Stairway to Heaven | Genesis 28

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World English Bible Genesis 28 – Chapter 28

1 Isaac called Jacob, blessed him, and commanded him, “You shall not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. 2 Arise, go to Paddan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father. Take a wife from there from the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a company of peoples, 4 and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you, and to your offspring* with you, that you may inherit the land where you travel, which God gave to Abraham.”

5 Isaac sent Jacob away. He went to Paddan Aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, Rebekah’s brother, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.

6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan Aram, to take him a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him a command, saying, “You shall not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan,” 7 and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Paddan Aram. 8 Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan didn’t please Isaac, his father. 9 Esau went to Ishmael, and took, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife.

10 Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11 He came to a certain place, and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. He took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 He dreamed. Behold, a stairway set upon the earth, and its top reached to heaven. Behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 Behold, Yahweh stood above it, and said, “I am Yahweh, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon you lie, to you will I give it, and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring will be as the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. In you and in your offspring§ will all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you, and will keep you, wherever you go, and will bring you again into this land. For I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken of to you.”

16 Jacob awakened out of his sleep, and he said, “Surely Yahweh is in this place, and I didn’t know it.” 17 He was afraid, and said, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other than God’s house, and this is the gate of heaven.”

18 Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 Jacob vowed a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, and Yahweh will be my God, 22 then this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, will be God’s house. Of all that you will give me I will surely give a tenth to you.”

Thoughts for the day

Regardless of the motives that Isaac and Rebekah may have had for what they did in chapter 27. Isaac sends Jacob to Laban who lives in Paddan Aram, which is Rebekah’s mother’s house.  Jacob also had to swear to Isaac that he would never take a Canaanite woman for a wife. With that, Jacob set out on his assigned journey.

Esau was a better man than me, in verse 8; Esau finally fully understands that Isaac is prejudice against the Canaanite’s. Esau goes to Ishmael’s family and marries one of his uncle’s daughters.   It is amazing that Esau was still trying to please his dad at this point. I would have wanted to have gone down to Canaan and brought home a herom to Isaac and Rebekah as daughter in-laws, just to watch them squirm. I still do not see Esau as the brightest person on the planet, but again, he appears to take the high road.

In verse 11, Jacob has been on his walk for some time, and has to rest. While resting, he sees a vision of the “Stair Way to Heaven” in earlier manuscripts a “Ladder “. On the stairway, there are angels passing back and forth, but God is at the top and speaks to him.  God tells Jacob, that the ground where is right now, will be his home, and his offspring will number as the particles of dust on the face of the earth. He was told that this would be a blessing. Sounds like a lot of work to me.

Jacob, believed his vision, and was afraid and Verse 17, said this is a “dreadful place.”  With that kind of work load in front of me, I would have been scared too, managing a family of four is hard work. Imagine if you had enough wives to make offspring that number like the dust particles. Hopefully he does not have to make all those kids by himself. Whatever the case may me, Jacob believes God, made a pillar and anointed it as a place where God dwells.  He then promised God that if God provides for him, he will come back and build a city there.  Jacob promises to tithe to God when he builds this city.

OK, this has been a quite a chapter to sort through. There is quite a debate on Ishmael’s status Canaanite, or not.  Across the religions there seems to be a great disagreement on the character of Ismael.  Arab’s claim him as their own anointed one, Islam loves him.  Islam believe Ishmael was the true heir of Abram rather than Isaac.  This inheritance appears to be the first major division in the religious views of our Patriarchs. This dividing point seems to be a separator Judaism (The foundation for Christianity) and the Islamic faiths which appear significantly divided among each other as well. The eastern Baha’i faith claims Ishmael as the anointed one nearly sacrificed by Abraham as well. Those of us following the Judeo-Christian faiths do seem to be alone on this particular issue of who the true heir of Abraham was. Not knowing those faiths inside and out, it is hard to know what the entire ramification of this is, but it appears important since religions divide over it. What we do know, is at this point in scripture Jacob goes to Laban and is promised a great nation by God. We know Ishmael, Isaac, and Abraham were all promised that they would father great nations, and that promise is working its way to fruition.

All the religions I have mentioned, worship the same God in their own way. They want to claim God is only their God, and no other group can possibly claim God for their own. Children will say “My Moon” and fight to blood over it, or to a sibling “My Mom” and fight to the bidder end; thinking there just can’t be enough of her to go around. We all know that Mom and Dad will provide for their children. Just how much bigger is God, then Mom and Dad?

The big and ultimate divider in Christianity versus the aforementioned religions is Jesus Christ. Jesus born of the offspring of Abraham in the Christian religion, is a far more than a prophet. We see him as our one and only path to God. The crux of the matter is that we cannot prove Jesus was ever Resurrected via the absence of his body.  We have to rely on what we have determined to be valid testimony from those that were present. Reliable manuscripts are assembled the to give eye-witness accounts that are sufficient beyond the shadow of a doubt in our minds to prove that Christ died, and rose in our stead.

What are we to do when we meet people who have different opinions on religion, be they atheist, agnostics, Christians of another persuasion, Islamist, Baha’i ……? Respect them! Remember the story about the man walking down the street with a red hat?  A reporter asks the people on the side-walk ahead of the man what color his hat is, and they tell him his hat is blue, another group up the walk, tells him the hat was yellow, and the people following the man said his has is definitely green. How could this be? The hat was made of four colors. Each person was telling the truth, they all saw the hat as a different color, depending upon where they were standing when they saw the hat. They were all right in what they saw, but yet to one another they were so obviously wrong.  We learn the truth by hearing all four stories. If you heard all their stories, without seeing the hat, and applied some deductive logic you may very well concluded that the man walking down the street; had a multicolored hat. When we fail to listen, we alienate ourselves, and often ostracize the truth.

Listening to, and caring for people of different faiths, forces you to know your faith better by understanding theirs.  Sharing your faith forces you to know your faith better, as you are accountable for what you share.  In the end, only you are responsible for what you believe, you can’t force another to believe what you do. God requires us to share, and stand faithful to the end.  God never forces anyone to believe. We have to share with all who will listen, but God chooses whom chooses.

Have a wonderful day….. Remember, God reaches us in unexpected ways… Even nuts may contain a little nugget of truth…

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