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Jacob's Dream

ArticleSeptember 17, 2017Genesis 27:1–4, 15–23; 28:10–17

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    I’m on the run. I’ve messed up. Mother told me that I need to go and seek refuge with my uncle Laban.

    My brother is trying to kill me and it’s getting dark. I’m still a month’s journey away from reaching my uncle up in Harran and I have to travel through all of this hill country. I can’t believe what I’ve gotten myself into. I wanted my father’s inheritance and blessing and now my desire may have cost me my life.

    I don’t even have a place to lay my head now.

    I’ve stopped for the night and I’m exhausted. So exhausted that I’m going to pull up a rock to lay my head on and try to get some sleep for the night. As I try and doze off my mind is racing. Will my brother Esau forgive me? Will I never see my father again? Will me tricking my father really be his last memory of me as he grows old? I can’t believe my twin brother is going to kill me.

    What have I done?

    Was it really worth it?

    Growing too tired and too dark to even think, Jacob dozes off, but not in peaceful slumber. He begins dreaming and the God of Abraham, the God of his father Isaac appears to him.

    I’m deep in a dream and I see the strangest thing. A stairway resting on the earth and extending to heaven. Yahweh’s angels are going up and down the stairs but I don’t really know why. Angels have wings. Why don’t they just fly? Why do they keep walking up and down the stairs?

    And then Yahweh speaks and I’m shocked by all of it. I’m shocked by what Yahweh says. I’m in the middle of my own mess and Yahweh plucks me out of it. I’ve stolen a blessing I don’t deserve and the God of my fathers blesses me anyway. What sort of God is this?

    Yahweh tells me that my descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth. That they’ll spread as far as the east is from the west and as far as the north is from the south. He is giving us the land, the very land I’m laying my head on right now. He tells me that all of the people of the earth will be blessed through my offspring. Divine blessing and inheritance that I don’t deserve.

    I wake up calm and collected. I’m a far cry away from the state of mind I was in last night and I’m so thankful for that. Yahweh is a God who blesses despite our own actions. He truly is a God unlike the others. A God who want’s to bless all the people of the earth.

    Generation after generation would pass until Jesus the Messiah would arrive in the flesh. He would speak of himself as the ladder in Jacob’s dream, the one connecting heaven and earth, the one connecting Yahweh and people (John 1:50–51).


    Why did people find this important to write down? God made a promise to Abraham that he would bless the world through Abraham’s descendants. Even in Jacob going off course, God stays on course, staying faithful to his promise.

    Why did this passage endure? It tells a story of a God who continues to bless even when we don’t deserve it. It’s a story about God’s loving kindness and rescue and his faithfulness to these qualities.

    What is it that is true for them then that is true for us now? God want’s to bless people with the presence of heaven, what we now know to be Jesus the Messiah.

    How does this story help me love God better? I serve a God who wants to bless the world. I can love God better by partnering with him on his mission.

    How does this story help me love people better? God has been about people since the very beginning. He wants to see people succeed, even Jacob. I should have a desire to see people succeed, even when I don’t think they necessarily deserve it.


    This is a retelling of Jacob’s Dream based on Genesis 27:1–4, 15–23; 28:10–17 that is for Week 3 of the 2017–2018 Narrative Lectionary.



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