Jacob’s First Encounter With God

In a survey conducted by the Barna Research Group, nearly 1/3 of all born-again Christians stated that all good people will go to heaven, whether they have embraced Jesus Christ or not. While 88% in a recent Barna poll believe Jesus Christ was a real person, what they believe abo … More


This passage picks up where Jacob was on his way out of the land of Canaan. God revealed Himself to Jacob and in the process confirmed the Abrahamic Covenant with him in all of its three elements of land, seed, and blessing. Later, God would remind him of this event when He instructed him to return to the land (Gen. 31:13).

Jacob goes from Beersheba and stops in a rocky spot for the night. He was on his way to his uncle Laban’s house. (vv. 10-11). During the night he has a dream and sees angles on a stairway to heaven. (v. 12) In this dream he was reminded that the God of Abraham, his grandfather, and the God of Isaac, his father, could become the God of Jacob also (v. 13). God reconfirms the original covenant made to Abraham that promised Jacob the land, descendants as numerous as the dust and universal blessing through him (vv. 14-15). It was not enough to be Abraham’s grandson. Jacob had to establish his own personal relationship with God.

Jacob awakened from the dream with the full knowledge that he was the chosen line which would lead directly to Christ (vv. 16-17). God has no grandchildren, each of us must have our own personal relationship with Him (Gal. 3:6-7). Jacob from this time on was a changed man. He took the stone that he had used for a pillow and set it up as a memorial pillar (vv. 18-22). He poured oil on it to sanctify it and called the place Bethel which means “the house of God.” He was giving testimony to the fact that he was now converted and going to live for God.

1. Jacob acted promptly (v. 18a).

2. Jacob acted purposefully (vv. 18b-19).

3. Jacob acted practically (vv. 20-22).


God has ways to get my attention when I attempt to run from situations like Jacob did. In each case I just need to get back to the Word of God and His direction. If I am coasting in my Christian life I will be going down hill.

Genesis 28:10-22 (English Standard Version)

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