Jacob dreams of a stairway to heaven
Reading of July 10, 2017: Gn 28:10-22a
Abraham's son, Isaac, married a woman named Rebekah. Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons, Esau and Jacob.
When Isaac was an old man with poor eyesight, he decided it was time to give his blessing to his older son, Esau.
Isaac called Esau to his tent and asked for his favorite dish of game to eat. Isaac said he would bless Esau once he was done eating.
Rebekah overheard the conversation. After Esau left to go hunting, she decided to trick Isaac into blessing Jacob. She did this because God had told her that her younger child would serve the older one.
She told Jacob to dress in Esau's clothes and wear goatskins on his arms and neck, because Esau was very hairy. Rebekah then prepared some goat meat in the way her husband liked.
Jacob brought the food to his father. Isaac felt Jacob's hands and neck and thought it was Esau. So Isaac ate his meal then blessed Jacob.
When Esau returned from hunting and realized Isaac had been deceived into blessing Jacob, Esau was so mad that he wanted to kill his brother.
Rebekah told Jacob to flee from Esau and stay with her brother, Laban, in Haran.
During his trip to Haran, Jacob stayed the night near a shrine at a place called Luz.
As he slept, Jacob dreamed about a stairway leading up to heaven, and he saw God's angels going up and down it.
Then God spoke to him.
"The land on which you are lying I will give to you and your descendants. These shall be as plentiful as the dust of the earth," God told Jacob. "Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land."
"How awesome is this shrine!" Jacob said when he awoke. "This is nothing else but an abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven!"
Jacob made a memorial stone, poured oil on it and called the site Bethel.
"If God remains with me, to protect me on this journey I am making and to give me enough bread to eat and clothing to wear, and I come back safe to my father's house, the Lord shall be my God," Jacob declared.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. What did Jacob do that angered his brother, Esau?
2. Where did Jacob flee to safety?
ESSAY: Jacob trusted God to help and guide him through life. How do you trust God to help and guide you through your life?
Before Jacob left for Haran, his father, Isaac, told him not to marry a Canaanite woman, but to marry a daughter of Laban, Jacob's uncle.
When Jacob finally made it to Haran, he met Rachel, the younger of Laban's two daughters. Jacob and Rachel fell in love, and Jacob promised to work for Laban for seven years if he could marry Rachel.
Laban agreed -- sort of!
When the seven years were up, Laban arranged for Jacob to marry Rachel. But in Haran, it was a custom for the older daughter to be married before the younger one. So Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah, Rachel's older sister.
When Jacob realized that the woman he had just married was not Rachel, he was very upset. Laban said that Jacob could marry Rachel also -- but in return he had to work for Laban for seven more years.
During the time Jacob spent in Haran, he had 11 children. After Jacob had worked for his father-in-law for 20 years, God spoke to Jacob.
"Return to the land of your ancestors, where you were born, and I will be with you," God told him.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in a Mohawk village near what is now Auriesville, New York. When she was a little girl, she was disfigured and partially blinded during a smallpox epidemic that killed her family.
She was baptized by a French missionary who had visited her village. When her Catholic faith caused problems for her in her village, she moved to a Native American community near Montreal. She was known for her kindness and she was very well liked by the Native Americans and the French in Montreal.
Kateri died in 1680, and in 2012 she was canonized, becoming the first Native American saint. We remember her on July 14.
Put a T next to the sentences that are true and an F next to the ones that are false. Hints have been provided.
1. ___ Jacob had a daughter named Diana. (Genesis 30:21)
2. ___ Jacob's favorite child was Joseph. (Genesis 37:3)
3. ___ God changed Jacob's name to Israel. (Genesis 35:10)
4. ___ Esau never forgave Jacob. (Genesis 33:4)
Answers: 1. F; 2. T; 3. T; 4. F