Summary: Jacob had lived on his father and mother's faith. Forlorn and alone, he's ready to meet the God of his fathers. This encounter became the guiding light of his life, and he returned with his family to it much later. We all must have our Bethel experience!
JACOB’S NIGHT AT THE "HARDROCK HOTEL"
1. Five-year-old Mo was amazed by his grandfather's false teeth. He watched as Gramps removed his dentures, washed them, and put them back in. Mo asked to see it done again and again. "Okay," said the grandfather, humoring the child. "Anything else?" "Yeah," said the child. "Now take off your nose!"
2. DISCUSSION: DESCRIBE THE WORST HOTEL/ MOTEL YOU’VE EVER STAYED IN. Angela and I stayed in one in Arkansas that had about 50 crickets in the room. We arrived late and I couldn’t possibly sleep with 50 crickets loudly chirping. So I ended up staying up half the night crawling around the room listening, until I had caught all 50 crickets. (There’s also the story of the one in Florida with the big wet spot in the middle of the bed, or the one without door locks and the lights kept going out)!
3. We’re going to read about a guy who had an especially hard bed when he stayed at the Hardrock Hotel.
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11 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. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." 17 He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven."
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will
watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."
1. We all know that Jacob was a rascal sometimes.
2. Human nature is one thing that is difficult to change. But we're going to see how Jacob began a journey where God eventually changed him.
3. The title of this message is “JACOB’S NIGHT AT THE HARDROCK HOTEL.”
I. JACOB’S ENCOUNTER WITH GOD
A. HIS CIRCUMSTANCES
1. HERE WAS A MAN:
a. Not favored by his father.
b. Fleeing as a fugitive from his brother.
c. Alone, despondent, homesick.
d. No money and no friends.
2. Jacob was probably at the lowest place of his life – he had a stone for a pillow, ground for his bed, and stars for a roof. But he has a dream from God! It’s a fact that it takes some sort of crisis for most people to turn to God. Sooner or later, God will bring self-sufficient people to the place where they have no resource but Him.
3. A despairing man came to his pastor and confessed, "My life is really in bad shape." "How bad?" said the pastor. Burying his head in his hands, the man moaned, "I'll tell you how bad -- all I've got left is God!" The pastor's face lit up, and he said, "Finally! Now all you’ve got left is the greatest power in the universe!”
4. God is the God of those who are oppressed, downtrodden, and the underdogs. You can be sure that whatever your social or religious station, God hears your prayers.
B. JACOB ANALOGOUS OF CHRISTIANS
1. Jacob is a picture of the Christian believer. Up until this time, Jacob has had faith in the God of his father and mother, but not developed his own relationship with God. Here are Jacob meets God for the first time and begins his walk with God.