Saturday, January 14, 2006

Jacob And The Ladder

Esau had lost his birthright and his blessing and was very angry with his brother Jacob. He said to himself, and told others, "My father Isaac is very old and cannot live long. As soon as he is dead, then I shall kill Jacob for having robbed me of my right."

When Rebekah heard this, she said to Jacob, "Before it is too late, leave here and get out of Esau's sight. Perhaps when Esau sees you no longer, he will forget his anger, and then you can come home again. Go and visit my brother Laban, your uncle, in Haran, and stay with him for a little while."

Rebekah came from the family of Nahor, Abraham's younger brother, who lived in Haran, a long distance to the northeast of Canaan, and that Laban was Rebekah's brother.

Jacob left carrying his staff in his hand. One evening, just about sunset, he came to a place among the mountains, more than sixty miles from his home. He had no bed to lie down upon, so he took a stone and rested his head upon it for a pillow, and lay down to sleep.

He had a wonderful dream. In his dream he saw stairs leading from the earth where he lay up to heaven. Angels were going up and coming down upon the stairs.

Above the stairs, he saw the Lord God standing. God said to Jacob, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac your father; and I will be your God, too. The land where you are lying all alone shall belong to you and to your children after you; and your children shall spread abroad over the lands, east and west, and north and south, like the dust of the earth, and in your family all the world shall receive a blessing. And I am with you in your journey, and I will keep you where you are going, and will bring you back to this land. I will never leave you, and I will surely keep my promise to you."

In the morning Jacob awakened from his sleep, and said, "Surely, the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it! I thought that I was all alone, but God has been with me. This place is the house of God, it is the gate of heaven!"

Jacob took the stone on which his head had rested, and he set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on it as an offering to God. He named that place Bethel, which in the language that Jacob spoke means "The House of God."

Jacob made a promise to God at that time, and said, "If God really will go with me and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and will bring me to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God: and this stone shall be the house of God, and of all that God gives me I will give back to God one-tenth as an offering."

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