Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 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.”
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
- Genesis 28:10-22
I had another dream. In the dream, I had a travelling companion. Our travels were arduous, and once after a hard day, we settled next to a campfire. I had been carrying two large bags. They were bulky, but not heavy. I never opened the bags. I cannot tell you what I was carrying or the significance of carrying them, other than the final outcome. As I was soothing my aches and pains near the campfire, my traveling companion suggested a few things. The suggestions were minor, with nothing seemingly wrong with the suggestions.
I was stern, firm, but gentle with my companion. “No, God sent me on this journey with strict instructions. I must follow those instructions to the letter.”
As we continued our journey, I do not remember what happened to the burden that I was carrying, but I was elated to no longer carry the burden. As I looked around in the satisfaction of a job well-done, a young beautiful girl came up. She threw her arms around me and said, “Daddy, you saved me.”
That ends my dream, in a loving embrace with a “daughter” although we had two sons.
Jesus saves. I do not. Yet, I write these blog posts. I have no idea what the dream might mean.
My wife suggested female family members, not necessarily daughters when I told her the dream. Then she broadened the scope and suggested the “church.” Oh, please, I am a humble writer, not a savior of the “church.”
There could be a number of other interpretations.
As for Jacob’s dream, he had difficulty in his dream’s interpretation. God is everywhere, not just in Bethel, also known as Luz. I have heard the jokes that when you die whether you are going to Heaven or Hell, you must catch a connecting flight in the Atlanta airport. The joke is that the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport is the busiest, based on most passengers, almost every year. Chicago O’Hare may beat out Atlanta on takeoffs and landings, but in passengers Chicago O’Hare rates only 6th behind Atlanta, Beijing, Dubai, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. Sadly, out of the top ten busiest airports, I have been in eight of them, missing out on Dubai and Hong Kong.
But it is just a joke about what happens when we die. I do not think we have to fly anywhere. I doubt we must change flights along the way, not in Atlanta or Bethel. God was simply having a once-in-a-lifetime style heart-to-heart talk with Jacob, but Jacob is true to Jacob even then. He barters and trades and makes a business proposition with God. IF God delivers on His promises, THEN I will condescend and allow Him to me my God.
Jacob becomes Israel after struggling with the “man” at Peniel. His name was changed because he struggled with God. This is one of those instances that must be considered a Christophany, as the person is described as a man, yet it is said that Jacob wrestled with God.
Yet, you can see the change in Jacob. He is not the self-confident master of all he surveys. He wrestles with God as his only hope of survival.
Might we all become “Israels,” wrestling with God, knowing that God is our only hope, holding on tightly until we know that we are blessed.
What does my dream mean? Is it personal, just within my own life? Is it familial, signifying that through faith, other family members will be saved? Or is it beyond that?
But maybe I was simply carrying my burden through that “one last valley” where I can lay down my heavy, because I will be home.
That might be one of my first questions when I see Jesus. The one about the strange specific numbers in the Bible will have to wait. For every Christian, one of the first questions that I think we would ask is:
“Did you use me, Lord, to make a difference in someone’s life?”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.