Posted: February 9, 2013 in Genesis, Genesis 28
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All his plans and positioning, all his hopes and expectations, lie in pieces on the ground? His life is bankrupt and his past seems characterised by failure, despite his best intentions. Everything stripped away, a wasteland of worthlessness. An internalised desert. Lonely, afraid and anxious of the future, rejected and feeling sorry for himself. Out here under the expanse of the stars, the universe stretching out before him, Jacob feels so insignificant, unwanted, discouraged, defeated. All his efforts useless. Hopeless. He is helpless, his life a waste, a burden, an irrelevant rock in a wilderness of boulders.

Blessed by God with the rulership of his family, yet it is Jacob who is forced into exile; Esau who forfeits the blessing of God is left in the possession of everything! He is given free opportunity of leadership without a rival! It makes no sense!

He is following the trail of his grandfather Abraham. His father told him about the altar Abraham built at this site (Genesis 12:8), and Jacob deliberately finds it and chooses to stay here for the night. Perhaps God will protect him from Esau if he follows in the footsteps of Abraham. He sleeps on the altar that night with his head resting on one of the stones, like a living sacrifice. His father once lay precariously on an altar with his life in God’s hands. Alone in the wilderness of his own making, he is in a good place to hear God speak. God chose to bless Abraham here, and as Jacob sleeps, all other blessings and birthrights gained by deceptive means recede, as God speaks in His righteousness with the blessing He originally intended. Strange that it is often a wilderness that is the perfect place in which to hear God speak.

There is intense interest in heaven on this night about what is taking place on earth. In a dream, it seems as if the stones of the altar are being crafted by a master builder into a stairway, step upon step. Multitudes of angels move up and down on a stairway in the wilderness; toward Jacob and back again, “… mighty ones who carry out God’s plans, listening to His Word” (Psalms 103:20). “…servant spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Jacob is aware that his sin has separated him from his family and from being able to appropriate the blessings he had obtained by stealth. He needs a mediator to bridge the distance between him and God.

At the top of the stairway stands the Lord, and He says, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac.” (Genesis 28:13 NLT). Below stands Jacob. And even though Jacob is in a situation where he is feeling lost and lonely, regretting his past and afraid of the future, God reminds him that in the past He has been in relationship with his grandfather Abraham, and his father Isaac. He will also be with Jacob concerning his future. He says “Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:14,15 NLT)

He still offers such an invitation and promise. I hear His words when I am discouraged, lonely or a little apprehensive about my future; the still small voice of God saying “I am with you. I will never leave you or forsake you. You are blessed to be a blessing”.

The dream gives a picture of the reality. A bridge spanning the gulf between us and God. Years later this stairway is personified in Jesus Christ, the only way from earth to heaven, the one Mediator between man and God. 1 Timothy 2:5 (NLT) says “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.”

Jesus says in John 1:51 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the One who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

Without Christ I am earthbound. God, majestic, high and lifted up, unlimited, almighty, beckons me to connect with Him. Bringing heaven to earth, Jesus says “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NLT).

Awestruck by this dream, Jacob responds, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” But he is also afraid and says, “What an awesome place this is! …the very gateway to heaven!” (Genesis 28:16-17).

And His invitation still reverberates in the rocky places and wildernesses of the hearts of countless souls through the ages to this day, this moment, as on the altar we are left with nothing but a dream and a promise. There before us the very gateway to heaven opens.

Pastor Ross

“If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For He will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras. You will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!” (You will do the impossible!) “The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them. I will reward them with a long life and give them My salvation.’” (Psalms 91:9-16 NLT)

If this article has resonated with you, would you please pass it forward to those whose lives you think may also be touched by Words of Life. Thanks and may God bless you.

  1. Thank you for this wonderful devotion. May we never lose sight of our Solid Rock – His grace and mercy. The first paragraph is very intense and describes a place of hopelessness which we all frequent at times. Praise God that He washes our tears with the dew of His cleansing Word and fills us with hope.


  2. […] Genesis 28:10-22 – WHEN ALL YOU HAVE LEFT IS A DREAM […]


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