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“I want to hear more about your visions from God,” Zilpah said after they’d given their orders to the server and set aside their menus. “Or are they too intimate to share?”
The dining room was set with elegant tablecloths and fine dishes of glazed pottery. There were candles lit throughout the room and the ambiance was more romantic than Jacob had ever known. Mostly he ate with his parents or in a cafeteria at the university. Sitting at the head of a table surrounded by four of the most beautiful women he’d ever met was a new experience.
He took a drink of ice water and tried to decide how best to frame an answer. “Well… I guess… they are quite intimate. But if you think you can handle some pretty spiritual topics, I’m willing to share them with you.”
All four girls nodded with enthusiasm.
“We would really love to know more,” Bilhah said with a smile. She had a youthful countenance, almost playful. The other three women were exotic beauties with caramel skin and flowing, dark hair. Bilhah was lighter skinned and had freckles.
Jacob realized he’d been gazing at Bilhah too long and cleared his throat, looking down at the table in front of him as if that alone could shake away his unease. A warmth surrounded his heart, and he wondered if he could carry on the remainder of the conversation with his eyes drawn to his plate.
“Well, my most recent vision happened just a few days ago while I was visiting my grandfather in Bethel.” He chanced a look up at his little captive audience and met each of their gazes briefly. “I saw a ladder… extending up to heaven.”
“That must have been a really long ladder.” Zilpah’s voice held awe and complete trust. She wasn’t mocking him, and he appreciated that. Her greenish gold eyes sparkled in the light from the candles, and Jacob almost couldn’t stop staring at her.
“It was. I couldn’t see the top of the ladder, but I knew the angels who were using the ladder were descending from and ascending to heaven.”
“You saw angels also?” Leah’s soft expression was filled with hope, as if she’d always wanted to know if angels were real. Jacob answered her unspoken question.
“Yes, angels are real, and they were right in front of me.”
“Did they speak to you?” Rachel asked, leaning forward with excitement. Jacob was reminded of their conversation the previous evening and understood that Rachel desperately wanted to hear God’s messages.
“Not really, no.” Jacob shook his head in contemplation. “I don’t remember them saying anything, just that I knew I was seeing the gate of heaven. And I knew that the rungs of the ladder represented the covenants I make with God.”
“That is the most incredible thing I’ve ever heard,” Rachel whispered.
Jacob boldly took her hand and gave it a light squeeze, again desiring to kiss this extraordinary woman. “I must say, this has been a cherished conversation.” He glanced up and met the gaze of each woman in turn. “Most people mock my visions and promptings, calling me a kook or a visionary man.”
“You are… a visionary man, I mean,” Leah said with awe. “In a really, really good way.”
“Thank you.” Jacob gulped and glanced again at his place setting and then at his hand that was still adjoined to Rachel’s. “I hope you don’t all run screaming to find someone who will lock me in a mental institution and throw away the key.”
Rachel clasped Jacob’s hand just a little tighter. “I plan to spend some time on my knees this evening, asking God to help me understand your vision of this ladder that reaches to heaven.”
“Me too,” Leah said. The other two nodded, with faith and hope in their countenance.
The spell around the table was broken by a server placing dishes of food before them. When they had all been served and before any of them had taken a bite, Jacob took a hold of Leah’s hand with his free one, then glanced over at Bilhah and Zilpah, indicating they should join hands around the table, then he bowed his head.
“Thank you, God, for this bountiful meal that you have placed before us. Please bless the food to be nourishing for our bodies, and please bless the hands that prepared it. We thank you for this time that we have to share this meal and ask that your Spirit will attend us and enlighten us. Please guide our path and help us to see your will for our lives. Amen.”
“Amen,” the ladies each echoed.
As he picked up his fork, a thought occurred to Jacob. In his prayer he had asked God to guide their path. Singular. As if the five of them were on the same path. He knew, in that moment, that he had been brought to this place at this time to lead these four choice daughters of God in the path they should follow. He felt the weight of that responsibility and added one additional silent prayer. God, help me to lead them in righteousness.
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