Back to our story of Jacob – he’s on the run from Esau’s anger. His parents sent him to Rebekah’s brother, Laban, for safety and to hopefully find a wife who was not “bitter.” At the same time, Esau married another woman, this time a Canaanite. Instead of learning from his mistakes, he was repeating them.
So Jacob was on the 600 mile journey back to the land Abraham originally left in obedience to God. But instead of having a caravan of riches like Abraham’s servant had when he made the trip to find a wife for Isaac, Jacob was alone. His deception of Esau had cost him everything.
Can you picture Jacob, alone and cold, with only a stone for a pillow? A cold, hard stone. He must have been so very tired to be able to sleep.
And then, Jacob has his own personal experience with God.
Up to this time, God has spoken to Abraham and Isaac and told them they would become a great nation. He had spoken to Rebekah, telling her about her children. They probably told Jacob of their encounters, but we don’t have any recorded conversations of God to Jacob.
12 And he dreamed, and behold,
there was a ladder set up on the earth,
and the top of it reached to heaven.
And behold, the angels of God
were ascending and descending on it!
And behold, the Lord stood above it and said,
“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father
and the God of Isaac.
The land on which you lie I will give to you
and to your offspring.
Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth,
and you shall spread abroad to the west
and to the east and to the north and to the south,
and in you and your offspring shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go,
and will bring you back to this land.
For I will not leave you until I have done
what I have promised you.”
Jacob was a changed man!
He was filled with the awe and fear of the Lord: “He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ “
And he responded with a vow: “‘If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.”
And he backed the vow with actions: “and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”
Jacob was no longer obeying his mother, trying to trick his father, or stealing from his brother. He was no longer alone. For the first time, he had his own relationship with God!
I remember when I first began a relationship with God. I had felt him wooing my heart, asking me to respond. I had to let go of all of my “self” in order to take hold of him. I was in awe of his love, fearful of his might. I vowed to trust him for my future, whatever that would mean. And I followed it up with actions that demonstrated my faith.
And I was no longer alone. I had Jesus, God, with me. He promised to be with me, and I believed.
And I was a changed woman!