Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 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.”
Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 28:10-17, the familiar story of Jacob’s ladder. Think of yourself in Jacob’s shoes for a minute. He had just been forced to leave his home and had been traveling for days on foot in a blistering desert. He stopped to rest, not because he was tired, but because the sun had set, quite a feat by today’s standards. After all that he gets to sleep on a rock--that sounds like fun!
Now comes the meat of the story. As Jacob sleeps, he dreams of a “stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” At the top of the staircase was God. God introduced himself the same way that he does to Moses; I AM the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. He promises to give Jacob all of the land around him; a promise fulfilled almost 400 years later. God also promised him that his descendants would be like “the dust of the earth,” as he did for many of the other men in the bloodline of Abraham. Finally, God promised the same thing he promises to all of us; I will be with you always.
When Jacob wakes up, he is awed by what he just saw. , “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” What would you have done if God spoke to you in a dream? Today God may not speak to His people in a dream as dramatic as Jacob’s but He still speaks. Sometimes it is in the through His creation; sometimes it is through serving others; and sometimes it is that quiet voice in our hearts and minds which call us closer to Him.
Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Prayer for blessing on the Word - Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis