Key Verse: At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. Genesis 28:13
As we continue in Jesus family tree, we arrive at Jacob. Jacob ran from his brother and his problems, problems he himself has created. Finally, as he is on the run, the night comes and he falls asleep. There is a rock for a pillow under his head and above his head the open heavens. As he is asleep, God reveals himself to Jacob. In his dream, there is what appears to be a large ladder, or staircase of light, the top of which reaches to heaven and the very throne of God. God reveals himself, and promises Jacob that he will inherit the promises which God had made to his father and his father before him. The Lord repeats those promises to him personally saying, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth… All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15).
Jacob calls the place “Bethel,” which in Hebrew means ‘House of God.’ This special place seems to him to be the very dwelling place of the Lord. Jacob met God. He wasn’t expecting to meet him. He wasn’t even thinking of God. It was purely grace. Meeting God was probably the last thing on his mind. He was only thinking of getting away from his brother. His mind was full of thoughts about where he was going and what was ahead of him. But God broke into Jacob’s self-absorbed world in a dramatic way. God opened his world to Jacob, even when Jacob had closed his world to God.
This whole incident shows us something very important about God. Isaiah the prophet quotes God as saying, “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I’” (Isaiah 65:1). God is full of surprises. Just when you do not expect to meet him, he comes to you. God can interrupt our self-centered lives in the most amazing ways, even if you are not wanting him to hear from him.