Ladder reading: Genesis 28:12-15
Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, is at the center of our story today. He has to leave home because of conflict with his brother but God promises to be with him and bring him back to the land of promise.
Jacob is the younger brother of Isaac’s twin sons. His life has been spent tending to the things of home including the sheep and his mother. His older brother Esau is a hunter. These two do not get along and over the years they have had serious conflicts. Two major ones robbed Esau of his birthright and his blessing. (There is a lot more to this story but we are going to skip over it for today.) These two major problems resulted in Esau wanting to kill his brother. And those were not idle words.
Many of Jacob’s problems arose out of the favoritism in his family. Isaac loved Esau best and Rebekah loved Jacob best. God had also told Rebekah that the younger would rule over the elder so Rebekah sought opportunities to ‘help’ God along. The most glaring one was when she gave Jacob step by step instructions on stealing Esau’s blessing. Now she has to protect Jacob from Esau.
Rebekah convinces Jacob to run and convinces Isaac to send him to ‘find a wife’ at her brother’s home. She feels Jacob will be safe there. Jacob sets off to visit his uncle and find a wife among his relatives.
On the way to Laban, Jacob stops for the night in an unassuming place. Nothing special about it at the time, or as far as anyone could see, but something special happened that night. Jacob, with a stone for his pillow, caught a glimpse of Heaven. In a dream he heard God promise him personally to take care of him and to bring him back to his home, in due time.
Thinking about Jacob’s life I realize that in order for him to become the man God intended for him to be he HAD to leave home. While at home, his mother directed his path. She encouraged deceitful ways. She schemed for him to get ahead. SHE did the work, he followed along. Jacob had to learn how to stand on his own. He had to learn how to protect himself from those who would use him for their own needs. He would learn this hard lesson at the hands of Laban and because it wasn’t his mother, after a LONG time he would be able to free himself from Laban’s grasp.
Something else I was thinking about with Jacob’s dream. This was a personal dream just for Jacob. It wasn’t one connected to a specific piece of ground. It was connected to his heart. The angels moving up and down were for him. God standing at the top of the ladder spoke directly to him. God’s promises were for his life. No matter where Jacob went, that ‘ladder’ between Heaven and his heart would go with him. God let Jacob attach special meaning to the place where he had the dream though. God attached the meaning Himself when He told Jacob that he would spread out in all directions as a nation. Jacob took that meaning to be centrally located with where his head lay that night; Bethel, the house of God.
NONE of God’s promises failed to come true for Jacob. He wouldn’t see all of them fulfilled in his lifetime but his descendants would. Jesus was one of those descendants, through His mother Mary and his earthly father Joseph. He will fill the final promises of God.
The ladder from ‘Heaven to heart’ still exists. It extends from EVERY HEART that calls Jesus their Lord. It reaches into the very throne room of God. It goes everywhere we go and it is NEVER ‘out of order’ but is always ‘under construction.’ That ‘construction’ doesn’t interfere with the passage of angels and messages but with the quality and depth of the anchoring points and the beauty of that passage. I see it starting as a stick built ladder, lashed together with vines and twine to a grand staircase rivaling the most exquisite mansion by the end. I pray mine has handrails by now.
Father God, thank You for Your promises, especially Your promise of Jesus. One life at a time, You built the place in history where You would reach down and place Him in our midst. Where You would take on flesh and be one with us. Thank You Jesus for stepping down that ladder, out of Jacob’s dreams, and into my life. I know You are MORE than an angel but I can see You walking that grand staircase back to Heaven after defeating Satan. I can hear the roar of the crowd of angels as they line the sides of it, cheering Your victory!