Summary: Communicate God’s Peace can be found in family hardships
A fugitive of justice, fleeing the wrath of his brother caused by the greatest trickery of his life. Jacob had missed the right of inheritance by just minutes as he clutched the heel of his brother while escaping his mother’s womb. Yet he was second born and according to the custom of the day was to receive neither the wealthy inheritance nor the spiritual blessing of his father. No doubt the frustration of this lot in life drove a wedge of tension between him and his brother. Certainly it caused Jacob sleepless nights and depressed days. The totality of his existence and the heights of his accomplishments were overshadowed by the failure of his birth.
Yet there was a deviousness to Jacob’s character that would not allow him to settle for such a plot in life. An ambition that seeked to grasp his father’s wealth and the familial spiritual blessing even at the harm of his elder brother. He had wrestled Esau in Rebekah’s womb and would continue to wrestle him to the ground until he used his brother’s hunger to pile-drive his birthright away from him. Jacob honed in on the opportune time to slickly take Esau’s birthright from him. The birthright was the physical inheritance of Isaac. Jacob had received the oath from Esau and now he stood in line to be bequeathed the flocks, herds, land, wells, servants, homes, clothing and prosperity from his father Isaac that had belonged to Abraham.
However, the right to the physical possessions were not enough for this opportunist and deceiver. Far greater than possessions in this lifetime was to impact history. Rebekah had enquired of the Lord during her pregnancy and had revelation that there were two nations in her womb. One nation would be servant to the other; one would receive the Abrahamic blessing as did Isaac and the other would join the "other peoples" as did Ishmael. It was this blessing for which Jacob longed. And Jacob, co-conspiring with his mother, pulled off notorious trickery to receive it. They had dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothes, covered him with hair like Esau, and lied to Isaac in order to receive "God’s blessing."
Their deception was successful both in attaining the blessing and outraging Esau. Jacob now stood in line, as Rebekah had heard from the Lord before his birth, to inherit the blessing of Abraham. Esau, the red-hair hunter, was so furious that he planned to un-bless Jacob as soon as Isaac died and slay his brother. Esau spoke his premeditation to murder openly so that his vengeance became known to Jacob and Rebekah. Jacob is forced to flee his physical inheritance in order to maintain his spiritual blessing. It is in this flight that our passage occurs. Just hours after the greatest deceit of his life, Jacob becomes weary in his escape and finds a rock on which to rest his head and quickly goes to sleep.
I. God’s Election of the Sinful
A. Jacob had been chosen before his birth
B. Jacob had been blessed despite his depravity
C. Jacob had been visited with Promised rather than destroyed as consequence
II. While running from Sin, God found Jacob
A. Jacob was a fugitive seeking escape
B. God was a shepherd finding lost sheep
1. We do not find God, we do not know where to look
2. Since God’s call to Adam in the Garden "Where art thou," God has been finding man who can’t find Him
3. Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost
C. Power of God’s grace is that He captured us—not that we sought, discovered & attained Him
D. Jacob may have thought his journey was not spiritual, but he had received the BLESSING of Abraham and now the mundane task of sleeping became a holy visitation
III. Jacob laid his head upon a rock under (Luz) an almond tree
A. Rock is Christ Jesus
B. Almonds are spiritual fruit (remember Aaron’s rod budded and yielded almonds as testimony of his chosenness)
C. Jacob saw a ladder with angels ascending and descending on it
D. Jesus told Nathanael that he would see "heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man"
E. Jesus is the ladder that Jacob saw
F. Jacob saw the Lord standing above the ladder and heard the Promise of Abraham not given by Isaac to him, but spoke by God to him
IV. Jacob’s covenant with God
A. He recognized God’s presence -- he thought it was the place, but later found it was God’s abiding presence with him
1. Oh that God’s people would realize it is not the place of "church" where God’s presence dwells but like the hymn says, "He abides, He abides. . ."