Genesis 28: 10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. 16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. 17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. 18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. 20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: 22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
Making your pillow into a pillar—an altar. Some things are pretty important to have around—your toothbrush, your coffee cup, your deodorant. Most of us like our pillow, the one we’re used to. Some people even take it with them when they travel. Some like a pillow soft; some hard. Some like them hard; some soft. It it’s too flat, what you ate might come back up on you. We depend on our pillows for a good night’s rest. Imagine Jacob using a stone for his pillow.
He was in a place called Luz, an oasis in the country. He was running from his brother Esau who wanted to kill him. He was far from home away from his own bed and his pillow. He probably didn’t take all the supplies he needed because he needed to get away so quickly. There were flat stones and the only thing to do was lie on the ground. He missed his pillow. Why do we take things for granted? With all the problems of life we tend to do that.
The Lord’s hand was on the home of Jacob. He deceived his father to get the birthright and snatched it from his brother Esau. Esau got so mad he wanted to kill Jacob. Esau was strong and a good hunter. If he got to him, Jacob would be in trouble. Their mother sent Jacob away. He was on the run. We can find ourselves like this. Life is good. Everything is falling in place. Then life throws a curve. Jacob found his life upside down. God was with Isaac and Rebekah and the boys. He was with Jacob on the run. He didn’t see God and didn’t realize he was there. Esau turned from God and the promise. He wanted to go his own way. We always have a choice—acknowledge God or not, listen to God or not. We can be defeated or we can overcome. The one who gives us victory is Jesus Christ.
Jacob knew he had to get sleep. The only thing for a pillow was a rock. That makes my head hurt to think about it. He couldn’t go back to his own bed. What he did couldn’t be undone. He longed for peace and sleep. Have your pillows turned hard and there seems to be no peace and comfort? Jacob was so caught up in what was going on that he failed to see what was around him. Somehow he found sleep and somehow God will make a way for us. Jacob had a dream. He saw a ladder that extended from where he was up, up, up. People were going up and down the ladder. Then he noticed they were not people. They were angels. Jacob had felt alone but angels were there with him. The day shift was going up while the night shift was coming down. God knows we need his presence 24/7.
The ladder was there. It was there before Jacob realized it was there. God’s ladder is already reaching down. We don’t need to ask for the ladder. It’s here. Recognize it. It is strong. Jesus told Nathanael that he had seen him earlier under the fig tree. Then he believed. He said Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. Someone was beyond the top of the ladder. Verse 13 says the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. The God of Abel, of Noah, of Abraham was at the top. He was the God of his father Jacob. He’s still God. You may find no place to rest. Look around for the ladder. Jesus is still here. God is still above the ladder. The cross of Calvary remains the source of salvation.
When Jacob awoke he was all torn up. His first move was to worship. He took the pillow and set it up as a pillar. He poured oil on it and called on God. He called it the house of God. I’m thankful for this house of God, but I am thankful that in the middle of the week no matter how hard our pillow gets, there is a ladder sent down from God. He will help us. Go to sleep in the arms of Jesus. Hold to the ladder. Someone is coming to help you.
Until we’re carried home, the ladder will always be right by our bedside. The best thing is to do like Jacob. Take the pillows of stone and make an altar. Let God do the rest.