Jacob’s dreams teach us about God’s ways of speaking and how long-term prophetic words are fulfilled in their appointed time. This post is based on Genesis chapters 25-35, and we discuss the following:
- Jacob the Dreamer and Deceiver
- *Helping God is Unnecessary*
- Jacob’s Ladder Dream
- *An Open Heaven is Available to Anyone with a Pure Heart toward God*
- Jacob’s Dreams of Meeting God
- *Supernatural Encounters cross from the Invisible to our Natural Realm*
- My Eye Sees You
- *Meeting God is Different from Hearing about Him or Praying to Him*
- Jacob’s Livestock Dreams
- *God gives Strategies through Dreams to Administer Justice*
- Laban Dreams about Jacob
- *God can and will Speak through a Dream to Anyone*
- Jacob’s Dreams: Location Matters
Jacob the Dreamer and Deceiver
Jacob was smart and business savvy but a shyster. After all, his name in Hebrew means deceiver or supplanter (one who takes another’s place). His older twin brother, Esau, was a hunter. However, Jacob stayed near home, probably raising the family’s livestock.
Without a doubt, Jacob learned a few things from their mother, Rebekah. She was a shepherdess before she married Jacob’s father, Isaac. (Rebekah grew up with her brother Laban the Aramean and ultimate scammer, who we will discuss shortly.) Jacob waited until Esau was hungry, then convinced Esau to sell his birthright (privilege granted to the firstborn) in exchange for a bowl of stew.
Rebekah probably told Jacob how the twins jostled in her womb, and God told her that the older would serve the younger. So, the two decided to help God with the prophecy. Then Rebekah devised a plan to help Jacob disguise himself to deceive his father into blessing him as the firstborn (Isaac had poor eyesight). Upon discovering his blessing was lost, Esau, twice robbed, intended to kill Jacob after their father died. (However, Isaac outlived that threat by twenty years.)
*Helping God is Unnecessary*
The following Scripture illustrates that deception and manipulation are unnecessary to fulfill any God initiated prophecy. God had long pre-purposed which of the twins would be blessed.
And not only this, but when Rebekah also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” (Romans 9:10-13, NKJV)
Still, it was the perfect time for Jacob to leave to visit his Uncle Laban in Haran (modern-day Syria) to find a wife from his mother’s relatives.
Jacob’s Ladder Dream
Jacob’s journey to Haran likely took several weeks, if not months. One night, he put a stone at his head to rest. He saw a dream with “a ladder” and angels ascending and descending. We are unsure of the ladder design since Heaven’s technology far exceeds Earth’s. Nevertheless, Jacob saw God at the top of the ladder, who gave him a promise.
And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” (Genesis 28: 13-15)
*An open heaven is available to anyone with a pure heart toward God*
Centuries later, Jesus promised His new disciple Nathanael he would have a similar open-heaven encounter, for his heart was without guile. (John 1:47, Psalm 24:4)
And He [Jesus] said to him [Nathanael], “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:51, NKJV)
Jacob’s Dreams of Meeting God
His grandfather Abraham described God as his Friend, and his father called God his Fear, but Jacob had never personally met God.
Jacob’s experience was equivalent to growing up in church, knowing all the hymns or worship songs and hearing about the supernatural glory stories, challenges, and victories. For example, he probably heard about Abraham’s meeting with Melchizedek and Isaac’s near-death experience. Also, how Abraham’s Intercession spared his nephew Lot’s life before sulfur fire rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah. Isaac possibly told Jacob about his 100-fold harvest amid a famine. Not to mention the events that preceded Isaac’s meeting with his wife, Rebekah. Jacob understood spiritual protocol because he built an altar where he saw God and named the place Bethel (House of God).
Jacob’s dreams and encounters reveal that he was a seer. He could see dimensions invisible to the natural world. For example, angels of God met him on his way home. So, he called that place “Mahanaim.” (Genesis 32:1-2) Later, Jacob wrestled with (possibly the Angel of) the Lord and left that encounter victorious. He secured a blessing, a new name Israel, and a wounded hip as a trophy. (vs. 24-32)
Supernatural encounters are real and can cross dimensions from the invisible to our natural realm.
