Good morning!
Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants.  Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! (Genesis 28:13, 14a)

Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.  He traveled about 1,000 km (i.e, 600 miles) and arrived at Canaan, the promised land.   However, his journey was not over.   He had to move around the land of Canaan as a foreign where many other tribes already occupied and lived.   Due to the server famine, he had to move down to Egypt, where he could have lost his own wife to the Egyptians.  However, God protected Abraham, his wife, his households and belongs and safely brought him back to Canaan.   Indeed, his journey was not easy, but he had never forgotten one thing – wherever he went, he built an alter to God, and worshipped God by calling His name.  
During this time, Abraham had to patiently endure in his faith while deepening relationship with God.    Of course, God did not let Abraham alone.  God appeared and gave his covenant three times.   How good God was to Abraham!   God appeared to Abraham, and encouraged Abraham with His increasingly greater blessings.    To make His blessings unforgettable, God permanently changed his name from Abram (a father of one nation) to Abraham (a father of many nations).   This clearly shows God’s character and His goodness.   Abraham held tight God in faith, and God continuously blessed Abraham throughout his journey in the foreign land.  
After all, the foreign land was the very nature of God blessing.   Why?   The challenging life in the foreign land was indeed the conduit for blessings to Abraham.  The challenging life led Abraham to a deepening relationship with God.   Abraham walked the walk obediently calling His name wherever he went, and God was with Abraham.   Eventually, out of the faithful walk, Abraham became the father of all believers including you and me.   Thus, we cannot be dismayed or disappointed due to the world around us.   Abraham could endure all circumstances by faith and continue living God-centered life by building an alter and calling his name.  So we can endure like Abraham by faith and continue living out God-centered life.  Especially, our help comes from the Holy Spirit, residing in our heart as Advocator, who will never leave us.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.  (John 14:16)
Abraham proved his faith before God.   God truly pleased with Abraham, and blessed Abraham more and more.   Abraham saw his own son, Isaac. And also saw his two grandsons, Esau and Jacob.  Sarah, his wife, was barren, but Abraham endured in faith.    Was Abraham perfect before God?   No, he was not.  Like us, sometimes he struggled while slowly losing his faith.   Then God appeared and helped Abraham, who was struggling between God’s promise to be a great nation and the cold reality of not being able to have his own son.  Yes, our God is love and His goodness never ceases.   Thus, our faith will never fail.   Why?  God is with us always, even in this moment whether we struggle against the cold reality or not.   In fact, His loving hand always protects us against the cold reality, and we can continue our journey with Him while deepening our relationship with Him.   Indeed, this is our faith and hope promised by God to each of us.  Thus, we cannot be dismayed or discouraged.  When we meet challenges in our life, we can be calm and confront our life storm in Him.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)
Isaac, Abraham’s son had a blessed life like Abraham.   Isaac was obedient to God since he was a young man.   When Isaac was offered as sacrifice, he was a much stronger young man than his father, who way passed his 100 years of age.   Abraham could not match his strong son in physical strength.   Even so, Isaac did not resist and obediently accepted God’s will to be a sacrifice.  God immediately stopped Abraham’s raised hand to sacrifice Isaac before the faiths of Abraham and Isaac.   Indeed, Isaac’s faith was as great as that of his father, Abraham.   God saw Isaac’s faith, and blessed Isaac.   God gave twin sons: Esau and Jacob to Isaac.  Abraham saw these two grandchildren, and he was greatly pleased.  

