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. 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.”
~ Genesis 28:14-15
In his dream, Jacob sees angels ascending and descending on a stairway or ladder, and above it he sees the Lord standing. God assures him that he is the God of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac. The Lord promises to be with Jacob and then repeats the promise he made to Abraham. And this time, instead of mentioning stars, God uses the image of dust spreading east and west to describe just how expansive Jacob’s descendants will be.
As a part of this promise we hear God say again, “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and through your offspring” (Genesis 12:3; 22:18).
Here at Bethel (which means “house of God”) we see a touchpoint with God’s promise of redemption that runs through the entire Bible. To redeem his children, God chooses Abraham’s family, and through Jacob’s descendants, who become the people of Israel, God brings his Son into the world to save Abraham’s spiritual family, made up of all who trust in God.
Like many of the stories throughout the Old Testament, the one about Jacob’s dream is a Christmas story. And in it we see and anticipate the coming of our Savior. In our anticipation and longing, may we live with hope for the coming of God’s kingdom.