This posting marks the beginning of a new portion of Scripture known as “He Left”, or Vayetzei. It comes from Genesis 28:10 – 32:3.
Jacob was on the run. He had secured Esau’s despised birthright by selling a bowl of beans to his hungry older brother. Bad on Esau. Later, having stirred up a hornet’s nest by stealing Esau’s blessing Jacob was forced to flee for his life. Bad on Jacob. Now, alone with his troubles, Jacob’s life was a mess due in large part to his own sinful nature.
Like you and me, Jacob was a sinner. Still, Jacob had been chosen by God before birth to be the bearer of the benefits of the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant. God would reconfirm the promises of the ownership of the land Jacob’s family lived on, that a great nation would come forth from him, and that through his family God would pour out universal blessing on all the inhabitants of the earth. This great promise had nothing to do with Jacob’s character. It had everything to do with God’s. Esau was not the chosen one. Jacob was. It is as simple as that.
Sin manifests itself in darkness. Over and over, throughout Scripture, we see God invade darkness. Where He is, darkness flees. Put yourself in Jacob’s position, alone on the road to Haran. Jacob must have thought to himself, “I really messed things up. What is going to happen to me?” During the night, alone with his thoughts, Jacob dreamed.
Read the account from Genesis 28:10-22. As He had at creation, the Lord invaded the darkness! He reaffirmed the promises Jacob must have heard in his father’s tent. Even though Jacob had stolen what belonged to another, God was going to use him mightily.
What is this, but grace? Jacob did not deserve the rich blessings that God would shower on Jacob. Like you and me, he was sinner, separated from God because of his own sin. Suddenly, the darkness was shattered. Heaven opened. The Lord appeared to Jacob as angels went up and down from heaven to earth. Everywhere, the light of God’s glory shattered the darkness. All was not lost. Promises were remembered and reconfirmed. God was with Jacob.
What an awesome night it had been. Jacob had left home, alone. But there at Bethel, Jacob had met the Lord and believed Him. Bethel was none other than the house of God, the gate of heaven. God was with Jacob. While Jacob’s sin had brought separation between himself, his brother, his parents, and even his God, the Lord bridged the chasm between them and restored Jacob to Himself. Jacob got saved.
Think about it. What is a gate? It is an opening in a wall or a fence, a point of entrance and exit. The Gate of Heaven is not a place. The Gate of Heaven is a person. From before time began, it was always God’s plan that His Son would leave heaven to sojourn among men. Why, to provide a way back to the God as the Gate of Heaven for all of those who believe as Jacob had. Many hundreds of years later, Nathaniel met Him and came to the same conclusion his ancestor Jacob had. Salvation and restoration is found in no one else. Jesus is the gate. He left heaven to provide those who believe a way back home.
Talk About It
What do you like about this story?
How do you see yourself in the life of Jacob? He left home because of trouble. What about you?
When have you ever experienced God’s undeniably strong presence as an affirmation of His love and care when you have been on the run and far from Him?
Who do you need to tell this story and your own to this week?