*Supernatural encounters cross from the invisible to our natural realm*
When God introduced himself to Jacob, He said “I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac.” Jacob’s dreams reveal how invested God is in seeing that His promises are fulfilled. Twenty years later, in another dream, God greeted Jacob saying, “I am the God of Bethel.”
My Eye Sees You
Job was a righteous man. (We know this because God honorably mentioned him in Ezekiel 14:14 along with two others, Noah and Daniel). Yet Job said,
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! (Job 42:5, MSG)
As God’s sheep, we hear His Voice through Scripture, dreams, sermons, and circumstances and follow Him (John 10: 27-28). However, meeting God is quite a different matter.
*Meeting God is different from hearing about Him or praying to Him*
We can be born-again, and spirit-filled Christians yet have never had a life-changing personal encounter by seeing God. Yet, that’s what happened to Jacob. He had a dream, and within that dream, he had a crystal-clear vision of God in “his form” (Numbers 12: 6-8, NKJV). He met God.
As He did for Jacob, God has promised to watch over us and guide us with His eye.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.
I will guide you with My eye. (Psalm 32:8, NKJV)
Jacob’s Livestock Dreams
As the story goes, Jacob met his match in his wealthy, influential, and deceptive Uncle Laban. Jacob worked seven years for Laban to pay a bride price for Laban’s daughter Rachel. However, Laban conveniently ignored the agreement and gave his elder daughter, Leah, as a bride. Jacob was distraught but because of his love for Rachel, he agreed to work another seven years to have her.
God was watching. Jacob’s divinely inspired dreams gave him strategies to outsmart his uncle and punish Laban for his injustice. As instructed, Jacob offered to take the spotted and dark livestock as his wages. With an unusual tool (some stripped bark), his livestock reproduced more vigorously than Laban’s.
*God gives strategies through dreams to administer justice*
Jacob prospered exceedingly and became a very wealthy man. Then, in his 20th year on the job, God told Jacob to leave and return home. Jacob left promptly with his wives, children, servants and livestock without saying goodbye to Laban.
Laban Dreams about Jacob
A furious Laban and his sons caught up with Jacob. However, God warned Laban through a dream to not harm Jacob. So, Laban could only accuse Jacob of taking his missing idols (unbeknownst to Jacob, Rachel was the thief).
*God can and will speak through a dream to anyone*
This was not the first time God used a dream to warn an enemy of His covenant (Genesis 20:1-7).
Jacob’s Dreams: Location Matters
Jacob wrestled with (possibly an angel of) the Lord and left that encounter victoriously with a blessing and an injury as a reminder. This shows us that supernatural encounters are very real and can cross dimensions from the invisible to our natural realm.
Then, after he reconciled with his brother Esau, a wealthy man, Jacob settled near Shechem in Canaan. Jacob figured that anywhere in Canaan would be fine since God told him he would inherit the land. So, Jacob built an altar to God there. Unfortunately, he miscalculated.
*Location and timing are important to God*
Shechem was in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Misfortunes followed Jacob. First, his daughter Dinah was violated by the heir of Shechem, who wanted her for his wife. Then, in retaliation, Jacob’s sons deceived the town’s men into being circumcised but killed them all three days later.
Jacob was beyond distressed, but God reminded him that He was the God of Bethel. So, when Jacob got rid of the idols in his camp, prepared his family, and relocated to the right place, Bethel, God met him there. In bringing Jacob back to the land, God shows us how He closely watches over His Word to perform it.
To recap, we do not need to help God to fulfill what He has spoken. God wants us to encounter open heavens, angels and to meet Him at specific places and times. God speaks through dreams to provide strategies, bring corrections and to warn those who hinder His plans. We can certainly learn a lot from Jacob’s dreams!