Summary: Just like Jacob we sometimes need to relearn that God is always with us...even when we don’t live as we ought.
If you were to go to sleep and when you woke up in the morning God was standing by your bedside, how would you react?
Please open your Bibles to Gen. 28 as we see this statement exemplified in the life of Jacob.
Gen. 28:10-19 is where we find the story of "Jacob’s Ladder." But before we actually get into this dream that Jacob had, let’s talk a little bit about Jacob.
His name in Hebrew, "Yakob" comes from the Hebrew verb meaning "to take by the heel", "to grab" or "to deceive." He was actually born grabbing or taking holding of what wasn’t his.
That’s all we hear about him until one day, after they are grown, Esau comes back exhausted from a day’s hunting and asks Jacob for some of the lentil stew that smells so good. It’s at this moment that Jacob invents the adage, "there are no free lunches." He barters for his brother’s birthright. He says, “After all, I can’t help I was born 5 minutes later than Esau. I deserve it more than this brother of mine who just chases rabbits all day long.” All the rationalizing Jacob does.
Say what you will about Esau not caring enough about his birthright in that he’s willing to trade it for a full stomach, Jacob never should have tempted Esau like that. He takes advantage of his own brother when he is at his weakest moment.
Like airlines who charge their highest fares of the year during the Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. They know people will need to travel at these times of the year so they take advantage of this fact by raising prices.
Imagine a family member who sees a real legitimate need of yours and then charges you for filling that need! It’s unthinkable in a loving family but that is exactly what Jacob does.
Sometime later in Gen. 27, Jacob’s at it again. He proceeds to deceive his father. Sure, it was his mother’s idea but Jacob is a grown man of 77 at this time. He’s quite old enough to say, "No, mom, I don’t want any part of your schemes."
And so this patriarch in Gen. 27:15 puts on Easu’s clothes for the purpose of deception.
In verse 19 - he lies
In verse 20 - he not only lies but actually makes it much worse by claiming God has helped him.
And vs. 24 - he lies again.
And notice what Esau says about Jacob after he finds out what his brother has done. Verse 36 - "Isn’t he rightly named Jacob?" In other words, as the Living Bible says it, "No wonder they call him, `The Cheater."
Now Esau is raging mad at Jacob and plans to kill him just as soon as dear old dad dies. Jacob is told about Esau’s plot and that brings us to Gen. 28:10.
"Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran." Haran is where his Uncle Laban lives. And I like those words, "set out." How about he took off like a cat covered with Milk-Bone gravy in the middle of a dog pound.
"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."
I guess he must have felt that he had put enough distance between him and Esau. The Bible calls it a desolate place. So desolate and left in such a hurry that he doesn’t even pack everything he needs. So he uses a stone for a pillow.
It must have been a fitful sleep.
- Not knowing if Esau might have followed him.
- Wondering if he would wake in the middle of the night with a spear in his stomach.
- And a stone for a pillow! When he awoke in the morning he must have been sorry he didn’t pack Eleazar’s Amazing Headache Powders.
I can’t help but think of a comment my brother Carmen made during a camping trip we took. After sleeping out in the open in 34 degree weather and a tree root under his back all night he said the next morning, "Now I know what it’s like to wake up 37 times in one night!"
But Jacob’s situation is even worse. Not only does he sleep out in the open, use a stone for a pillow, and have a brother who wants to turn him into a gourmet meal for vultures. But worst of all he goes to sleep with a guilt-laden conscience.
The sleep of a guilt-laden conscience is always fitful.
"He had a dream in which he saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."