Jacob and His Dream
Some years ago I remember taking part in a flower festival in this church.
After some times seeking the Lord as to what he would have me do for a design, it became clear that my subject would be Jacob and his dream. I certainly enjoyed designing it!
Stanley Hopner had the perfect old wooden ladder in his garage, someone lent me the gorgeous white lacy net for the heavenly ethereal part, I found the right shaped stone for the pillow and Margaret Hewson and I made the angels! I was very pleased with the way it turned out.
This passage in Genesis 28 has always been special to me, so when I saw it was one of the set passages for today's service I was sure this was what I would be teaching on, especially as someone had put a copy of a hymn through my door 'As Jacob was weary with travel one day'. On top of that Joanna had already chosen that same hymn for our service today,
so I believe the Lord wants to teach us something from these scriptures.
So Lord, have Your way.
Open the eyes of our heart
reveal Your truth to us please.
Holy Spirit we invite You to minister to us and glorify Your name.
Jacobs life story takes over half of the book of Genesis.
He was the twin son of Isaac, who married Rebekah.
She seemed to be having a very difficult pregnancy, so much so that she asked God what was going on inside her. We are told that the children fought with each other in the womb affecting Rebekah so much that she didn't want to go on living!
Adonai, that is God, told her there were two babies in her womb and from birth they would be rivals.
What she was experiencing in her pregnancy would continue.
Not something you would really want to hear! It seems that life wouldn't be easy for that family.
(Interesting isn't it that babies can have trouble in the womb before they are born?)
Rebekah knew that Jacob would be the stronger leader over the first born son Esau, even though Esau came out first, followed by Jacob, or Yaakov, holding on tightly to his brother, Esau's heel, clinging on for dear life, making sure he came out of that womb
(hence his name Yaakov, meaning 'he'll catch you by the heel' - he supplants, he takes over).
Rebekah of course knew this. Adonai (God) had already told her so she was prepared.
Jacob desired the birth-right belonging to his first born twin brother and got it by giving Esau some of his homemade lentil stew!
It shows how little Esau valued it, for worldly, material things came well before his valued birth-right.
Esau also lost out on his father's blessing - a manipulative, scheming Rebekah persuaded her favourite son Yaakov, that is Jacob, to dress up as Esau and deceive their father Isaac,
so he could get his father's blessing.
This caused Jacob to leave the family home and go to his corrupt uncle's home in Haran
as Esau was full of hatred for his brother.
Behind hatred is a spirit of murder and this was Esau's intention.
So Rebekah again intervened and told her special, favourite son to go to his uncle
and stay there until Esau calmed down.
So Yaakov set off on his long journey with mixed emotions, delighted no doubt to receive those wonderful blessings from his father Isaac, but greatly saddened, secretly, regarding the relationship with his brother. He went out, left his home, not knowing when he would return and when he would see his mother and his family and friends again.
He journeyed on till he came to 'a certain place' where he spent the night.
He was about 63 years old now.
This is where Yaakov met Adonai his God.
Maqom is one of the names for God and it means 'place'.
God had Jacob in that 'certain place' where he would meet with God.
God had engineered all of this for His purposes.
Jacob was afraid of his brother, but God was teaching him not to fear man,
but to reverently fear God, respect and be in awe of Him.
God was working His purposes out for His son Yaakov, Jacob.
According to the Hebrew this sunset was a very different setting,
it was very very dark and Jacob took up twelve stones to be based around his head for his pillows, representing the twelve tribes of Israel and in the morning they would come together as one,
looking to the future one people group, the Jewish nation.
Weary from his personal exile from his family, he fell asleep and God gave him a dream.
A ladder came from the heavens down to the Earth and God's angels were going up-and-down on it. And there is God, Adonai, standing around him and over him.
Jacob had to learn that God is everywhere and always close to His people.
God spoke to Yaakov confirming the covenant He made with Abraham, Jacob's grandfather and Isaac his father. God would bless and increase the Jewish nation, Israel
and will be with Jacob fulfilling His plans through him, His precious son.
This man will have problems and will have to work through them
but Adonai will always be with him and that's the same for us too.
It is believed the ladder is a metaphor for prayer - a voice for prayer,
our prayers going up-and-down the ladder to heaven.
The angels didn't fly up and down the ladder,
they went up a step at a time to show Jacob it would be possible for him to do this journey.
Coming to faith is a journey,
forming that relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a journey,
a journey of faith, trust and hope.
We may fall, go down a rung, but we take with us what we've learnt and we continue upwards.
It's important to be on the ladder and to progress,
not stay still and not fall away allowing deception in.
We move upwards step by step, journeying to heaven. It's how we end the journey that is vital.
We must be journeying in the right direction towards heaven, always wanting more of God.
Always pursuing His kingdom
and stripping ourselves more and more from this world and its ruler satan
( you'll find that in Genesis 12 verses 1 and 2)
When Jacob woke, he began to understand that God isn't just in one place.
Then he became afraid, realising just how big and awesome Adonai is
and that Jacob had actually met with this omnipotent, omnipresent holy God.
" This place is fearsome, it has to be the house of God" he said
and he took the stone he had for his pillow and set it up as an altar, pouring oil on it and naming it Bethel, the house of God, the place where God first revealed Himself to Jacob.
"I am with you as long as you are climbing this ladder. I will not leave you. You are capable of reaching great heights if you live a holy, set apart, life.'
This promise is for all truly born again believers,
but it seems not all who call themselves Christians will reach the top of the ladder, heaven.
Matthew, chapter 13 gives us an end of this age parable,
the wheat and the darnel, growing together in the field.
Wheat and weeds, tares, darnel - the latter being the devil's work.
Darnel is a poisonous plant and difficult to tell from the wheat.
According to Hebrew understanding it's not a different plant,
but a degenerate form of it, twisted by the enemy. It had changed.
It shouldn't have been sown in the same field as the pure wheat
according to Leviticus 19 verse 19.
"Don't sow your field with two different forms of grain."
This is a work of our enemy. We need to keep close to God and not get mixed up with worldly ways.
We need to ask for godly wisdom and discernment
so we don't get drawn away with the weeds which would be gathered by the angels
at the end of this age and burnt.
It's interesting that they gather up all those in sin and all who lead others astray.
All people who are far from the Torah, that is the first five books of The Bible.
(in other words going against God and his word, which is lawlessness).
Just as life is a bit different now due to the virus
it will be very different under a Jewish leader, Messiah,
who will rule the world from His throne in Jerusalem,
so I believe it would be very wise to get a taste of the Jewishness now
so we will adapt better if we make it to heaven and join