he can trust in Gd Gd can t d better than t give us His wrd We remember that Gd gave Abraham an ath that the Lrd wre by Himself s that Abraham wuld have cnfidence and hpe Remember what the writer f Hebrews tld us Heb. 6:13 Fr when Gd made the prmise t Abraham, since He culd swear by n ne greater, He swre by Himself, Heb. 6:14 saying, I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU. Heb. 6:15 And s, having patiently waited, he btained the prmise. Heb. 6:16 Fr men swear by ne greater than themselves, and with them an ath given as cnfirmatin is an end f every dispute. Heb. 6:17 In the same way Gd, desiring even mre t shw t the heirs f the prmise the unchangeableness f His purpse, interpsed with an ath, Heb. 6:18 s that by tw unchangeable things in which it is impssible fr Gd t lie, we wh have taken refuge wuld have strng encuragement t take hld f the hpe set befre us. But then in v.15 the Lrd turns frm the prmises f the cvenant t make a specific applicatin fr Jacb s benefit The Lrd says I am with yu everywhere yu g, I will bring yu back t this land, and I will accmplish everything I have prmised t d fr yu 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
8 Genesis 28B 8 f 11 If the imagery f the dream weren t enugh and the reiteratin f Gd s cvenant with Jacb didn t suffice, the Lrd ges the extra step f persnally guaranteeing Jacb s safety as he prepares t leave the land The prmises f Gd are nt fcused n the land, they are fcused n the persn f Jacb and his descendants And Jacb will never be ut f Gd s reach r away frm Gd s prtectin and faithfulness n matter where Gd takes him What a reassuring message, especially in light f Jacb s state f mind Naturally we shuld expect that Jacb hears and understands this message fully And by that understanding, Jacb rests in Gd s prmises and begins t trust in Gd instead f in ther things Unfrtunately, spiritual grwth and maturity desn t cme that easily, nt fr Jacb r fr us Hearing Gd clearly, understanding Him plainly and fllwing Him bediently requires practice, diligence and experience Jacb has nne f thse qualities at this pint, s instead f understanding Gd s wrd prperly, Jacb runs ff t make the wrng cnclusin Gen. 28:16 Then Jacb awke frm his sleep and said, Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did nt knw it. Gen. 28:17 He was afraid and said, Hw awesme is this place! This is nne ther than the huse f Gd, and this is the gate f heaven. Gen. 28:18 S Jacb rse early in the mrning, and tk the stne that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and pured il n its tp. Gen. 28:19 He called the name f that place Bethel; hwever, previusly the name f the city had been Luz. Gen. 28:20 Then Jacb made a vw, saying, If Gd will be with me and will keep me n this jurney that I take, and will give me fd t eat and garments t wear, Gen. 28:21 and I return t my father s huse in safety, then the LORD will be my Gd. Gen. 28:22 This stne, which I have set up as a pillar, will be Gd s huse, and f all that Yu give me I will surely give a tenth t Yu Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
9 Genesis 28B 9 f 11 Upn awakening, Jacb s first cnclusin is, The Lrd is in this place. Jacb cncludes that the Lrd has marked this particular spt as imprtant Gd can be fund in Luz He says this is an awesme place, the huse f Gd, the gate t Heaven The place was special because Gd had appeared t him here Jacb makes an age ld mistake that men are still making tday: we cnfuse the spiritual with the physical, in in s ding we limit Gd Jacb cmpletely misses the main pint f Gd s message, that Gd is nt limited t the land but will be with Jacb anywhere he ges In its place, Jacb declares that this is the place t find Gd In fact, Jacb memrializes the place in Gd s hnr He changes the name t Bethel, which means the huse f Gd Bethel des becme an imprtant place in the histry f Israel Only Jerusalem is mentined mre in the Old Testament than Bethel Then Jacb makes a vw as a result f what he has seen He begins his vw with if If Gd will be with me while I m utside the land, then when I return the Lrd will be my Gd And the stne I intended t use in my wn defense, I dedicate this stne t Gd tday in this place And shuld I return, I will give yu a tenth There is a hint f a Jacb bargaining with Gd But Gd has already prmised that He will remain with Jacb Jacb desn t need t bargain r wnder if Gd will remain with him 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
10 Genesis 28B 10 f 11 Jacb has becme excited and encuraged ver Gd s revelatin, yet he is leaving half ccked and uninfrmed abut the nature f that revelatin It reminds me f the stry f the yung by wh encunters Gd fr the first time, but desn t understand what he s seen A ten-year-ld by was failing math. His parents, wh were nt religius peple, tried everything frm tutrs t hypnsis; but t n avail. Finally, at the suggestin f a family friend, they decided t enrll their sn in a private Christian schl. They were nervus at the thught f their child being expsed t religin fr the first time, but they felt that had n ther alternatives. After the first day f schl, the by's parents were surprised when their sn walked in after schl with a stern, fcused and very determined expressin n his face. He went straight past them, right t his rm and quietly clsed the dr. Fr nearly tw hurs he tiled away in his rm - with math bks strewn abut his desk and the surrunding flr. He emerged just lng enugh t eat, and after quickly cleaning his plate, went straight back t his rm, clsed the dr and wrked feverishly at his studies until bedtime. This pattern f behavir cntinued until it was time fr the first quarter's reprt card. The by walked in with it unpened - laid it n the dinner table and went straight t his rm. Cautiusly, his mther pened it and, t her amazement, she saw a large red 'A' under the subject f Math. Overjyed, she and her husband rushed int their sn's rm, thrilled at his remarkable prgress. "Was it the teachers wh helped yu?" the father asked. The by shk his head and said "N." "Was it the strict classrm envirnment? The high academic standards?" "N." "The textbks? The cmputers in the classrm? The curriculum?" "N", said the sn. "On that first day, when I walked in the frnt dr and lked up, I saw that guy nailed t the plus sign, I KNEW they meant business!" 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
11 Genesis 28B 11 f 11 Like that by, smetimes we see Gd s signs clearly, but we cmpletely misunderstand the meaning This kind f mistake is a mark f immaturity in ur faith and in ur walk We get a piece f the message but we miss the main pint Jacb thught Gd was sanctifying the place, but the message was actually the ppsite Gd wanted Jacb t knw it wasn t abut a place, but a relatinship Tday Christians cmmnly think that Gd meets them in a place n Sunday rather than remembering that He lives in us everywhere we g Or like the persn wh wrte t ur ministry asking abut the Rapture They wanted t knw what happens if a Christian dnates an rgan befre dying, will that Christian s rgan be taken ut f the recipient s bdy at the Rapture Clearly, they are missing sme pieces f understanding in their thelgy These mments are nt mments f shame fr us, but they d highlight ur immaturity and ur need t cntinue grwing in the grace and knwledge f Jesus Christ Jacb is ur example f an immature man spiritually, but despite his immaturity, Gd remain faithful Nt nly is Gd faithful t keep His prmises, but Gd is faithful t grw us up in ur understanding f Him and His wrd Praise be t ur Lrd! 2012 Verse By Verse Ministry f San Antni ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.