In Genesis 28:10-22, Jacob is leaving home for the first time because his brother Esau wants to kill him for stealing his birthright and blessing. Jacob stops for the night, uses a rock for a pillow, goes to sleep and has a dream. Now, not all dreams are from God, but God can and does sometimes speak to people in dreams. Jacob doesn’t have a lot going for him right now, except that God has already decided to use him. (Genesis 25:23) He is a liar and a schemer. His most recent scheme was to steal his brother’s blessing from his old, senile and blind dad. Nice guy. Now, on the run, Jacob stops for the night, uses a rock for a pillow, falls asleep and has a dream.
Not all dreams are from God, for sure. But God can and sometimes does work through dreams. In this dream, God comes down from heaven on a ladder and meets with Jacob. Jacob has not trusted God at this point. We know that from his prayer in verses 20-22. Jacob is saying, “IF God will do this, this, and this, then I will do this, this and this.” He doesn’t really have a faith of his own yet. He is still forming that. The Bible says this is how all of us are until God tracks us down. Read what Ephesians 2:1-3 says about our condition:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
This is why an unbeliever can read the same Scriptures that, to a believer are so full of life and significance, and they do nothing for him. The Bible says that we are born spiritually dead. This is a consequence of the fall. (Romans 6:23) Only God can bring life to something that is dead. (Ephesians 2:4-5) We are hopeless until God tracks us down. God is always the pursuer. We are always the pursued.
Re-read Genesis 28:13-15. Check out what Galatians 3:16 says about the word “offspring” that is used 3 times in these three verses (and also in this same promise, which was given to his grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac:
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)
Jacob isn’t a believer in God yet, but God is telling him, “One of your descendants will be the One that I am going to send to be the Redeemer.”