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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Greenberg

Jacob’s Ladder: Climbing With Angels


A Strange Gift

God uses unique visions and dreams to give us a promise to hold on to – a reminder that He is our Creator and His visions and dreams for us are not ‘of this world’ alone.

I LOVE the story of Jacob’s ladder because God seems to catch Jacob’s attention on purpose, right before he could permanently shipwreck the calling on his life. How did I recognize Jacob is trying to escape His own birthright, too? Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and Jacob had publicly disrespected his father, conspired with his mother, and stolen his birthright from his brother – a death blow to any family inheritance, even today.  It doesn’t matter why he did it, Isaac’s blindness and Rebecca’s secret or Isaac’s rebellion and Rebecca’s manipulation – either way the guilt of deceiving and stealing and coercion destroys both family  relationships and generational inheritance.

Take time to read the story for yourself – without adding words to in the text and setting aside your assumptions. You may find more questions than answers. Did you notice that it took 20 years for Rebecca to become pregnant? Do you think she ever told Isaac the prophecy about the boys?  If Isaac knew about the prophecy, was he rebelling against God by planning to give the blessing to Esau anyway?  Did the passionate love between Isaac and Rebecca turn sour and become a competition once the sons came?  Did Jacob or Esau know about the prophecy?  The text doesn’t say!

Did the whole family know after the incident with the lentil stew?  We don’t actually know.

For how long did resentment grow between the brothers? And when did the favoritism start?  The whole story is fairly gruesome and full of unnecessary drama.  But, make no mistake, this happens in families every day. And it is just as destructive today as it was then.

God is a promise-keeper!

God’s promise was to Abraham’s Seed and these stories in the Bible about family are for us to learn how to keep from destroying one another – because the promise of family restoration is NOW available to all who believe. Remember the words of Moses, “the hidden things belong to God, but those revealed belong to us and our children forever.”

When God gives you a promise about the bright future He has planned for you – climb upward and hold on!  Remember that the ladder between heaven and earth is REAL. Our Creator is the God of heaven and earth – and the distance between you and Him is only as far as YOU need to travel to put your life back into His giant hands.

The distance between the place you are now and the place he wants to take you is not  linear – it is both revolving and orbiting – like the rolling and unrolling of the Torah scroll while orbiting this wonder-filled planet.  The art of knowing God is growing in the knowledge of how He brings us closer to Him as we trust Him more and more – often in the face of tremendous personal failures and even horrific relational situations that challenge us every day.

Growing closer to the God of Heaven and earth requires a JOURNEY – even for angels it seems!  I find it fascinating that even angels had to travel up and down the ladder –  what for?  Don’t they just pop into situations as needed?  What a funny thing to think about.  I would rather stay focused on climbing higher WITH my loved ones during the days of my sojourn. My husband and I want to leave a legacy of faith to our children that will help them on their journey.

So, when Jacob had to leave, was he taking a break or running away entirely?  I believe, that morning, when he woke and recognized where he was and what God was showing him the he made a CONDITIONAL promise to God.  ‘IF you are with me, when I return, I will give’ is my paraphrase.

In my mind, That is not the words of a devotee, but the words of a man who is on the run. If Jacob really knew what God was showing him, he would have turned back and repented to his father.  But, Jacob’s adventure was just beginning and his journey took 20 long years before he would return to his father and brother.  And, sadly there is no record he was ever even saw his mother again.

A reminder from Proverbs

The Proverbs tell us that the guilty run even when no one is chasing them.  And, once you leave, the hole you leave will get filled with something – often a story that grows further and further from the actual truth.  I am urging you today to not let a mistake with your family cause you to run away from the ‘gate of Heaven’ in your circumstance.  Learn to recognize that the God of Creation knows what is truly inside your heart.

Next time you feel like running away, be sure to stop first and ask God for directions.  Remember that consequences are the result of not just ignoring God’s laws, but doing life ‘out-of-order,’ too.  Proverbs 2:8-9 says: ‘He guards the paths of justice and protects the way of His Kedoshim (holy ones).  Then you will discern what is right and just and fair – every good path.’

We all make mistakes – especially with our own families – but always trust God can lead you safely home.

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