Between Esau and Jacob, there was a typical rivalry between two brothers.   The rivalry was indeed started since their twin birth.   The younger Jacob was born with his hand grasping Esau’s heel.   Later Jacob purchased the older brother’s birthright with one bowl of lentil stew by alluring Esau who was truly hungry after all day hunting.    Esau gladly sold his birthright for one bowl of stew.   It was not the end of the rivalry between Esau and Jacob.   Isaac became very old, and could not see well.   Isaac wanted to give his blessing to his sons by the natural birth order before he died.   By taking advantage of Isaac’s poor eye sight, Isaac deceived Isaac, and successfully received his father’s blessing.   Isaac did not know he was actually blessing Jacob instead of Esau.   Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, instigated this plot with Jacob because she loved Jacob more than Esau.   Esau soon found out this deceptive plot, and was so angry.  Esau decided to kill Jacob.   To save Jacob’s life, Rebekah hurriedly sent away Jacob to Laban, her brother.   Jacob was ended up living his home, and had to make a journey to his uncle’s house in Haran.   
Some of you still remember that Abraham initially received God’s promise when he was in Haran, where all of Abraham’s extended families lived together.   Upon receiving the God’s promise, Abraham left Haran with his wife.  Only Lot, his nephew followed.    The distance between where Jacob’s house in Beersheba, Canaan and Haran was about 1,000 km (i.e., 600 miles).    Abraham made this long journey from Haran to Canaan, and now Jacob about to travel back to Haran while following the same route that Abraham traveled.   Only was the difference that Jacob was alone.   The land standing before him was unimaginably huge and very little known to Jacob.  Jacob was completely overwhelmed by the size and the distance that he had to travel.    However, there was no other option.   Jacob committed the sin against Esau, and Jacob started experiencing the magnitude of his sin.    However, nobody could unload the weight of the sin.   The weight of sin was truly heavy, but Jacob had to bear.  

Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran alone.  At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep.  He was so tired, and he got into a deep sleep alone under the dark night sky.   Jacob was sleeping alone, but God was there with Jacob.   Jacob did not know God was with him at the very moment of the most difficult and lowest time of his life, Yes, God was with Jacob, because God loved Jacob so much.  Jacob felt he was alone under the dark night sky, but God was the blanket for his sleep in the wilderness. 
Jacob dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.

At the top of the stairway stood God, and He said,
“I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”  (Genesis 28:13-15)
God, full of love, compassion and mercy, appeared and blessed Jacob, who was in fear of his future and in pain of his own sin.   God promised the same blessing that was originally given to Abraham. 
At that time, Jacob was most vulnerable.    Behind him, there was Esau, who wanted to kill him due to his sin that deceived both Esau, his brother and Isaac, his father.   In front of him, there was a huge wilderness.    Only by passing through the wilderness, he could get to his uncle’s house in Haran.   By the way, he had never talked with his uncle, Laban, and he had never been Haran before, where his uncle Laban lived.   He was once told that his grandfather came from the land of Haran, and Haran was really far away.   At that time, traveling 1,000 km was extremely risk.  There was no good road nor a cell phone to make a call to his uncle Laban before his departure as well as on his journey to his uncle’s house.  Many dangers of unknown people, animals and lands were waiting for him.   Although Jacob was in extreme fear, but he was so tired, and slept under a dark night sky alone.  Indeed, it was a real God’s blessing that he could sleep in the wilderness laying his head on a stone.  How many people can actually sleep alone in such a place?    
Additionally, Jacob had no idea about Laban as a person.    He heard about Laban through his mother, but he could not really tell whether Laban was a good man or not, and would be kind to him or not.   Can you imagine about you who was about to leave your home and to make a journey through unknown lands for 1,000 km to meet your uncle whom you have never met before?   Very few would choose to travel.   However, Jacob had to take this extremely hard and risk trip to his uncle, Laban.  What he knew was just the name of his uncle never met, which was told by his mother.  But God came to Jacob sleeping under the dark night sky alone in his dream, and gave His promise.
Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”  But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!”

The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it.  He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz.
What was the first thing that Jacob did in the following early morning?    He built an alter to God and worshipped God by calling His name as Abraham, his grandfather, did.   Like Abraham, Jacob believed God, and His promise.   Of course, this was not done by Jacob, but by God and His Good Will toward Jacob in His Unfathomable Love.   God loved Jacob, who was alone and sleeping under the dark night sky.   God came to Jacob, and comforted Jacob by giving His promise in His love according to His Infinitely Good Will.   Let’s remember that when God appeared to Jacob, he was the lowest part of his life and was in his extreme fear of his life and his future.   Thus, we should not fear or dismay before our life storm.   The same God who appeared to Jacob finds us while extending His loving hand toward us, who are at the lowest part of our live.   This is His love and our faith in hope.   Thus, we can stand firm in the mist of our life storm while holding tight His promise made out of His love and receive His peace that transcends all understanding.   Thus, we cannot stop praising Him with our loudest voice.    Praise Him!  Praise Him!    He is worthy of our loudest praise, especially in the time of needs!
Nearer, My God, to Thee by Sarah Flower Adams
    Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
    E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
    Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,
        Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
    Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
    Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
    Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,
        Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
    There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;
    All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n;
    Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,
        Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
    Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
    Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
    So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,
        Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
    Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
    Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
    Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,
        Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)

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