Jacob’s Ladder

Daily Reading – Genesis 28

“Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
    the older shall serve the younger.”

Genesis 25:23

“The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

-Esau, Genesis 27:41

God promised Rebekah that Jacob would rule over his older brother and be the one through whom the promise of Messiah would continue. God did not need Jacob and Rebekah’s help for this good thing to come to pass for Jacob.

Rather than trusting God, Jacob and Rebekah tried to force God’s hand and take the good of his promises through lies and schemes. And it blew up in their face. Jacob has to flee for his life is gone for 20 years. Rebekah dies before she ever sees her son again.

Jacob flees Beersheba running for his life. After many miles on a long hard journey to Haran via the Judean mountains, he takes a stone to use as a pillow and lays down in the wilderness.

We have all made our bed in this place. Fear and failure lay behind Jacob and uncertainty lay in front of him. His life was in danger because of sin and it forced him to a deserted place. Jacob was scared and alone.

Then he has a dream.

Jacob sees a ladder, or staircase, ascending into the palace of heaven. Ministering spirits are ascending and descending the steps between heaven and earth.

And God says, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.” And the Lord repeats the promise of a coming Messiah that will be fulfilled through Jacob’s descendants.

In the moment of his greatest despair, Jacob hears the promise and his eyes are opened to the intimacy of God’s presence. And Jacob believed God.

Then Jacob says, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

What is the hardest ground you’ve ever slept on. Think of a time when you lived in fear and were forced to a desolate place either spiritually, physically, or mentally.

By knowledge we understand who God is, but it is often pain that will draw us near.

Psalm 139:7-12

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Early in the morning Jacob takes the stone from under his head and sets it up as a pillar honoring the place where God turned his bed of despair into the gate to heaven.

So what is this ladder that leads to throne of God?

Look at this story from John 1:

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus and Jesus says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no ‘Jacob’.” (Jacob is the hebrew word for guile/deceit) Then Jesus prophecies that this man of upright heart will one day see the angels of God asceding and descending on the true stairway to heaven.

John 10:9

 I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Because of his sin, Jacob was driven from a place of comfort to a place desolation. But even when he made his bed in hell God still remembered him there. The stone on which he lay his head became the altar representing the staircase to God’s presence.

Becuase of our sin, Christ relinqueshed the joy of heaven to come to a desolate place. But God did not hide is face from him or abandon his soul to the grave. (Psalm 16 & 22) Instead he made the cross on which he was laid to become the altar that opened the gateway to heaven.

Now for those in whom no deceit is found, they will see the angels ascending and descending on the true stairway to heaven, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Emmaus Trail is a weekly devotional study that explores the theme of God reconciling himself to the world through the redemption of his Son which is found in all of Scripture. 

Luke 24

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

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