Dreaming Our Dreams


Well-Known Member
Reaction score
Dreaming Our Dreams
Genesis 28:10-19a
28:10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.
28:11 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.
28:12 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.
28:13 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;
28:14 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.
28:15 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."
28:16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place--and I did not know it!"
28:17 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."
28:18 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.
28:19a He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first.
It is a delight to be here today. I was pleased to get the invitation to come, and I was especially pleased when I saw that the lectionary happened to fall on this passage about Jacob. The whole book of Genesis is such a wonderful source of stories, and among those stories, the ones about the Patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--stand out.

Among those, I do think that the stories about Jacob are the riches. Perhaps that is because the characters in it are so flawed and, therefore, so real.

Let me set this up so as to remind you about the story. God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. After years and years and years of waiting, Isaac was born. While there were all sort so stories that gathered about Abraham, comparatively few gathered about Isaac. Indeed, about the only thing we can say about Isaac is that he was the father of twins, Esau and Jacob.

Esau was a big hairy idiot. On the other hand, Jacob was smart. In fact, he may have been a little too smart for his own good. Let me explain.

I said that the characters were flawed. One of the flaws that Isaac and his wife Rebekah shared was they played favorites with their children. Isaac liked Esau, but Rebekah liked Isaac. Esau slipped out of the womb just moments before Jacob, while Jacob was grabbing his heel trying to pull him back in. Since Esau was first born, the birth right was due to him even though he was a big, hairy idiot.

To make a long story short, Jacob conspired with his mother to steal Esau’s birthright from him. After which time, Esau desired to kill his brother.

For those of you who might be planning something like this yourselves, make a mental note here: A man doesn’t have to be very smart to kill you.

Mother Rebekah sensed that her favorite son was in mortal danger, and so sent him off so that he could marry one of his cousins.

Today’s story happens while Jacob is in transit to his Uncle Laban’s house. He lays down in the darkness and uses a stone for his pillow, and in the night he has a dream in which God speaks to him.

I have to pause here for a moment to strike a contrast. Adam talked to God directly until he was expelled from the Garden of Eden. Abraham sat and ate with God and talked to him, but here we see Jacob is only able to talk to God in a dream. Man has gone that far from Him.

But in any case, Jacob did have his experience of God in the dream. He saw a ladder set on the earth, reaching up into heaven with angels on it going up and coming down.

Then God was right beside him in his dream and promised him three things.
First that he was going give the land that Jacob was laying on to Jacob and his offspring.

Second, Jacob’s offspring were going to be like the dust of the earth in their number.

Third, Jacob’s offspring would be a blessing to the whole world.
What a wonderful promise this is. We might argue that, given the trouble in the Middle East, this is not undiluted blessing, but that was just part of it. He was told his descendants would be as numerous as the dust. When I was younger, I never thought much about that, but now that I have children of my own I find the idea that of thousands of people thousands of years from now telling stories about Old Great-great Grandpa Bobby to be quite appealing.

But the best part is the last. His descendants would be a blessing to the whole world. This gives us an idea of the sort of people that God wants us to be. He wants us to be an outward looking people. When we are born, we are selfish and think that the world revolves around us and our wants and needs. God’s vision for us is different. God wants us to help others.

God has kept this promise that he made to Jacob in that dream all those centuries ago, he kept it in God’s time, which is different than ours, but he did keep it. He set out the terms in a promise in a dream, when Man was still close enough to God so that he could talk to us in dreams.

He’s spoken to us through prophets since then. He’s came to us and shown himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ who now givens us a bridge on which me may approach the Father.

God has made more promises and we’ve other dreams. One of these is that the Lion will lie down with the lamb and we will study war no more. I don’t know if I will see that one fulfilled, but I know it will happen one day.
Another is that well will live in God’s Holy City on the hill where all of our actions will be done in the light of God’s Holy Wisdom.

And another is one we repeat every time we recite the Apostle’s Creed, and this is Christ will come again.

These are the promises we’ve been given. These are the dreams we have. The promises will be kept, and the dreams will be fulfilled, in God’s time.
Hi, Peace to All Here--

You have dreams, Bobby--the kind that would let you lie down with the lions. They are more real than anything this world knows.

Thanks once again--