Written on December 8, 2014.
Day Seven – December 7
When you are a descendant of Abraham, adventure along the journey is a given. Such was the case with Jacob. Though not the warrior of his family, he was a master strategist (with a little help from his mom) who fought fiercely and partook fully of the spoils of his wars.
When we join Jacob’s story, he is still panting from a run-in with his brother Esau, which led to another attribute of his being displayed. Fast running!
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Genesis 28:10-11
Out of his brother’s grasp and on his way to find a wife, Jacob stopped. The text reads “because the sun had set.” But Jacob didn’t stop because it was dark. His travel ceased because he had an appointment. Genesis 3:8 describes this as the cool of the day, which is when the sun rises and sets. It is the watch the Hebrew people wore. As the sun nestled into its cradle for the night, Jacob enjoyed an intermission in his trip. Like Adam and Eve, his temple was creation.
Jacob rested his head upon a rock. Generations later a priesthood extended from a tribe, descended from this very man, would do the same at the door of the temple, resting upon a rock that covered the keys to the door in prophecy of the cornerstone to come, who would carry the keys to the kingdom.
Jacob slept as Heaven invaded. Within the dream, Jacob sees something similar to a ladder or a stairway. The Hebrew word is ‘sullam’ which holds the meaning of “connection or connected”. One of the derivatives is the word “Selah” meaning to pause in the Presence of God. It is also part of a root meaning ”to raise, to lift; a musical direction to raise the voice.)” Though there are many significances related to the ladder, the one Pappa placed on my heart was that of revealing who God is through praise. Jacob was reminded that he was part of a family whose covenant was to declare the knowledge God, even as the stars uttered it.
And God spoke, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” Genesis 28:13-15 And Jacob declared the site place of worship. A place where God would be lifted up.
Later, Jacob would come back to this place with his two wives and his children (Genesis 32). Jacob’s previous dream would become an encounter. Upon his return, Jacob bore a manifestation of who he had been in order to see who he was becoming. The grappler gave it everything he had, contorting and stretching himself past any exertion he had yet known. Possibly there was a moment he felt he had the upper hand and he breathlessly proclaimed, “I won’t let go until, you bless me.” But this was not a pursuit of an earthly blessing or firstborn’s share. Those, he had already obtained for himself. This was not the seizing of a wife he craved, instead of receiving the wife God desired. He had lived with the fruit of that wrestling match for years. Victory is empty when won in a vain attempt to please ourselves.
No, this was a desperate plea for something he could never gain through his own strength or cunning. His words translated become, “I won’t let go until I see you clearly. Until we are face to face.” As his words collided with the atmosphere, a calm came, the storm died down and even creation entered into a respite. No movement, no sound. Wrestling turned to rest. Renamed and reformed, Israel named the land Peniel, meaning “face to face.”