Last week we told the story of Jacob’s trip to visit Laban in search of a wife in Genesis 28: 10-22. Jacob is following his father’s advice regarding where and from whom he should find a wife with the admonishment that he needed to avoid taking a Canaanite woman as a wife. We see in contrast his brother Esau, hearing the same information about Canaanite women and how they displeased his father went immediately to Ishmael, his uncle and added one of his daughters to the wives he already had.
During the trip east as the evening is settling in, Jacob settles down for an evening and places a rock under his head. During his dreams he saw heaven open and a ladder appear that angels ascended and descended. At the head God stood and restated the covenant with Jacob that God had shared with Abraham and Isaac. Involved in this is a promise by God to give the land on which Jacob is resting to him and his offspring who shall be like dust in their numbers and who will be a blessing to all the families of the earth.
When Jacob wakes up he calls the place this happened the house of God and gate to heaven so he takes the stone he used as a pillow and uses it to make a pillar and pours oil over it, naming the area Bethel. Jacob realizes if God be with him, God will provide him with bread and clothing, which should remind anyone reading this of he wandering in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt. We also see a message in the stone being used for the pillar is also described as God’s house foreshadowing Jesus as the cornerstone.
This is a great story. It has the strong ties to the past with Jacob’s dad and grandfather and God’s promises to the family up through the blessing of all the families of the earth, which we see today as gentiles are grafted in as sons of Abraham through the sacrifice of Jesus. This is a great story capturing God’s faithfulness and control of events throughout history.