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  • 1. Jacob’s Blessing Genesis 28:1, 10-22
  • 2. The lesson reviews the Blessing conveyed to Jacob. The study's aim is to determine what principles in the account of Jacob that we can use to guide his relationship to God. The study's application is to apply these principles to how we experience God. Context
  • 3. Last week’s lesson concluded with Isaac becoming extremely prosperous (Genesis 26:13). He and his family moved south toward Beersheba, where his father Abraham had lived. Genesis 27 describes how Jacob tricked his father into giving him the special blessing that normally would have gone to his elder brother, Esau (27:1-40). Context
  • 4. When Esau learned of Jacob’s deception he cried, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” (v. 36). Esau planned to kill him after his father died. When his mother, Rebekah, learned of this, she urged Jacob to go to her brother Laban in Haran and live there until Esau’s anger subsided. Context
  • 5. She urged Isaac to send Jacob on this trip since he needed to find a wife who believed in the one God— not one of the pagan Canaanite women nearby. John Walton observes, “The main thrust of the message is that Yahweh will bring Jacob back to the land. Note also that Jacob is virtually the same age as Abraham was when God asked him to leave his home and travel to a new land (Genesis 12:1-4).” Context
  • 6. Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, “You shall not marry one of the Canaanite women.” Genesis 28:1
  • 7. Jacob negotiated with Esau for his birthright, and then Jacob deceived Isaac, his father, to steal Esau’s blessing. To save Jacob from being murdered by an enraged Esau, Rebecca easily convinced Isaac to send Jacob back to her home in Haran to find a wife rather than have Jacob marry a Canaanite woman as Esau had done. The idolatrous culture of the women that Esau had married vexed both Isaac and Rebecca (Genesis 26:34, 35 and Genesis 27:46). Genesis 28:1
  • 8. Jacob left Beer-Sheba and went toward Haran. Genesis 28:10
  • 9. Knowing that Esau wanted to murder him for his deception and betrayal, Jacob easily became convinced that he should obey his father and go to Haran to seek a wife. Esau would not see his brother again until Jacob returned with Leah and Rachel and their children. Rebecca would never see Jacob again in this life. Jacob left Beersheba, at the southern edge of Canaan, and started for Haran, more than 400 miles northeast. Rebekah had grown up there, and Abraham migrated from the same region years before. Genesis 28:10
  • 10. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the 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. Genesis 28:11
  • 11. Jacob traveled alone (as he thought), having left his family behind. On his first night away from home, Jacob slept under the stars. The stone served as a head support. Though he had Isaac’s blessing, he did not take the inheritance due to him that would have resulted from also having Esau’s birthright. Genesis 28:11
  • 12. Since Jacob returned to Esau a wealthy man and gave Esau many gifts, it appears Jacob never claimed the financial rewards that accompanied possessing Esau’s birthright. What would be most important for Jacob and his children was the blessing that would bless many descendants after him, and eventuate in the birth of Jesus Christ that would bless Jews and Gentiles. Genesis 28:11
  • 13. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. Genesis 28:12
  • 14. God gave Jacob a vision and spoke to him as he slept. God reassured Jacob that he was not alone. The ladder probably appeared more as a staircase that the angels used (and did not really need to do God’s will) to do the bidding of God on earth. God reaches from heaven to earth to bless His people. Genesis 28:12
  • 15. The tower of Babel was an opposite situation, where some wanted to go up to heaven using a tower and take their place in heaven (with God or as gods) instead of filling the earth as God had commanded them (see Genesis 11:1-9). Genesis 28:12
  • 16. And the LORD stood beside him 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; Genesis 28:13
  • 17. Whereas angels ascended and descended to fulfill God’s plans for them and others on the earth, the LORD himself stood beside Jacob and spoke to him directly, as he had done with Abraham. The LORD identified himself as the God of his father and grandfather, and Jacob knew about what God had done in their lives. Genesis 28:13
  • 18. God reaffirmed that He would keep His promise to Abraham and Isaac through him. He too would have offspring, and he would live in the Promised Land and so would his descendants; the land God promised to Abraham and Isaac, the land his descendants would possess when Joshua led them into the land of Canaan. Genesis 28:13
