Just Thinking

Do you ever feel alone?  Isolated?  Forgotten?  Sometimes that feeling is due to your own actions or choices.  Other times, it is the result of circumstances beyond your control.  Regardless of the cause of such feelings, their presence can be debilitating.  Fear and hopelessness can obscure the promise of God and the assurance of His grace.  He was a long way from home.  Alone in a deserted place.  Using a rock for a pillow, he tried to get some sleep.  It seemed darker than normal.  Every sound seemed amplified.  Fear came over him in waves.  Perhaps for the first time he felt the weight of the consequences of his unrighteous deeds.  He had swindled his brother out of his birthright.  He had stolen his brother’s blessing.  Now, though he was the heir of their father’s wealth and blessing, he is alone under the desert sky.  That’s when it happened.  In a most unlikely spot – at a most unlikely time – to a most unlikely candidate God revealed himself.  And once again, the Creator is seen as a gracious and merciful God.  As Jacob was traveling from Beersheba to Paddan Aram he sure thought he was traveling through a God-forsaken place.    He knew his brother wanted to kill him.  He wondered if he would ever see his mother or father again.  He wondered if his efforts to obtain the blessing were worth it.  He wasn’t sure what it would be like with his relatives in Paddan Aram.  Afraid, isolated and alone he tried to get some sleep.  But he was not alone!  God was with him though he was unaware of it.  God was with Jacob in spite of Jacob.  And God was about to make his presence known in dramatic fashion.

Genesis 28 tells the story of “Jacob’s Ladder.”  In the midst of his isolation Jacob is given this vision of a ladder with angels ascending and descending.  No Old Testament passage showed the closeness of heaven to earth or the interest of heaven in earth more vividly than Jacob’s vision.  In this vision Jacob is assured, by the LORD himself, that he was not alone and that he was under the protection of the Almighty.  The LORD announces his presence, and restates the promise made to Abraham and Isaac (13).  In verse 15 the LORD assures Jacob that He is with him and will bring him back to this land.  We know from John 1:51 that “ladder” was a picture of Christ.  Oh, dear child of God be encouraged.  His promise is that He will never leave you or forsake you but will be with you always until the end of the age.  His promise is to supply your every need, in accordance with His riches in glory.  Listen to Genesis 28:16-17, Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”  The next time you find yourself discouraged, isolated and forgotten – take heart.  You are not alone.  You are not in some God-forsaken place.  In fact, you just might be standing in the gate of heaven!

Have a blessed week and I’ll see you Sunday.