FINALLY!!! SOMETHING NEW!!!!
Summary of passage: So Jacob left Beersheba to Haran. He stopped along the way, put a stone under his head, and had a dream. In the dream he saw a stairway from heaven to earth on which the angels of God were going up and down. The Lord was there and He repeated His promise to Jacob (the covenant He gave to both Abraham and Isaac), saying He’ll give Jacob the promised land and his descendants will spread out. All people on earth will be blessed through him. God said He is with him and will watch out for him wherever he goes.
When Jacob woke, he took the stone he had been lying on and poured oil over it and called the place Bethel. Then Jacob vows that God will be his God and the stone will be God’s house and he will give God a tenth.
12a) The stairway linking heaven and earth now reveals access to God.
b) Jesus is the stairway, the way to heaven. Jesus says the angels of God ascend and descend on the Son of Man. John 14:6 says he is “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Hebrews says we will enter the Most Holy Place (heaven) “by the blood of Jesus.”
13a) “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.”
b) Same as a. “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.”
c) “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”
d) “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.”
14a) He had the fear of God now and realized God was with him and in this place. He took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil over it to make the place, which he named Bethel or house of God. He made a vow, saying if God does what He promises, then God will be my God, the pillar will be God’s house, and he will give God a tenth of all that God has given him.
b) Through the Holy Spirit, God is with us and watches over us wherever we go. He will not leave us until His work is done. (See Philippians 1:6 for a similar message). We return a tenth to God of what is His. He is our God and our pillar. Hopefully, we believe first and then receive without the same stipulations Jacob makes (see Conclusions below for elaboration).
Conclusions: Well, we moved on but I literally typed up most of the passage for my answers. It felt like a copy exercise I might give my kids for school. I did like saying specifically He is with us wherever we go and He will not leave us. Something I needed to hear today.
The significance of this passage is that Jacob has finally realized God is everywhere and not just in certain places.
However, what BSF missed and what I find fascinating (of course we could see this next lesson if we repeat this passage again as seems to be the custom), is how Jacob responds to God’s promises. Jacob doesn’t quite believe God will do all of these things He promises. We see this in his response in verses 20-22: IF God will be with me and IF He will provide, THEN the Lord will be my God.”
Do you see it? He’s not quite sure if God will be with him and if God will provide. But only after Jacob sees all this, then will God be his God. Jacob is trying to make his own deal with God instead of humbly accepting God’s promise. However, in God’s grace, He punishes Jacob through Laban in order to gain Jacob’s whole heart.
End Note: Now God has personally appeared to all three patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob.
Fun Fact: Bethel means “House of God” and is second only to Jerusalem to the number of times a town is mentioned in the Old Testament. God even refers to Himself as the “God of Bethel” in Genesis 31:13.