“Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, 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.’ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.’ And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’” Genesis 28:10-17
At this point in his life, Jacob was no stellar individual. His name that meant “deceiver” had borne itself out in conniving, lying, and deception with both his brother and father. The consequence of the jealous hatred he stirred up against his twin Esau was ‘banishment’ to fetch a wife in Haran, a journey that would keep him away for decades and from seeing his mother again. But it was here, in this aloneness, that the covenant God, the LORD, met him.
Hard-headed Jacob slept with a stone for his pillow, and God in grace came to him by way of angels on a ladder that stretched to heaven. The Lord identified Himself, spoke personally of His promise to Jacob and his descendants. There was absolutely nothing Jacob had done to deserve this favor; all was of benevolent El Shaddai, and His pledge was broad in every measure. Jacob’s would be the land as far as he could see, numberless descendants, and the Lord’s abiding presence. (Genesis 17:4-8; 25:23; 26:2-4)
It is often when we are at the end of ourselves, our effort, our expending of our misdirected energies, that God’s grace most beautifully comes to us. He gets us in a place where we cannot ignore or deny our stiff neck, and must acknowledge that He is the high and lofty One, He the One Who is constantly awake and at work when we are shrouded in the sleep of spiritual apathy, He the lover of our unlovable souls.
My Lord, thank You for Your abounding grace. Ever humble me before You, grateful for the low places You put me so I can glory in Your initiative and measureless love in my life. You Who are ‘in this place’ took my place on the cross, so I am able to live in the gate of heaven all my days. Hallelujah!