1. RUNNING FOR HIS LIFE
a. What did Esau determine to do after realizing that he had lost the birthright to his brother? Genesis 27:41.
b. To protect her younger son from Esau’s rage, what was Rebekah compelled to advise Jacob to do—and how did the length of time end up being different than what she expected? Genesis 27:42–45.
“Rebekah repented in bitterness for the wrong counsel which she gave to Jacob, for it was the means of separating him from her forever. He was compelled to flee for his life from the wrath of Esau, and his mother never saw his face again.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, pp. 115, 116.
c. How was Isaac eventually to mature in understanding about the birthright?
“Isaac lived many years after he gave Jacob the blessing, and was convinced, by the course of Esau and Jacob, that the blessing rightly belonged to Jacob.”—Ibid., p.116.
2. SOBRIETY AND SOLITUDE
a. Reluctantly sending Jacob forth as heir to the birthright, what wise, spiritual appeal did his parents make? Genesis 27:46; 28:1–5.
“Threatened with death by the wrath of Esau, Jacob went out from his father’s home a fugitive; but he carried with him the father’s blessing; Isaac had renewed to him the covenant promise, and had bidden him, as its inheritor, to seek a wife of his mother’s family in Mesopotamia.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 183.
b. Why is this type of appeal strongly needed also today? Matthew 24:37, 38.
“What of the marriage relation today? Is it not perverted and defiled, made even as it was in Noah’s day?”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, p. 56.
“Satan will use every device in leading young men to form marriage connections which will defeat the purpose of God. He will seek to lower the standard of spirituality and holiness, so that the church will not be a living, working church, and its members be fitting themselves to work in the cause of God.”—Ibid., vol.12, p. 283.
c. Describe the type of experience Jacob suffered when compelled to journey far from the security of home. Genesis 28:10; Psalm 102:6–8.
“It was with a deeply troubled heart that Jacob set out on his lonely journey. With only his staff in his hand he must travel hundreds of miles through a country inhabited by wild, roving tribes. In his remorse and timidity he sought to avoid men, lest he should be traced by his angry brother. He feared that he had lost forever the blessing that God had purposed to give him; and Satan was at hand to press temptations upon him.
“The evening of the second day found him far away from his father’s tents. He felt that he was an outcast, and he knew that all this trouble had been brought upon him by his own wrong course. The darkness of despair pressed upon his soul, and he hardly dared to pray.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 183.
3. DESPERATION, THEN HOPE
a. How was Jacob’s night? Genesis 28:11.
“[Jacob] was so utterly lonely that he felt the need of protection from God as he had never felt it before. With weeping and deep humiliation he confessed his sin, and entreated for some evidence that he was not utterly forsaken. Still his burdened heart found no relief. He had lost all confidence in himself, and he feared that the God of his fathers had cast him off.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 183.
b. When our future appears dark and dismal, why can we be encouraged by the God of Jacob? Psalm 20:1–3; Isaiah 57:15.
“God did not forsake Jacob. His mercy was still extended to His erring, distrustful servant.”—Ibid.
“At all times and in all places, in all sorrows and in all afflictions, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone, the Comforter will be sent in answer to the prayer of faith. Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, He is always at our right hand to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 669, 670.
c. What happened as Jacob slept—and for what purpose? Genesis 28:12.
“Jacob’s experience as a wanderer from his home, when he was shown the mystic ladder, on which descended and ascended the angels of heaven, was designed to teach a great truth in regard to the plan of salvation. The purposes of God were opened to the discouraged man, who felt himself cut off from God and man. In marvelous love, Christ presented before him in a dream the way of life. The truth was unfolded before him in the emblem, and its significance is as great in our day as it was in his.”—The Review and Herald, November 11, 1890.
4. ASSURANCE TO THE MEEK
a. What gracious promises did the God of heaven shower upon His repentant child? Genesis 28:13–15.
“The brightness from the throne of God beamed down upon this ladder and reflected a light of inexpressible glory upon the earth. This ladder represented Christ, who had opened the communication between earth and heaven.
“In Christ’s humiliation He descended to the very depths of human woe in sympathy and pity for fallen man, which was represented to Jacob by one end of the ladder resting upon the earth, while the top of the ladder, reaching unto heaven, represents the divine power of Christ grasping the Infinite and thus linking earth to heaven and finite man to the infinite God. Through Christ the communication is opened between God and man. Angels may pass to and fro from heaven to earth with messages of love to fallen man, and to minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation. It is through Christ alone that the heavenly messengers minister to men.”—Confrontation, p. 46.
b. What made the dream so significant? Psalm 37:11; Philippians 2:5–7.
“Let earth be glad, let the inhabitants of the world rejoice, that Christ has bridged the gulf which sin had made, and has bound earth and heaven together. A highway has been cast up for the ransomed of the Lord. The weary and heavy laden may come unto Him, and find rest to their souls. The pilgrim may journey toward the mansions that He has gone to prepare for those who love Him.
“In assuming humanity, Christ planted the ladder firmly upon the earth. The ladder reaches unto the highest heaven, and God’s glory shines from its summit and illuminates its whole length, while the angels pass to and fro with messages from God to man, with petition and praise from man to God. Through the divine nature, Christ was one with the Father; and by assuming humanity, He identified Himself with man. . . . [Philippians 2:6, 7 quoted.] In the vision of Jacob was represented the union of the human and the divine in Christ.
“As the angels pass to and fro on the ladder, God is represented as looking down with favor upon the children of men because of the merit of His Son.”—The Review and Herald, November 11, 1890.
5. JACOB’S SOLEMN VOW
a. How can Jacob’s vow at Bethel be an inspiration to us? Genesis 28:16–22.
“Jacob was not here seeking to make terms with God. The Lord had already promised him prosperity, and this vow was the outflow of a heart filled with gratitude for the assurance of God’s love and mercy.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 187.
“Jacob made his vow while refreshed by the dews of grace and invigorated by the presence and assurance of God. After the divine glory had passed away, he had temptations, like men in our time, but he was faithful to his vow and would not harbor thoughts as to the possibility of being released from the pledge which he had made. He might have reasoned much as men do now, that this revelation was only a dream, that he was unduly excited when he made his vow, and that therefore it need not be kept; but he did not. . . .
“Jacob gave the tenth of all that he had, and then reckoned the use of the tenth, and gave the Lord the benefit of that which he had used for his own interest during the time he was in a heathen land and could not pay his vow. This was a large amount, but he did not hesitate; that which he had vowed to God he did not regard as his, but as the Lord’s.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 466, 467.
“How small the estimate; how vain the endeavor to measure with mathematical rules, time, money, and love, against a love so immeasurable and a gift of such inconceivable worth. Tithes for Christ! Oh, meager pittance, shameful recompense for that which cost so much! From the cross of Calvary, Christ calls for an unreserved consecration. All that we have, all that we are, should be devoted to God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 188.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can I avoid the bitter experience suffered by Rebekah?
2. When suffering from loneliness as did Jacob, what must we remember?
3. What is my Heavenly Father revealing to me through Jacob’s dream?
4. What happens as the angels ascend and descend the ladder?
5. How can I be more deeply touched by Jacob’s vow to God?