Genesis 28:16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
All of us inevitably go through periods of loneliness. Perhaps the circumstances of life (job, school, etc.) necessitate a move from all that you hold dear. Sometimes we are separated from those we love because of broken relationships or even physical death. Whatever the case, the uncertainty of such situations can be extremely discouraging.
This was the situation that Jacob faced in Genesis 28. Granted, much of his difficulty stemmed from misdeeds in the past. He was leaving hearth and home due to a bitter relationship with his brother Esau. The threat of death was eminent and he was being sent to a strange land to seek out a wife that he had not yet met. To say that Jacob’s life was full of uncertainty is a gross understatement.
What a blessing to see that the Lord provides a wonderful vision of encouragement during this dark time. It was while he laid his head on a stone of pillows that God blessed him with the vision of a ladder that reached to Heaven with angels going up and down. The Lord stood at the top and spoke words of encouragement and reassurance to this young man whose life was in shambles.
Genesis 28:13 -15 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
God reaffirmed the promise that was given to Jacob’s father and grandfather! He would always be with Jacob and would see to his needs throughout his life’s journey. What an encouragement indeed! The ladder was a symbol of God’s constant care and provision for His people. We have constant, uninterrupted access to God! There were angels ascending the ladder. In like manner, our petitions are carried up to God via prayer. In those times of great loneliness and uncertainty what a blessing to know that we have one who hears our prayers. Paul elaborates on this function of the Holy Spirit in Romans 8.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
In the darkest hours of life when all that we can do is groan because of the hopelessness of our situation, the Spirit lifts these feeble petitions to our Heavenly Father. Likewise, the angels descending Jacob’s ladder points us towards God’s involvement in our everyday lives. He not only hears our prayers, but acts on our behalf. This was the crux of God’s encouragement to Jacob. My friends, God is not some distant observer of the happenings on Earth. He is involved. He gives us grace sufficient for the trials of life. He keeps the promises contained in His word and strengthens us for the trials ahead. The example of Jacob also reassures us of God’s mercy even during the times that we suffer because of our actions. He is indeed a God of ALL mercy and grace. May we recognize His constant presence in our lives and be comforted/strengthened by these thoughts!
Michael D. Green, Jr.
Fort Wayne Primitive Baptist Church