Last week, in Parasha Toldot, after Rebecca endured 20 childless years, Isaac prayed for her and she conceived. When the children jostled within her, the Lord told her that two nations were in her womb and the elder (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob).
This week’s Parasha is Vayetze (ויצא), which means and he left. It is the seventh reading in the book of Bereisheet (Genesis).
In Parasha Vayetze, Jacob (Yaacov) leaves his parents’ home in Beersheba. But he does not just leave; he runs for his life from his enraged brother, Esau, who is threatening to kill him after his father, Isaac, dies.
Similar to his grandfather, Abraham, who was called to leave his family and familiar surroundings in order to fulfill his destiny, Jacob leaves behind all the comforts of a warm and loving home—the security of all that is familiar to him—in order to fulfill his destiny as the father of the 12 Tribes of Israel.
On his first night, Jacob uses a stone for a pillow and sleeps on the hard ground, likely feeling alone and vulnerable.
But Jacob is neither alone nor truly vulnerable, and it is here that he dreams of a ladder that reaches from earth to heaven, with angels of the most High God ascending and descending on it.
Notice that the angels are first mentioned as ascending the ladder, which can be seen to indicate that they had been accompanying Jacob on his journey.
But this is no mere dream or vision; it is a visitation.
At the head of the ladder, overseeing the activities of the angels, Jacob observes God who speaks to him, ensuring that Jacob could not misunderstand the purpose of the event.
God identifies Himself as YHVH (יהוה), the God who entered into covenant with Abraham and Isaac. He confirms the significance of Jacob’s generational line to the original promise and passes the covenantal inheritance to Jacob, including the Land of Israel:
“The land where you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed [descendants].” (Genesis 28:13)
As Bible Believers, we must stand firmly on the solid rock of God’s Word that this special land of Israel belongs to the descendants of Jacob (Israel), the Jewish people, by Divine Covenant.
God’s Word is as true today as it was yesterday, and will be forever.
Jacob’s Ladder: Comfort in Our Loneliest Hours
“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7)
Jacob’s ladder reveals that there is constant contact between Heaven and earth. It is a picture of the love and faithfulness of God.
The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph (א), looks something like a ladder. It is also the first letter of the Hebrew words Adonai (אדוני), Elohim (אלהים), Abba (אבא) and ahava (אהבה), which means love.
Make no mistake: God is Love. And because of God’s great love for us, He sent Yeshua (Jesus) to earth to be the ladder that bridged the gap between Heaven and Earth, providing the way to our Father.
Jacob’s ladder also reminds us that when we fear the Lord, we can expect God’s continued oversight of our lives and that angels will protect us from evil.
We may not see them, but by faith we can know that even if we are without human friends on a journey, we have unseen angelic beings with us to protect, help and encourage us.
A Vow Made in Gratitude
“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:17)
When Jacob awakes in the morning, he is fully in awe of God.
Before continuing on his journey, he takes the stone he used as a pillow and erects it as a pillar. He then pours oil on it, renaming the place Bethel (House of God).
He shows his sincere faith and gratitude for God’s presence and provision, vowing to give God a tenth of all that He will bestow on him.
“If [since] God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will give You a tenth.” (Genesis 28:20–22)
Returning to the Promised Land
“Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. You know how much work I’ve done for you.” (Genesis 30:25–26)
Fully confident that God is with him, Jacob continues on his journey to Paddan Aram, where he finds employment with his uncle Laban, and marries his daughters, Leah and Rachel.
Many years later, when Jacob finally desires to return to Canaan with his wives and children, his father-in-law, Laban, admits that he has been blessed financially for Jacob’s sake.
Laban, therefore, is in no hurry to let him leave.
Since Laban has grown wealthy through Jacob’s efforts, he promises now to pay him, and they come to an arrangement through which Jacob can keep the sheep and goats that are dark, streaked, speckled or spotted.