The Significance of Jacob’s Dream (Genesis 28:12)

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Dreams are weird.

I don’t remember many of my dreams anymore (although with three kids under eight, there’s hardly any time to sleep anyway). The ones that I do remember, though, are random, interlaced with Taco Bell, and usually intense. I don’t know what that says about me, but…there it is.

Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28 is packed with meaning. In his dream, he sees angels “ascending and descending” on a ladder, going down to earth and up to Heaven.

What does it mean?

For starters, it’s eerily similar to a promise that Jesus made to Nathanael in John 1:50-51: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” 

The teaching in John is a continuation of the message that’s given to Jacob here in Genesis 28: God is active in the affairs of men. Even though we may not see it, God is constantly intervening in ways that we don’t know or recognize.

This is exactly what Daniel says in Daniel 4:17: “…In order that the living may know that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind.” Nothing happens on this earth that God doesn’t know about (Matthew 10:29-31). 

Even if you wanted to, you could never escape the presence of God. He is everywhere all at once, and nothing happens without His knowledge.

This is exactly the message that Jacob needed to know.

On the run, alone, yet given a promise of future blessing from his father Isaac, it’s possible he didn’t have the best faith in where he was going. What he needed to know is that God would be with him and would help him wherever he went.

Christians need to know that, too. You may experience a period of extreme lack of faith, but as long as you are loyal to Him, He will be loyal to you. Jacob expressed this back-and-forth when he promised to give a tenth back to God. It was a relationship expressed by both parties, showing love to each other.

It doesn’t matter where you find yourself — in the wilderness or in your home — God is not far from each of us. He’s not a King in a far off world, oblivious to the actions of His creations.

He’s here. He’s always been here. He’ll always be here.

Do you believe that?