SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION
A he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heave. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! (Genesis 28:12)
Tn Jacob made a vow, saying, “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, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, 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. (Genesis 28:20-22)
And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. (John 1:51)
The account of Abraham’s descendants is already a bumpy one. Isaac followed in the faith of his father, but he also walked after Abraham’s sins. So far, Jacob and Esau have been less than ideal sons. Their fighting began in their mother’s womb and continued to grow with them. After Esau foolishly sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup, we last saw how Jacob also stole Esau’s blessing. Following Jacob’s deception, Esau was so angry with his brother that he began to actively plot his murder.
Our present text occurs while Jacob is journeying to the homeland of his mother, a significant 500 miles away from home. Along the way, Jacob takes rest for the night and finds himself swept up in a vision of God. He sees a great ladder with the angels ascending and descending upon it. Above the ladder is God, who pronounces the covenantal blessing of Abraham and Isaac upon Jacob. He awakes from the vision awestruck and afraid. The text then concludes with Jacob creating an monument, calling the place Bethel (the house of God), and vowing to serve the LORD.
This is easily one of the most important moments of Jacob’s life. Until now, God spoke to Abraham and Isaac but not to Jacob. He had heard of God but not from God. Now the LORD would not merely be the God of his father and grandfather but his God also. The power of this event is also evident even in its structure. First, God calls to Jacob, promising to bless him, and then Jacob responds to God in worship. That is the pattern for all believers throughout history: God gives grace, and we respond in worship.
Read verses 10-15 and discuss the following.
- God appears to Jacob for the first time through an extraordinary vision. Does God still use visions or similar signs to speak to believers today?
- Jacob’s vision is of angels ascending and descending upon a heavenly ladder while God stands above it. How do Jesus’ words in John 1:51 connect to this vision? Why does Jesus use this imagery for Himself?
Read verses 16-22 and discuss the following.
- Even after receiving tremendous promises of blessings, Jacob still wakes from the vision afraid, which displays a fear of the LORD in him. What is the fear of the LORD, and why is it important for followers of Christ?
- Jacob worshipfully responds to God’s gracious blessings by vowing to serve the LORD and give Him a tenth of his possessions. In what ways do you live a worshipful life daily in response to believing the gospel?
ACTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Obey. Consider the actions of worship that Jacob takes in response to God’s blessings. Do you similarly worship God with your life and finances? Ask the LORD to guide you into sacrificial giving.
- Pray. Though Jacob received a stunning vision, we have in the Bible the full Word of God; therefore, give thanks to God for His revelation in the Scriptures.