10 Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran.11 At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone for a pillow and lay down to sleep.12 As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from earth to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down on it.Today is Wednesday, and I've been preparing for our Bible study tonight on Genesis 28 - the "Jacob's Ladder" passage. Now if you were thoroughly indoctrinated in church as a child, please fell free to start spontaneously singing "We are climbing Jacob's Ladder."
13 At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, "I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I will give it to you and your descendants.14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will cover the land from east to west and from north to south. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.
15 What's more, I will be with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. I will someday bring you safely back to this land. I will be with you constantly until I have finished giving you everything I have promised."
16 Then Jacob woke up and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it."17 He was afraid and said, "What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God--the gateway to heaven!" Gen 28:10-17 (NLT)
Word of caution though, if you are reading this at work, on a plane, or in a coffee shop, don't be surprised if people look at you funny.
Jacob has a pretty spotty reputation in most circles, being labeled a "trickster", "Schemer", "deceiver" and even "thief" by some. Whether those are accurate I'm not sure, because I've searched in vain to find where God has said he's a bad man. But one thing is clear, he's not a godly man at this point. On the night in question, perhaps the loneliest one Jacob has ever known, he's fleeing his brother, and has left his mother and father forever. It was a cold, dark night.
And God showed up.
Jacob's real journey with God began that night.
Up to that point, he was living on borrowed faith - his parent's. He grew up hearing about God, but God wasn't real to him. In a way, he reminds me of many people I've met through the years. But that night, God came near. And Jacob responded in worship.
The ancient Celtic Christians spoke of "thin places" where the separation between earth and heaven was not so wide. They built their churches at those spots - where a mountain meets the sea, or a large tree stood alone. "A person could see God from there", one wrote describing his church.
You know, my hope is that you and I as Christ followers can provide "thin places" for others who don't know Him. In service to others, in our care for God's creation, in living our lives with purpose and hope - that people could see Jesus through us.
Thomas Merton wrote "Life is simple. We live in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through us all the time."
Maybe someone will see you living out your faith and come to realize that God is - and they never knew it.
Lead them home.
A Glimpse of New Hope is my attempt to share the hope I have found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Should you no longer wish to receive it, or find that you have received it in error, please write me at email@example.com and I will immediately remove you. Past "Glimpses" are archived at www.newhopevalp.org Thanks and God bless, David Wilson