So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. 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. (Genesis 28:11)
Dear People Who Keep Company with God,
While Jacob slept, he had one of the most famous dreams in the Bible. Genesis 28:12-13 tells us, “He had a dream in which he saw a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the LORD stood above it.” Just think about that. Jacob was on earth, God was in heaven, and a ladder filled with angels was between them. And after he sees the Lord, the Lord speaks to Jacob and gives him promises, guidance, and confidence for the future. When Jacob wakes from his sleep, he says “Surely, the Lord is here, in this place and I didn’t know it” (Genesis 28:16). Days earlier, Jacob had to hastily leave his home and family. He had cheated his older brother Esau out of both the birthright and blessing, which were ordinarily conferred on the oldest son. Jacob now would receive a double portion of the inheritance from his father and would become the leader of the family. Esau was furious and threatened to kill Jacob. Jacob’s mother Rachel sent him to his uncle Laban’s to protect him from the wrath of Esau and hopefully to find a wife amongst their relatives. Suddenly, there was an uncertain future waiting for Jacob.
This story reveals some wisdom for us when we find ourselves in uncertain and changing times. When Jacob lies down, he is resting. When things are shifting and transitioning, rest is especially vital. Resting means to quiet yourself, be still. It can be physical, but more importantly, it is an inward act, in your thoughts and emotions. You have to get still to hear His voice above the feelings, opinions, and fear that are shouting at you. Psalm 46:10 declares, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Jacob stilled himself, closed his eyes to this world and in that place of rest his eyes to the spiritual world opened. He used a rock as his pillar. He rested his head upon a rock. Jesus Christ is our rock. When you lay your head upon Him, it’s laying down your reason, opinions, and emotions. It is trusting His mind. You can lay your head upon Jesus by, “Setting your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossian 3:2). And as Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, by “offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude” (Philippians 4:6-9). When you do this, His incredible peace that surpasses human understanding will enable you to rise above and see and hear God.
The highest wonder of this story is that In the New Testament, Jacob’s ladder is not a what, but a Who. In the gospel of John, Jesus reveals that He is Jacob’s ladder (John 1:51). When God appeared to Jacob at Bethel, He was at the top of the ladder and Jacob was at the bottom. When the Lamb of God came to Galilee, Jesus was at the bottom of the ladder. In the New Covenant, God in the person of Jesus Christ has come down the ladder to join us on earth. When Christ ascended back to heaven, the Father gave us His Spirit. You are never alone. Even in your most tumultuous and uncertain times, God is nearer to you than you think. And His angels are always watching over you, protecting and bringing help and messages from heaven. Whenever you go the ladder, the Lord Himself goes with you. And heaven forever remains opened to you.
Many Blessings, BW