Collect: “Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
‘Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him 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; and 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 all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that 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.” Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” And 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.”
So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first.’
In this passage we read about Jacob’s dream of a ladder reaching up to heaven. The angels of God were ascending and descending on it. Jacob had just stolen Esau’s blessing, and had earlier taken his birthright also. Now, after all the deceits, God appears to Jacob and speaks to him, promising that the land on which he lies will be given to him and his offspring, and that he would be with him wherever he went and would bring Jacob back to that land.
What I find so significant is that after all Jacob had done, God makes these incredible promises to him. He will be the one to carry on the promise first made to Abraham. He didn’t deserve all this, but the thing is neither do we. God came and met Jacob where he was. Jacob wasn’t looking for God, but God came looking for Jacob. We don’t seek for God either. We are all corrupted and have sin that weighs us down, or that sends us out far away from home. God, however, comes and promises to be with us, and to bring us back home. This reminds me of the verse in Romans 5:8. Jesus died for us while we were still his enemies.
We should be encouraged by this to trust God all the more. He knows who we are, and where we have been. But he loves us anyway.
One other thought that struck me as I was thinking about this passage was that Jacob was the first one since before Abraham to not lie about who his wife was. Both Abraham and Isaac were guilty of that, but that family tradition stopped with Jacob.
Please share your thoughts on this passage as well. I look forward to reading them!
Other passages in this weeks lectionary:
Psalm 139:1-11, 22-23
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
If you have anything you’d like to share on any of these passages, feel free to do so.