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Monday, September 21, 2009

Are You Climbing Jacob’s Ladder?

Jacob was tired and dirty from his long walk. Sweat was running down his face as he trudged along. All day long he had been running –running away from home. That morning his mother had been crying when he kissed her and said his hurried “Goodbye”. “We’ll send word and let you know when it will be safe for you to come back home.” his father had told him soberly.

Jacob was in trouble. His twin brother Esau was threatening to kill him and you couldn’t blame Esau for being angry. Jacob had tricked Esau out of his blessing and his birthright. Jacob was an operator. Even the meaning of his name “Jacob” meant “Supplanter” or “Trickster”.

Esau had been in line for a great spiritual blessing from God, given first to his grandfather Abraham and then down the line to his father Isaac. Esau, the first born, was next in line to carry on this privilege from God. But Scripture tells us that Esau didn’t value his godly inheritance or God’s special blessing. He thought so little of God’s favor that he sold his portion for a bowl of beans. God saw Esau’s heart and the Bible tells us that God didn’t like what He saw! Even though Esau didn’t consider God’s gifts important, Jacob did! Jacob cared so much about God’s blessing that he was willing to scheme and trick his brother out of it, lying and deceiving as he went. And now Jacob was running away for what he had done.

It was dark when Jacob finally stopped to rest. Scripture tells us that he made his bed on the hard ground and used a stone for his pillow. He lay down there watching the stars twinkling overhead and thinking over the events of the last few days. How he had cheated his own twin brother.and lied to his elderly blind father.All for this special God given blessing! And now he was an outcast from his own family. Was he an outcast from God too? Feeling guilty and confused Jacob drifted off to sleep.

As he dreamed alone in this dark place, suddenly God came to Jacob in a vision of blazing light. A glorious ladder reaching from heaven down to earth appeared at Jacob’s feet. Angels were climbing up and down this marvelous ladder. And God spoke to Jacob, “Jacob, don’t be afraid. I am with you. I will bless you. Your descendants will be mine and through you I will bless all of the nations.” It was all too wonderful for a stunned Jacob to take in.

“God was with me in this place and I didn’t know it,” Jacob exclaimed the next morning. Even though he had made a mess of things in his life,, God had reached down and given him a ladder that was leading right up into heaven. Even though he had stolen the blessing, God was honoring him. Was that because Jacob valued God’s blessing and wanted God in his life?

We believe that Jacob’s ladder is a picture of Jesus our Savior. Like Jacob’s ladder which goes from earth up to heaven, Jesus is the Ladder - theWay –that takes us from earth to heaven. The only Way! Jesus meets us in our dark lonely place and becomes our Way, - our Ladder – If we want Him to, if we don’t sell Him for a bowl of beans. If we climb onto Him, He leads us to eternal life. John 1:51 says “You shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” Just as Jacob saw angels climbing up and down his ladder, we read that angels ascend and descend on our Ladder, Jesus, the Son of Man.

We can say with Jacob, “God is with me in this place and I didn’t know it.” God is with each of us in our dark night and in our troubles. And He has set Jesus before each of us and has given us the Ladder to heaven. Even though like Jacob our sin can separate us from loved ones, it can never separate us from God: If we are like Esau and don’t care about God then we will miss out.. But if we are like Jacob and desire God’s will., He will make a Way. His glorious Ladder of salvation will be right at our feet. Jesus is your Ladder and He will take you to heaven if you just get on board. Have you gotten on? Are you climbing Jacob’s Ladder?

©Jane Furnish, 9/2009


  1. How beautiful Jane. Actually, I've always felt a little bit sorry for Esau. But the way you explain it, that Esau really was rejecting God (not just hungry for beans), it makes this passage a lot clearer for me. Thanks for sharing with us all. mj

  2. Hello MJ! Thanks for responding. You aren't alone. Almost everyone I have ever talked to feels sorry for Esau! There are other passages in the Bible that say that Esau didn't have a heart for God. So I picked some of that up . I imagine that Esau wouldn't have rejected God if it maybe hadn't come with a price (a bowl of beans when he was very hungry!) The first commandment tells us to have no other god before God. I guess God is jealous for our love. So putting the bowl of beans before God must have been insulting to Him.