Genesis 28 Commentary

Genesis 28 Commentary

Jacob makes his way to Paddan Aram. His father had instructed him to take a wife from Laban’s house. Note the instruction was wife and not wives. Isaac is known to have maintained one wife.

Along the way Jacob meets God for the very first time. The LORD introduces Himself as the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac. By this the LORD reminds Jacob of the interactions his fathers had with the LORD. These interactions are special in view of the fact that the LORD would raise a special people out of them. Isaac had prayed that the LORD blesses Jacob with Abraham’s blessing. Verse 3 of chapter 28 is very similar with verse 28 of chapter 1. It’s like Isaac is praying for a repeat of 1/28 over Jacob’s life.

Then Jacob has a dream in which he sees a stair way leading to heaven. The imagery is powerful. The LORD is confirming that Jacob’s life is already defined. The angels of the LORD are in attendance. Also the imagery speaks and confirms the Abrahamic blessing that through Jacob the entire earth receives heavenly blessings, indicated by a pathway – God’s pathway via Jacob to earth.

The picture of God’s son we now know as Jesus is very clear. It’s a picture of a pathway via Jesus that leads us to God but also that leads God to us – God meeting man via the LORD Jesus.

The LORD speaks to Jacob from above the ladder and basically addresses Isaac’s prayer. Yes Jacob would receive Abraham’s blessing. The blessing is repeated. Jacob worships and sets up a monument to honor the LORD’S presence there and names the place Bethel.

But exactly what is Jacob doing here at Luz (now Bethel)? He is on his way to Paddan Aram, to his uncle’s place. Though this trip is packaged as a mission to marry, it is in reality an escape. This trip begins trouble for Jacob. The blessed Jacob is running away from his father’s house. As we shall see later in these pages, trouble was never far from Jacob. In fact that is how Jacob himself describes his life to Pharaoh (even without being asked). And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” Genesis 47:9 NIV

This isn’t a good testimony. Unlike his father Isaac Jacob lives a life of difficulties that are well documented. Isaac inherited great wealth from his father regardless of the fact that Abraham had many other sons. His life is smooth and the Bible has documented instances of several miracles. Jacob’s life is very different. We shall see more as we read on. The point is that the blessing of the LORD is not for sale. Jacob had crookedly bought it from his brother Esau, for a plate of soup.

Secondly the blessing of the LORD is not a game where the trickiest wins. Rebekah’s wrongful intervention doesn’t reflect the purposes of God and must be seen as an item outside the script. Jacob himself isn’t entirely innocent. Remember that he bought the birthright all by himself without Rebekah’s influence. We can also see that Jacob’s issue with Rebekah’s ungodly plan is not that it is evil but rather that he will easily be caught. These two….!

Deception stayed with Jacob for the rest of his life. We shall see how Jacob was deceived by Laban regarding his beloved Rachael and given Leah instead. We shall see how his own sons deceived him over the fake death of his beloved son Joseph. Unless sin is subjected to the blood in serious confession it stays and is the cause of much, much trouble….it’s a demon that returns with even more brutal consequences.

From this moment we shall follow the blessed Jacob through thin and thick, (mostly thick – thanks to his ungodly actions). But the LORD remains faithful and the blessing stays.

And this promise of 10%? What is Jacob doing? Buy another blessing?

Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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