Gideon overcame his fear and inferiority complex. He became the leader of 300 valiant warriors by understanding his enemy’s dream. The adversary of Gideon dreamed that a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the Midian camp, and the loaf struck a tent with such force that the tent collapsed. Gideon’s enemy revealed the meaning of the dream. The collapse of the tent was “nothing else but the sword of Gideon. Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.”
After hearing this dream and its interpretation, Gideon had the confidence to follow the Lord’s instruction. By culling his army of over twenty-two thousand men down to a streamlined, faith-filled remnant of three hundred soldiers, God, not man, received the glory for defeating the enemy. Gideon and his men fought, but God gave the line of attack, and won the battle. Victory is not achieved on the broad expansive thoroughfares of life, but on the narrow, succinct paths. Dreams only seem impossible when we view them through eyes of fear.
When we behold their wisdom with eyes of faith they become a living reality. Facing the ugly monsters in our dreams takes courage, but conquering those same monsters in our waking life requires trust and humble submission to God. (Judges 7:13–18)
Destiny Dreams—Jacob’s Ladder Creative Illustration
The voice of his beloved mother still rang in his ears. Her desperate pleas for him to take care and leave quickly prodded him along the rock-strewn road. He would obey his parents’ desire for him to visit his cousin. There he would find safety for his life. There he would find a wife—one of his own clan. He moved quickly and ate sparingly from the goatskin filled with thick creamy camel’s milk. The need for a wife was a good cover. The real reason he fled for his life was the just anger of his brother, Esau. He needed to find a place to sleep. The sun was setting. His brother was furious and wanted him dead. It was a tricky plan, but all had gone as his mother had hoped.
He was now blessed by his father and was on his own, if only he could get safely away from his brother. Esau was a bloody man; always hunting and killing. He thought of the skins hanging around the walls of his father’s tent and strewn on the ground to conceal the desert below. The stagnant smell of dead animals clung to the hair of his brother’s arms. The remembrance of his brother’s heavy odor added to the weight of the air that hung so deep around his neck this night. Jacob neared Haran and lay down with a stone under his head. The flight into the night must have tired him more than he knew as he felt his eyelids drowsily slide over his eyes.
Exhausted, he quickly fell into sleep and started to dream. This was not an ordinary dream. He had never encountered this scene before. Usually he dreamed of bleating sheep and goats and caravans of camels, but in this dream the sky was clear and the stars danced. Their brilliance was mystical and they appeared larger than usual. They hung so close he thought he could reach up and touch them. As he gazed at the dream in wonder he saw a mystery in the night sky. The night appeared to split open as if a gate was swung wide.
This was not a bright star. It was much too brilliant and blinding to be a star. And the strangest vision was the form of a man beckoning to Jacob from the opening in the night sky. The illuminated figure stood at the pinnacle of what appeared to be a gleaming golden trellis or something more like a ladder.
Power and Destiny
Angels were moving up and down this translucent ladder almost effortlessly. Their incandescent wings were moving but it didn’t seem like they were needed to travel toward heaven or earth. They were both ascending and descending on this golden bright ladder, when the man at the top of the ladder spoke. His words sounded like that of his father’s blessing but this voice was more inspiring, more gripping. The sound was kind, yet it had such commanding depth and gravity that it sounded to Jacob like the voice of a King who was used to being heard and obeyed. What the voice said pierced his heart and he hung on every word.
He knew this was something special. He knew it was more than just a dream. He knew he had to remember what was said and that it would make a difference in his life, but there was little doubt he could ever forget the blessing uttered over him that night. “I am the lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants 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.”
When Jacob awoke he was trembling all over and could not keep his hands from shaking. “I will call this place the House of God, for surely, God is in this place.” But no one had ever told Jacob that God dwelled here. Jacob set up the stone that was under his head and poured oil on the top of the stone and called the place Bethel. Jacob knew the dream packed a power and a destiny he could not explain but it moved inside him and the blessing kept running over and over in his mind.
In answer to the man at the top of the ladder who stood in the open gate, Jacob promised that if God would make these things come to pass, then the lord would be his God. In his heart Jacob knew it would happen and to show his passion Jacob made a promise to give God a tenth of all that was given to him. The one thing that Jacob could not explain because it escaped his understanding was how his life would touch every family on earth. This seemed too much to believe but it was a wonder that filled him with hope to think how it would come to pass.
Jacob is often portrayed as a deceiver, a trickster or one who took any means or measures necessary to obtain the upper hand. Jacob went after Esau’s birthright and blessings, even if it meant he had to cheat, lie, and steal. But, on closer observation it becomes evident that Esau willingly surrendered his birthright for a simple bowl of soup; a most costly and immoral mistake. Jacob merely obeyed the commands of his mother Rebekah to gain the first born blessing.
Jacob protested that his actions, if discovered, could appear as deception and could bring a curse. His mother said she would gladly bear the curse so Jacob could gain the blessing of the first born. Yet God loved, sought out, and revealed himself to Jacob and he hated the immoral, godless Esau. God knew Jacob, a man of peace, would pursue him with passion.
Hebrews 12:14–17 tells us if we desire to see God we must “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.” (NASU)
Jacob’s sin, character flaws, and weaknesses did not cause God to rebuke, reject or desert him. It did, however, cause God to reveal himself to Jacob in an amazing spiritual encounter. The lord stood at the top of a heavenly ladder connecting heaven to earth. This heavenly door or gateway acted as an entrance for the angels to reach into Jacob’s destiny and dreams. The answers to the things we are missing or lacking in our character and lives are all held in heavenly chambers for us. Angelic messengers are able to ascend and descend eternity’s ladder to deliver gifts, messages of knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual vision to man. The greatest power in the universe is love.