Summary: Looking at the encounter that Jacob had with God at Bethel. Unpacking that story and looking at principles to apply into our lives.

These are my raw sermon notes for the first sermon in the series The Wisdom and Power of Ancient Stories – first story is Jacob’s Ladder found in Genesis 28. The context of the story is that Jacob has just tricked his older twin brother out of the birth right blessing and Esau now is seething mad and out to kill Jacob.

The bible records

Gen 27:41

41 So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

So Jacob’s mother packs him off to go to her brother’s house “for a few days” which turns out to be 14 years.

From a commentary

“It may not have been his choice to leave home. He may have preferred to stay home with his mother. If he doesn’t go he is a dead man. This leaves me with the feeling that Jacob’s mind and emotions are swirling like a newly disturbed beehive. He feels uprooted. His comfort zone has definitely been invaded. His future is uncertain. He may have scores of questions with no answers. This could make for a very restless night. It could be a night of tossing and turning even if he could lay his weary body and raw emotions on the softest pillow. It was not to be. Instead, he lays his head on a rock.”

So he leaves Beesheba and heads toward Haran – Haran was the place where Abraham;’s Father Terah stopped on his journey to the promise land in Gen 11

Jacob had travelled about 80 km’s of the 650km trip to Haran

I did some research and found out the generally horses can travel about 50 kms a day

Out of interest

The Tevis cup is a 100-mile-in-one-day competition which goes over some quite rugged and mountainous trail terrain in the western states of USA… but they do it on very special Arab horses, with little or no baggage and even the winning times are usually around 17 hours

Jacob – being from the middle east – was on an Arabian horse.

As evening of the first day falls, Jacob finds himself near the city of Luz. He knows the city gates will close at sundown therefore he is content to spend the night in the open field, “and he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep” (vs. 10 NKJV).

Genesis 28:10-22

Its clear to see that Jacob feared for his life.

Most scholars interpret Jacob’s ladder as a connection between heaven and earth, with God taking the initiative to reach out to man. The perfect “ladder” is Jesus Christ, who was God come to earth to save humanity. Jesus refers to himself as this ladder in John 1:51: “And he (Jesus) said to him, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'”

Here are some points from the story

1) He took a stone from that place – and it became touch point for the supernatural V 11

In THAT PLACE you desire comfort but comfort is denied. But there are plenty of rocks.

In THAT PLACE you desire companionship but companionship is denied. Still, there are plenty of rocks.

In THAT PLACE you could use a friendly voice, an understanding voice, but friendly and understanding do not exist here. Rocks exist here, and plenty of them.

The hard times of our life can be amazing touch points for the supernatural

It’s amazing that in that hard place – he meets God

God is near to those with a broken heart

Gen 35:3 – Jacob describes this event – as the day of his distress

Ps 34:18

18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;

he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

If you are going through a hard time, know that God is near you. I have found that in the hard times, this is where I most meet God.

2) He lay his head on a rock

The Rock speaks of Christ

Ps. 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Speaks of changing your thinking

See when our heart is overwhelmed because things are going wrong in our world, we need to not let our emotions make decision, but rather get our thinking right by aligning it with the word of God.

Romans 12:2 NKJ

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

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