Hello, Scroll Eaters! Jacob means trickster, beguiler, and today we read of how Jacob not only stole the birthright, but the blessing! We also read of Isaac giving Jacob instructions on finding a wife, and they are the same instructions Abraham gave – marry one of your people, not a pagan Canaanite. Jacob marries Rachel, after being tricked into marrying Leah a week earlier.
The passage I want to look at today is Jacob’s dream. Jacob saw angels going up and down a “ladder to heaven” or a “stairway to heaven” (though Led Zeppelin surely didn’t have this in mind). Many believe what Jacob dreamed about was most likely what we now call a ziggurat. Ziggurats were tall towers, pyramid-like but with stairs, and on the tops were shrines, where it was said the gods lived. In fact, the Tower of Babel was most likely a very large ziggurat as well – remember they were trying to build a tower to God. Ziggurats were common, and it’s feasible this is something Jacob would be familiar with, recognize, and dream about. God appeared to Jacob at the top of his stairway, and passed on the promises of the covenant to him. Jacob will be the father of many nations. Jacob will inherit the land. When Jacob awoke he had a marvelous reaction (as I’m sure we would). In verse 17 (NLT) he said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God – the gateway to heaven!” That phrase “house of God” is, in Hebrew, Bethel. Now, this is not the location of the Temple, so “house of God” is just a name here. But let us not miss the moment of worship here. How amazing it is that after Jacob encounters God, he says “This is an awesome place! It must be the house of God!” This is especially impressive after verse 16 (NLT), where Jacob says, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it.” Unfortunately, this is all too often our story. How sad that God is everywhere, and our reaction when we meet him is “… the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it.” Let us, like Jacob, think that any spot God may be is the house of God.
For Monday, we read Genesis 30-33.
The Lord bless you and keep you.