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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: ‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. 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. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 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.’”—Genesis 28:12–15 (NIV)
What can we make of the vision? Well, first I want to point out the parallels between this staircase and another similar structure in Genesis: The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1–9). With Babel, arrogant men sought to attain glory for themselves by making their way up to heaven through their own effort. But here, with Jacob, we see God reveal some powerful things.
First, we see God come to Jacob at a pivotal moment in his life. Though he’d just received the firstborn blessing from his father, in this moment he was homeless and his life was in danger. The Lord’s presence served to reassure Jacob that Isaac’s blessing, and the promises of salvation made to Abraham and Isaac, would be fulfilled; that his offspring would outnumber the stars, that they’d inherit the land promised to Abraham, and that all families of the earth would be blessed through his seed.
And just like God reassured Jacob he could rest in God’s promises, despite the trials he was experiencing, you, too, can rest securely and confidently in the promises God has made you in Christ! Even in trials, tragedy, struggles. persecution, or pain, His promises still stand, His angels still surround us, and He’s still working all things for the good of those who loved Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Second, consider what R.C. Sproul points out: “Nothing indicates that Jacob was looking for the Lord; rather, God sought him and found him just as He finds all His people (Psalm 139:1–16; Luke 15:1–7; Romans 8:29–30).”
And that leads us to the most important thing for Jacob, his descendants, and all people from every tribe and tongue. Tying back to the Tower of Babel, we see that man has no need nor ability to try to ascend to God because God will always come to them! Through His Son Jesus—the fulfillment of God’s original promise to Abraham—God came to us! John 1:14 (NIV) tells us that God, the Word of God, the truth of God, the power of God, the glory of God, the promise of God “became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Jesus left heaven and came to us through the line of Jacob in order to bring us to God!
Jesus Christ IS Jacob’s ladder! This is the gospel message. Jesus alone is the way to salvation, to having God be with us, to receiving His heavenly blessing and angelic provision and protection, to entering into the true promised land. While Babel was all about earth climbing to heaven, Jesus brought the glory of heaven down to us, lighting the way, and brings us by His nail-scarred hands into heaven.
DIG: What does this dream show us about God’s faithfulness?
DISCOVER: How has God shown His faithfulness in your life?
DO: Thank the Lord for Jesus—the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham, the Lamb God provided in place of Isaac, and our way to heaven. After spending time thanking Him for His wonderful, beautiful Son, look for an opportunity this week to tell someone about His Son!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.