Jan 22 (Daily reading: Genesis 30-31) I write today about Jacob’s first dream, from yesterday’s reading (Genesis 28:10-22). Jacob was in a state of uncertainty, going to a place where he had never been, and also some fear, not certain if Esau would follow him to get revenge. There also could have been some feelings of regret, after deceiving his father, cheating his brother and being forced to leave his mother, with whom he was very close. The Bible does not say exactly when Rebekah died, but there is a good possibility that Jacob never saw his mother again.
It would have therefore been an emotional and unsettling time when Jacob took flight. How comforting it must have been when God appeared to him in a dream and said, “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.” His dream also included a ladder that reached up to heaven, and angels were going up and coming down on it. This indicated access to God, and in Jesus’s words to Nathaniel, he stated that He Himself was the ladder by which heaven would be accessible: “You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (Jn. 1:51).
This makes me want to join Jacob in declaring how awesome God is: “This place is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” The stone that had been his pillow became an altar. “Then he named that place Bethel” (house of God). At any place and at any time when God reveals Himself to us, that is Bethel, where God personally meets with us!