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A Bridge and a Promise

Advent 2020: December 8
A Bridge and a Promise Hero Image A Bridge and a Promise Hero Image
Scripture:

“Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth 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 promised you.’ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.’ And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’

“So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.’” (Genesis 28:10-22)

Devotion:

Have you ever woken up from a dream and wondered about its meaning?

The Lord spoke to Jacob in a dream, and some of its meaning was clear: God promised to give Jacob and his offspring the land on which he was lying. He promised that Jacob’s descendants would become numerous and spread throughout the earth, and that through them all the families on earth would be blessed. For a young man who was still single and had no children and no permanent home, this was an amazing promise.

God always keeps His promises; Jacob’s family line would grow and become the nation of Israel. The land Jacob was lying in was Canaan, the Promised Land, the land that God would give to Israel. And despite Israel’s frequent disobedience, God would never leave them, because He had promised to finish what He started.

But what about the ladder? What was the meaning of this thing that carried angels and served as the bridge between heaven and earth? Many centuries later, Jesus would tell one of Jacob’s descendants, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). The ladder, the “bridge” connecting heaven and earth, was the Son of Man. The Son of Man, who came down from heaven, lived a perfect life, and died a terrible death but rose again. Through Him, all people on earth can be blessed, just as Jacob was promised. If anyone believes in Him, they can walk across that bridge from death on earth to eternal life with Him. The bridge, the ladder, is Jesus!

Questions:
  1. What promises did God make to Jacob in the dream? How did He fulfill all those promises?
  2. If you were Jacob, how would you have reacted to such a dream? Better yet, what does Jacob’s dream mean for you today?
  3. How is Jesus the ladder, or bridge, between us and God? How can we have life and a relationship with God because of Jesus? (Hint: see Titus 3:4-6)
Family Activity:

Draw a ladder on today’s ornament to represent Jacob’s dream. Talk about how it shows God’s plan to make a way for all people to return to Him. Do you know how to share the gospel using The Bridge illustration? If so, practice sharing it with each other. If not, google it or have someone show it to you. Pray for someone by name that you know who does not know the way to God and ask God to give you an opportunity to share the good news with them.