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Jacob's Dream - Click to view!Rest is something we seldom find in today's world. We chase those times where we can relax and just be. How often does sleep evade us for fitful nights of tossing and turning? When we choose to carve out our own existence instead of allowing God to work His perfect will in our lives, we strive for the unattainable and never find peace. We live like Jacob in the Old Testament, who schemed his way into the position of firstborn. Jason Upton writes the following about Jacob's hardships: "Jacob struggled most of his life to gain worth, ownership and recognition. He stole, he lied, and he wrestled all in a strife-filled attempts to be somebody. He never realized that in striving to be somebody he was actually neglecting the very person God created him to be, His friend. So God never blessed Jacob while he was striving, lying, competing, or cheating… but rather while he was sleeping."

Jacob's Dream is an album that invites the listener to return to the Father, for in Him we find our sense of true worth. It is in Him where genuine rest may be attained. The entire project consists of soft, slow movements; there's not a fast-paced song to be found. In many ways it feels like a lullaby set to delicate violin, piano, cello, and acoustic guitar. Each song is lengthy; some tracks almost hit ten minutes. The legato instrumentation allows the listener to unwind and enter a place of quiet, and often the only words sung come from violin strings and softly-touched ivories. The end of "Teach Me How To Pray" even ends with a good chunk of absolute silence, broken by Jason's far-away voice. He sings the phrase "Let it rain." This project goes beyond the earthly properties of music in order to encapsulate a spiritual movement.

The journey toward rest begins with "Psalm 23," the climax of the song being, "Surely goodness and mercy cover me / All the days of my life they cover me / Surely I'm gonna dwell in the house of the Lord / Forever and ever, forever and ever more." Once we have entered the house of the Lord, we discover the beauty of supernatural silence: "I'd rather stand here speechless / With no great words to say / If my silence is more truthful and my ears can hear how to walk in Your ways / In the silence You are speaking / In the quiet I can feel the fire / and it's burning, burning deeply / Burning all it is that You desire to be silent in me." This burning is a process. While being still in His presence, we allow the Holy Spirit to work a deep work. "Wait Upon the Wind" incorporates a similar theme. The song centers on Isaiah 40:31. As an eagle waits for the air currents to carry him high, Jason speaks of waiting on God to do what only He can do. Rather than running as Jacob in our own strength and resources, we can wait on God and embrace His power. By resting in Him, and patiently waiting for Him, He can teach us how to pray. Jason sings, "Not my will or my plans or the way that I want it / I'm so tired of my hands in the way / So reveal to these eyes the true heart of my Father today / Lord, teach me how to pray" ("Teach Me How to Pray"). While in the silence, while in the fire, our desires drop away so only His remain.

"Jacob's Dream" is the center of the record, incorporating all of the themes present. The song is sung from God's point of view, and He cries for Jacob's friendship, not his works of human righteousness. The chorus says, "Finally Jacob's lying down / And while he sleeps / I will dream of a generation not known for their crowns, or success, but a King / Who is not so much as interested in crowds, or pleasing man, but knowing Me." God longs for intimacy with His creation. Through this song one can hear the very heart cry of God. God's dream is not what we do, but how we exist. Do we run into His arms, or do we only pray when we need Him to work a favor? Are we seeking the accolades of man, or of the Father, who is the very definition of love?

Jacob's Dream spurs the listener to moments of quiet reflection. While it asks more questions than it answers, it does point people in the right direction. It provides a way for us as worshipers to reach His heart in a new way. It shows us the beauty of silence in His presence, and it shows us what it really means to rest.
- Hollie Stewart
April 2005
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