TEXT: Genesis 28:10-22
10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
20 And Jacob vowed 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 raiment to put on,
21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:
22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
— PRAYER —
How to Hope: Lessons from the Israelites and Their Messianic Expectation, Part 11
Daniel Hyde said, “The eternal God who is not constrained by the existence of time, the infinite God who is not bound by the constraints of space condescended to the weakness of His people and became manifest for their benefit in one locale. This God is not bound by time, but He bound Himself to the time-bound experience of His people. He is above all creational constraints, but He bound Himself to them. He is everywhere, but He was there.”
Last week, we looked at the experience of Jacob and his first real encounter with the God of his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham. It’s important to point out that, while we today speak of the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” collectively, each of these Hebrew patriarchs had to get to know God for themselves. Jacob, alone and on the run, first hears from God in the form of a dream: a ladder reaches from earth to heaven; the “Lord” (whom many believe to be the pre-incarnate Christ) is at the top of the ladder; and the angels are ascending and descending.
You might be familiar with the slave spiritual, “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder.” The first stanza says: “We are (we are) / Climbing (climbing) / Jacob’s ladder / Soldier (soldier) / of the cross.” Well, the song is theologically incorrect. As we saw last week, this ladder between earth and heaven is so that God can come down, not so man can climb up. The Tower of Babel, man’s attempt to build and climb a ladder to heaven, was a failure because it was rooted in humanistic pride. And every attempt of man to climb up to God since then has likewise failed.
Jacob’s ladder is a foreshadowing of God sending His Son, Jesus Christ, down to man to save and bless the human race. When Jacob awakes from his dream, he knows immediately that the Lord has spoken to him. He says, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” Today, we are going to look at Jacob’s reaction to the Lord’s presence. There are three specific ways in which we ought to follow Jacob’s example as we wait for the Lord’s Second Coming.
First, Jacob made a place for God and we ought to make a place for God as well. He “rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar… and he called the name of that place Bethel.” The word Bethel means “house of God.” Jacob made room for God in his life. Even though he was “afraid” of what the Lord’s presence might mean, he recognized the significance of it in light of the promise that God had made to him and to his father.
The setting up of a stone or pillar of remembrance was a common practice among the people of the ancient near east. It was most often used as a physical reminder of something that happened there, much as we erect monuments at the sites where significant events take place. God also authorized the Hebrew people to make a tabernacle and, later, a Temple for Him — both physical reminders of His presence and place in their lives.
Likewise, we ought to make a place for God in our lives as well. Our place for God, of course, is not physical, but spiritual. God lives within us through the spirit of His Son Jesus Christ. However, through sin and disobedience, we can quench the Spirit and push God out of our lives. Therefore, making a place for God is being deliberate about letting Him reign in our hearts. Jacob could have rejected the Lord’s presence in his life. He could have left Bethel determined never to see it again. But he chose to let God in and let God have a role in his life. And that is what we must do every day as well.
Rick Warren said, “You have to make Jesus the manager of your life. Every morning when you wake up, you have a decision to make: Who’s going to be in charge of your life? Who’s going to be in control — you or God? Who’s going to call the shots — you or God? Every day, moment-by-moment, you are making that decision. When you choose to make yourself the manager of your own life, it causes conflict, confusion, and stress. Let God be God and make Jesus the manager of your life.” Make a place for God.
Now, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, I urge you to trust in Him because He is coming again and you do not want to be left behind. Here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and the consequences of sin.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.