  • 19. and 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 all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Genesis 28:14
  • 20. God gave Jacob the same promise He gave to Abraham and Isaac, which was also the blessing Isaac had bestowed upon Jacob when Jacob stole Esau’s blessing. The promised way of salvation would not be through Esau to the Messiah. Genesis 28:14
  • 21. God would bless Esau and his descendants in other ways. God would not forsake them, and they could pass on the truth of God to their descendants if they chose. The promised way of salvation would be through Jacob and his descendants (the Jews) to Jesus the Messiah. Genesis 28:14
  • 22. Know that 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.” Genesis 28:15
  • 23. Though Jacob thought he had left home alone with few possessions, God was with him and promised to be with him and bring him back to the land he was leaving. God would do this because of His promise to Abraham and Isaac, and not because Jacob deserved the blessing or because he had stolen Esau’s blessing. Genesis 28:15
  • 24. God reassured Jacob that He would be with him until He had done all He promised (which was equivalent to never leaving him). In the life of Jacob we get a glimpse of God’s grace to the undeserving. We also get a glimpse of God’s faithfulness to the children of those who are faithful and obedient to Him (as were Abraham and Isaac). Genesis 28:15
  • 25. Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place—and I did not know it!” Genesis 28:16
  • 26. Jacob woke from his dream knowing that he had experienced a real encounter with God, an encounter that was consistent with God’s promises and work in the lives of Abraham and Isaac. The ladder of the LORD was in that place, and the LORD had come down to see him in that place, and the LORD was with him and in that place, but Jacob had not known this until his encounter with God. Genesis 28:16
  • 27. Jacob’s experience does not mean that that is the only place where God has a ladder from heaven to earth for angels to ascend and descend. Rather, wherever Jacob went there would be a ladder so God’s angels could come and meet his needs whenever God sent them. God’s ladder is with everyone who trusts in Him. Genesis 28:16
  • 28. 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 28:17
  • 29. Though the LORD had spoken words of comfort to Jacob, Jacob could justifiably feel afraid when he thought about his meeting with God. He probably knew he deserved God’s just punishment for his deception of his father and theft from Esau. He was fleeing from Esau to save his life only to meet God, the Judge of all the earth. Genesis 28:17
  • 30. Rather than pronounce judgment against Jacob, God had graciously extended promises to bless him in his life’s journey. God did so for the sake of His promises to Abraham and Isaac. Later, Jacob would learn by experience the heartache that deception can bring to people. Genesis 28:17
  • 31. So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. Genesis 28:18
  • 32. Just as Abraham rose early to honor God with his obedience, so Jacob rose early to honor God by transforming where he slept into a memorial and place for the worship of God. The stone for his head may have been long and cylindrical to make a pillar when stood on end. Oil would later be used to anoint priests in ceremonies as established by Moses. Oil could be used to set apart something common to make it sacred for holy use. Genesis 28:18
  • 33. It is fitting for Jacob to use a stone for this purpose. In ancient times, stones serve as witnesses to agreements between parties, especially agreements concerning property boundaries. Years later Jacob will erect another stone to commemorate a boundary agreement between himself and his future father-inlaw (Genesis 31:46–53). In setting up this first stone, Jacob may be communicating to God that he accepts God’s will for his life, including the boundary lines to the land that God has promised to Jacob’s descendants. Genesis 28:18
  • 34. He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Genesis 28:19
  • 35. The pillar would enable Jacob to find Bethel again when he returned home from Haran; Bethel means “house of God.” The pillar in its position would be seen by others as a sacred place and probably would not be disturbed. Genesis 28:19
  • 36. Unfortunately, pagan religions (and even Israel during times of spiritual decline) would worship pillars as idols or worship false gods at pillars. Since Jacob would not come back for 20 years, it is good that he set up that pillar as a memorial that he would recognize later. Genesis 28:19
  • 37. Then Jacob made 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 wear, Genesis 28:20
