By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Having successfully stolen the birthright for himself, Jacob now leaves his family. He is sent by his father to go find a wife but sent by his mother to run far away from Esau’s wrath.
At this time when he would feel utterly alone, despairing, and confused God reveals Himself to Him in an incredible way that would change something in Jacob.
There are three promises God gives to Jacob in this text which Jacob needed to hear at this critical time in his life and which he took to heart.
First, God shows him a stairway to heaven. The Hebrew doesn’t make it clear whether it is stairs, a ladder, or some other way but it is clearly a God provided way to cross the great expanse between God and man.
It wasn’t many chapters ago in Genesis that we read about the tower of Babel when the world united itself in arrogance and rebellion against God in an attempt to make a tower all the way to heaven.
God pronounced a curse upon them that exists to this day. What’s different here? Any man or all of mankind working together can never make a way to God by our own strength, wisdom, or worth.
Only God can firmly place a way to traverse the great chasm between God and man. Jacob doesn’t know what we know, but that way is Jesus. Jesus is the only way sinful man can get to a holy God.
Second, God reiterates a promise that Jacob had likely heard from his father and grandfather’s lives. God will multiply his descendants and give to them all the land around him.
Good land and many offspring provided wealth, security, and power to families of this time and God was once again reiterating His promise to bless the line of Abraham in ways no one could imagine.
God would bless him and make his line a blessing for all the world. We know that this is another reference to the Messiah who would come from this family line and be a promised blessing to all peoples.
Jacob was blessed to become a blessing and so are we.
Whatever blessings He gives us aren’t meant to stop with us but flow through us to others.
God blesses us financially and grants us to be blessings to others financially. God gives us spiritual gifts that we can serve others. God reconciles us to Himself and gives us the ministry of reconciliation. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Third, God promises His presence. God tells Jacob He won’t leave him until He finished what He promised.
God makes that same promise to us. He will never leave us and He will always finish the great work He has started in us. Jesus is awesome and, because of His promised presence, we are not alone.