Esau vowed to kill Jacob, and therefore Rebekah was obliged to send her favourite son away. This she little expected when she travelled a crooked way to earn him promotion.
Alone, without a servant to attend him, or a beast to carry him, with only his staff to lean upon, the heir of the promises set out upon his long journey of about five hundred miles.
He had a hard bed and a cold bolster, but he had a sweet sleep, and a sweeter dream. Often when the head lies hardest the heart is lightest. Our times of great trial are times of heavenly visitation.
Note the many “beholds” in the passage. They call for our special attention. The patriarch dreamed of Jesus—sweetest of all dreams. He saw how heaven and earth are joined by the Messiah, and how free is the intercourse between God and man by the way of the Mediator.
Having seen the Messiah as the ladder, he beheld the glory of Jehovah the covenant God, and received the covenant blessing. Every syllable must have sounded as sweetest music in his ears. Note that choice word, “I will not leave thee.” Whom God loves he never leaves. “Till I have done that which I have spoken to thee of;”—saying and doing are two very different things with men, but not with God.
He was full of awe, even to trembling. He felt as if he had slept in the temple of Jehovah, and therefore as a sinner he was moved with fear. He had not been afraid of wild beasts or heathen men, but now though filled with holy confidence he is equally filled with sacred awe.
We must honour God with our substance. Some set up a stone of remembrance, but they pour no oil on the top of it, for they offer nothing unto the Lord.
Beth-el the house of God
Here was a little of the bargaining spirit in covenanting for bread to eat and raiment to put on, but still there was genuine faith. He renounces all other trusts, casts himself upon the divine care, and dedicates a tithe unto the Lord. God has dealt so well with each of us, that we ought never to stint his cause. Can we not do something even now to honour the Lord with our substance and with the firstfruits of our increase?
Jesus that ladder is
Th’ incarnate Deity,
Partaker of celestial bliss
And human misery;
Lo! up and down the scale
The angels move! with love!
And God, the Great Invisible,
Himself appears above.