Summary: The ancients understood that the world of dreams opens a channel of communication between mankind and the spiritual world, and opens sleepers to a different realm from the one they manage during the day.
The ancients understood that the world of dreams opens a channel of communication between mankind and the spiritual world, and opens sleepers to a different realm from the one they manage during the day. The ancients dared to imagine, moreover, that this mysterious communication is one venue in which God's messages come to us. They knew too that this kind of communication is not obvious. It requires interpretation.
Today we are going to learn about one of the most remarkable dreams in the Holy Scripture. Jacob's Dream changed the course of his life and established a foundation for future generations of worshipers.
Genesis 28:10-22 (ESV)
10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it." 17 And he was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." 18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you."
This dream happens after Jacob has duped his older brother and is going to Canaan to find a bride. s. But he must stop to sleep. This is a very dangerous situation since he could be attacked during the night and he is in a an extremely vulnerable situation.
Jacob dreams with angels coming and going, dreams of messengers and promise-makers. He hears God's voice of promise. The same God who is rooted in his family promised land. This holy voice of the night also promises to be with him and and to bring him safely home.
As we read this description of the events that happened we can divide them in different parts.
1. Preparation for sleeping
2. The Dream
3. The Interpretation
4. The Life-changing vow (The promise)
This dream requires a total re-description of Jacob's life defined by God's promise. The place of his sleep is converted into a place of worship, a landmark and a place of a new beginning.
In this place Jacob pledges to be allied with the God of promise, a promise that entails accepting himself' as a carrier of the blessings send by God and to come over the earth and its families. Quite concretely, Jacob promises to tithe (v. 22). When he awakes, the whole world is different because of this dream. Dreams can change our destiny and the world around us!
Today we are not going to analyze or interpret Jacob's dream but I would like to focus on the aspects that may help us to be more sensitive to Godly dreams and to become aware of God's voice during the night.
1. Preparation for sleeping
Genesis 28:10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.