Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sleeping on a Stone Genesis 28:10-19

The night Jacob heard a promise form God was the same night he laid down on the open ground with a stone for a pillow. He was exhausted after running from his twin brother. He was headed towards relatives far away.

This story started long before this night in the desert. Jacob had a brother, Esau. They were sons of Isaac and Rebekah, the grandsons of Abraham and Sarah who heard the promise of God. God promised to build a great nation through their family. They were going to have descendants more numerous than the stars and the sands on the sea shore.

These two boys had parents who played favorites. Jacob the younger boy was his mother's favorite, and Esau the older was his father's pride and joy. When the were grown their mother Rebekah heard their old father, Isaac, plan to bless Esau after he served him a meal of roasted game.

Following his mother's advice Jacob tricked their poorly sited father, Issac so he could get the blessing. Jacob pretended to be Esau—he prepared a meal of roasted meat just like father loved to eat. Jacob covered his arms with the skins of animals so his father would think that it wasn't him but Esau serving the meal. Jacob was blessed. And Esau came home with food ready to serve and received no blessing. Esau burned with anger.

Esau wanted to kill him. So Jacob ran leaving behind the promise land. Desperation drove him into the wilderness and beyond to seek out his mother and father's old relatives.

And now with a blessing he'd gotten through cheating Jacob lay on the ground that night with a rock for a pillow. As he slept Jacob had this vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder from heaven. Over the years I've heard a song about people climbing Jacob's ladder—but that's not the vision Jacob had that night. He had a vision of messengers from God coming from heaven and going back. He had a vision of God reaching out with messengers into our world.

And the vision grew bolder. Now the God of his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac stood beside him speaking the promise that his children and grandchildren and many generations to come would inherit the land promised to Abraham and Sarah.

And with vision in mind he headed away from the promised land with a word from God.

Know that 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. Genesis 28:15 NRSV
May everyone who seeks refuge hear God's word of compassion in our world today.
Peace and thanks for reading, John

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