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GENESIS 28:5

"And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother."

In chapter 27, Rebekah talked Isaac into sending Jacob to her brother's house so he would not marry a Canaanite woman; at least that is the excuse for sending him away that she gave to Jacob. The real reason was to get him away from his brother, Esau, who was plotting to kill him. Although Jacob had deceived his father into giving him his brother's rightful blessing of the first born, Isaac still called him in and blessed him again before sending him away. Jacob must have had a winsome personality. That, coupled with the protection and blessings of God, caused him to prosper wherever he went.

When Esau saw his brother being sent off to Haran to get a wife, He realized that his parents were not pleased with his marriages so he decided to marry a daughter of Ishmael. He didn't realize, though, that even though Ishmael was Abraham's son, God had separated him from the house of Abraham.

GENESIS 28:12-13

"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. 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;"

In verses 10 through 22 we find one of the best loved passages in the Bible and certainly one of the most "painted" stories. When Jacob had traveled about 50 miles toward his destination, he reached Luz, or Bethel. He spent the night there and had a dream. In his dream, a ladder extended all the way to heaven and God was at the top. God told Jacob in the dream that He was the God of his father and grandfather. He said He would give him and his decendants all the land of Canaan and that his seed would be as the dust of the earth in multitude. The same promises were given to Abraham earlier. He said He would not leave Jacob and would bring him back home again eventually.

When Jacob woke up, he was very shaken and afraid. He said that he had not realized God was in this place. He then took the stone he had used for a pillow and poured oil on it. He named the place Bethel, meaning "house of God". He further promised God that if He would be with him as He promised that he would follow Him and give him a tenth of all he was prospered.

Jacob was not a young man here, although he had never been married. Counting backward from when his son Joseph stood before Pharoah at age 30 and when Jacob was presented to Pharoah at age 130, Jacob was probably in his seventies when he left home. Yet this seems to be his first, first-hand encounter with God and it is very important because it sets the tone for their whole relationship in the coming years.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

  • Why do you think God chose Jacob over Esau to receive the covenant promises?
  • Do you think God still appears to us in dreams today? Why or Why not.
  • Have you ever had a dream about heaven or has God ever told you something in a dream? Please explain.


Thank you so much for doing the Bible Study with us this week. I hope you enjoyed your visit. I am looking forward to hearing your answers to the questions this week. Please feel free to e-mail me, post on the message board or write your comments in my guestbook so everyone can see what you think!

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