|William Blake, Stairway to Heaven
Jacob’s Dream at Bethel
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.
I love this. Prayer is the stairway to heaven. Heaven opens to us anywhere, and at any time, we sit down and send up the magic staircase.
A ladder between heaven and earth. God now dwells as much on earth as in heaven.
The only pre-conditions I think for setting up and anchoring this staircase are a repentant heart. A pure heart, preferably, and if not, a heart that by repentance is purified.
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.
A free gift given to the schemer.
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,
Sweet words of promise repeated by Christ
and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Again, sweet words to strengthen Jacob through many years of travail.
Jacob Arrives in Paddan Aram
1 Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples. 2 There he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large. 3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.
Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel
After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”
31 When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.
God in his own way is just. “Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I complain to thee,/ Yet I would plead my case before thee.” Jeremiah 12.
32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
Interestingly, the one for whom she praised God, rather than used as a sure basis for gaining the love of Jacob, proved the ancestor of Jesus.
“The heart has its reasons of which reason never dreams,” Blaise Pascal. If love does not come freely, it is near impossible for it to be “earned,” as Leah sadly discovers.