Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep. And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it. Then God was right before him, saying, “I am God, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I’m giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they’ll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. Yes. I’ll stay with you, I’ll protect you wherever you go, and I’ll bring you back to this very ground. I’ll stick with you until I’ve done everything I promised you.” Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, “God is in this place–truly. And I didn’t even know it!” He was terrified. He whispered in awe, “Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God’s House. This is the Gate of Heaven.” Jacob was up first thing in the morning. He took the stone he had used for his pillow and stood it up as a memorial pillar and poured oil over it. He christened the place Bethel (God’s House). The name of the town had been Luz until then. Jacob vowed a vow: “If God stands by me and protects me on this journey on which I’m setting out, keeps me in food and clothing, Genesis 28:10-20
Jacob was the slyest, trickiest and most deceitful character in the Old Testament. A wanderer in the land of Luz, hatefully driven from the family homestead because of cruel trickery, he was forced to flee in order to survive. As a fugitive and exiled in a strange country, homeless and friendless because of scheming and deceit. God revealed Himself to Jacob in a night vision. He saw a vision of a ladder, set-up on earth reaching to Heaven. On this staircase, he noted ascending and descending. When He woke he had experienced an encounter with the living God and He would never be the same again.
John 1:51 says “Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.” A promised hope for everyone who has reached rock-bottom. God reached down to Jacob, showing him that reconciliation was possible, even for the worst of us. A special message for those of us who may be struggling in the process of recovery. Thinking, “I’m never going to get there.” “Recovery is impossible for me.”
When we bow in humility at the foot of the Cross it’s power lifts us onto a new positive life-track. Into a new two-way relationship with God that needs to be kept alive through prayer, meditation, worship of and obedience to Him. Through the process of recovery, we need to accept all God has in store for us and is directing us to and move forward in His strength to be all He is calling us to be.
Luke 11:36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.
The only way to work out what in your life is stopping you from following God is to take inventory, Step Four says “In order to help me change, I will investigate and record with God’s help – my sinful habits and attitudes.”
The first time I took an honest inventory of my life, my habits and attitudes were whilst staying in the William Both Men’s Hostel in Adelaide. I had decided before I ever got to recovery if I really wanted to change my life I needed to know and to understand me. I still have a copy of that inventory. The language is colorful. Some of the things I wrote were untrue but I believed them at the time based on how I was feeling back then.
- When was the last time you took an honest look at yourself?
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off– and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it–life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him. Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many “righteous ones,” as he himself carries the burden of their sins. Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly– the best of everything, the highest honors– Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep. Isaiah 53:6-12
Whenever we suffer from doing what is right in God’s name through His will He will use it to minister to others and will make things right either in this life or the next.
As the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. (Matthew 28:1-9 NLT)
Grace now envelops the planet. Jesus destroyed death and brings life and immortality through his living Word; in other words, Jesus’ Resurrection put death to death. In his blood is salvation, life, heavenly sweetness, the strength of mind, and joy of spirit. Dare to participate in his way, his truth, and his life.
Lord, I pray, by grace, to live by faith in the Son of God, who loves, and gave himself for me. I pray for courage to take up my cross daily and follow you. Amen.
MATTHEW 28:1-10; 2 TIMOTHY 1:9-10; REVELATION 1:18; JOHN 14:6; GALATIANS 2:20