  • 38. Jacob was motivated by appreciation and thankfulness to God for promising to be with him and bless him. Though Jacob said “if,” he knew that God had promised to be with him, and he asked God for the basic necessities of life (food and clothing) on his journey and wherever he stayed. Jacob wanted to make a covenant with God in response to God’s grace. Jacob wanted to show his thankfulness to God when he said what he said. Genesis 28:20
  • 39. so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, Genesis 28:21
  • 40. Jacob wanted to return to his father’s house in peace, knowing that Esau wanted to murder him. That was all he asked of God upon his return. He did not ask for the birthright inheritance that he had bargained with Esau to get for the financial rewards that went with the birthright. He only asked for peace, and that meant peace with his brother. Genesis 28:21
  • 41. If Jacob had tried to claim Esau’s birthright, he could not have returned home in peace. God granted Jacob his request when he returned home twenty years later. God also gave Jacob great wealth (probably as much or more than the inherited birthright would have been). The LORD would be his God because he would know by experience that the LORD had the grace and power to meet all of his needs, even when situations seemed impossible (such as the situation with his brother Esau, who hated him). Genesis 28:21
  • 42. and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that you give me I will surely give onetenth to you.” Genesis 28:22
  • 43. Jacob promised to make Bethel a place of worship, and he promised to give one-tenth of all God gave him for God to use as God saw fit in the maintenance of a place of worship. God did not require this of Jacob, but Jacob wanted to show his appreciation to God because of all he received from the hand of God. Genesis 28:22
  • 44. Abraham gave one-tenth to King Melchizedek of Salem (see Genesis 14:18-20). Later, Moses would tell the Israelites to bring a tithe or one-tenth to the LORD. Jacob acknowledged the God of Abraham and Isaac as his own. This marked a change in his life. Offering the tithe was a further demonstration of his sincere trust and gratitude (see Genesis 14:20). Genesis 28:22
  • 45. The drama that had unfolded involved a web of treachery and rage. Isaac and Rebekah played favorites with their two sons; Rebekah helped Jacob deceive Isaac; and Esau was planning to kill his brother. From a human standpoint, Jacob was in no place to receive such a blessing from the Lord. Conclusion
  • 46. God encouraged Jacob at Bethel, and He also provided amazing grace. God was lovingly forbearing about Jacob's sin and withheld punishment. He does the same even today with His people. While we should expect consequences for our sinful actions (Gal. 6:7), we should also recognize the grace God exercises in our lives. Conclusion
  • 47. God is already present everywhere we are or are going (Gen. 28:10-12; Ps. 139:7-12) Reflection: Much of life does not follow the plans we made. We often find ourselves in places and conditions we never would have imagined. It is reassuring to know that God was there waiting for us to arrive as well as walking with us on the journey. Lessons
  • 48. In His goodness, God reveals His promises (Gen. 28:13-14) Reflection: We often fail to remember that what God accomplished through the lives of our parents and ancestors are a part of His revelation to us. We continue what has already begun but exercise it in our own way. Consider the faith of your parents. Lessons
  • 49. The omnipresence of God brings comfort to those who trust in Him (Gen. 28:15; Ps. 46:7, 11) Reflection: The fact that we do not sense God’s presence every moment of the day speaks only of our spiritual blindness and not His presence. The truth that dawned on Jacob was that God had been there all along and he just didn’t know it. We would do well to pause more often and realize that God is present with us even in this moment. Lessons
  • 50. Any true encounter with God requires a personal response on our part (Gen. 28:18-19) Reflection: Jacob poured oil on a rock to symbolize his recognition of God’s presence. That act would lead to the greater devotion of the tithe. Imagine what it would mean to you to pour an extra cup at your table or address Him in your conversation as you would a friend. Small actions others don’t see will be seen by God and remembered by you. Lessons
  • 51. God notes any amount of true faith that is directed to Him (Gen. 28:20-22; cf. Matt. 17:20) Reflection: Jacob’s life had not been one of piety. He had much to answer for in his dealings but he was able to see in his heart that God was the just one here and he was honored to be used by God for His purposes. Your service and sacrifice doesn’t have to be exemplary to be seen by God. He is touched by a faith the size of a mustard seed. Lessons