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New Identity -Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

Genesis 28:10-15

10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”


Jacob was a young man running for his life. He had deceived their father Isaac, and stolen his brother Esau's birthright. Esau was a hunter, and he planned to kill Jacob as soon as their father Isaac died, so Jacob had to flee. He planned to stay with his uncle Laban for a while, so he traveled all day until night fall, then found a place to sleep. As Jacob lay down to get some rest that night, God appeared to him in a dream and He told him many things that were to come. He encouraged Jacob and told him ' I am with you, and will keep you, wherever you go.'

His name means 'He cheats, the heel' yet God was not interested in Jacob's past. He spoke only of his future. As Jacob lived his life, and spent time wrestling with God, he became a different man. God eventually changed Jacob's name to 'Israel' meaning 'Who prevails with God' (Genesis 32:28).

Decades later when Jacob returned to Bethel, the place where he had the dream, he was healthy, wealthy, married, had a dozen children, many servants, a great testimony, and a new name. The Lord fulfilled His promises to Jacob just as He had spoken, but during the process, Jacob turn to become a better man.

God always sees the potential in us and He calls us into our future, even though some of us could use a new identity like Jacob. God is faithful to provide what we need when we put Him first in our lives, even a completely new identity. We can become better than we are. We do not have to be who we were in the past.

The things that the Lord has spoken to your heart, He will fulfill, no matter how impossible or unlikely it appears. Hang on in faith. Know that we will see the goodness of God, in the land of the living. Though it seems long, wait for it, for it will surely come.


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