Back to our story about Jacob. He fell asleep. And he had a dream. More real than any dream.
He fell asleep. And he had a dream. More real than any dream ever. When he talked about it later, he said that there was a ladder. That he saw angels moving between God and him. And that he heard God making promises to him.
When he woke up, he was trembling. Because he had heard God for the first time speaking directly to him.
He’d heard his grandfather Abraham’s stories, stories of God making a promise. He heard his grandmother Sarah’s stories about being shocked with a baby. He’d heard his father’s story, once maybe, about starting to fear for his life as his dad pulled out a knife at the altar.
But he didn’t have his own God story. He had his stories about trying to be God, about trying to force the prophecies to be true. He was like his grandfather, helping God.
But now, even as he was preparing to leave the area where he grew up, as he was running for his life, God was telling him that this land would someday be his.
So Jacob turns the stone by his head into a marker. He pours oil on it, anoints it, to tell himself and God that it’s a sign of their conversation. And he makes a vow, a promise to God. “Bring me back here, and I’ll know that it was a real dream. And I’ll serve you.”
I’ve got a few observations from this story (and a couple other texts that were part of the service where this meditation was first shared.)
Observation One: There isn’t a perfect biblical family. Or maybe, there aren’t families in the Bible that are perfect. This family that is on their way to becoming the chosen people aren’t chosen because they are so good or perfect. They are chosen because of God, not them.
There was jealousy and worry and teenage rebellion. There were parents who had favorites, and sibling rivalry. Abraham was human. Isaac was human. Jacob was human. They thought normal human scheming thoughts. They did normal human scheming things. And God loved them and worked with them.
So quit trying so hard to make each other perfect.
This is part two of a reflection from Genesis 27-28. Part three on Thursday.