Today we’re looking at the story of Jacob- the famous younger twin who cheats his older brother out of his birthright and their father’s blessing- the smooth-skinned (and smooth talking) brother of Esau, who was ‘an hairy man’.
You can find it all in Genesis 27 onwards for the full story, but I want to focus on a short passage- where Jacob stops for a rest. At the end of a long day running away from his family he goes to sleep. And he dreams. And in his dreams God speaks to him. This isn’t something I’ve experienced- my dreams tend to involve aliens and chase sequences rather than divine encounters, but I’m aware of enough people who’ve had similar experiences that I’m willing to accept this as legit.
So God speaks to Jacob and basically says ‘I’m on your side- follow me as your father and grandfather did’. Which is a lot nicer than anything anyone who knew Jacob was likely to say at that time. God then repeats the promise he made to Abraham- I will bless people through you and your offspring, only this time on a larger scale- I will bless all people… not just a few.
Jacobs initial response is that of the smooth talker- If God helps me so that I have enough food for the journey and protects me, then he’ll be my God- sneaky move there, Jacob… getting God to be your provider.
The only thing is what happens next… if you read on into Genesis 29, you’ll see that Jacob basically stops conning people, and as he becomes more honest people take advantage of him, people accuse him of trickery when he’s done nothing… but eventually it all works out; and the best of it is that Jacob has become a blessing to his family and a changed man.
And it all started with one dream.