Do you feel as if something has happened quite recently that has brought ‘crisis’ in your life? Do you feel like the rug has been pulled up from your feet? Only God can make ‘all things work together for good'(Romans 8:28), in that when we’ve been ‘made to lie down’, (like in Ps. 23,but we don’t really sense the ‘green pastures’ at the moment because we feel the pillow we have is a ‘rock’ ) but suddenly we’re able to ‘Behold…Him’ like never before.
My kids are very used to me asking them, “Did you read your Bible?” “Have you spent some time talking to God?” Focus on the Lord has become difficult this day, with the technology right at our fingertips.We can often miss God’s voice in the day.But God, in His loving way, oftentimes allows things in our lives that ‘makes us to lie down’, that we might “draw near to God,'” (James 4:8), and discover that He does in effect, “draw near to us.” (James 4:8). Suddenly we realize what drawing near to God with a ‘whole heart ‘ really looks like! So, if you feel as if you’re world has suddenly changed and you have a rock as a pillow- know that this has happened before.
The whole story is recorded for us in Gen 28.Yes, Jacob found himself suddenly leaving his home to someplace far to escape his brother who wanted to kill him because, well, because a lot of people chose not to do the ‘right’ thing! This is a story of Jacob’s trouble, but perhaps if he didn’t have this moment of ‘trouble’ he wouldn’t have been ready to see or ‘behold’ the ‘Ladder’.
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the God of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land where in thou liest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed…” FIrst of all, I am amaazed to see the word “Behold” three times! There must be a lot here that God wants us to “Behold!” (This is not what I was going to write about, but I have to say that, this fascinates me THIS day because THIS land is fought over by Israel’s neighbors saying over and over again, “It’s mine!” And right here we have the LORD telling us who the land really belongs to. Perhaps, we need to ‘Behold’ that! )
And there is yet another behold:
“And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places you go and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Gen. 28:12-15). And amazingly we read next that, “Jacob awaked (KJV!) out of his sleep and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.”(Gen 28:16).
Jacob had a rock as a pillow during a ‘wilderness’ journey. And God gave him a dream, ‘behold a ladder set up on the earth’. And the top of this ladder reached to heaven, and ‘behold the angels of God’ were ‘ascending and descending on it, and behold the LORD stood above it… Jacob didn’t know the LORD was in that place, and what place was that?
It was a wilderness place – Jacob was broken, weary, tired, afraid, uncertain – Jacob was a mess! What do I behold today? I behold that God is amazing. God meets us in mercy. He is the healer of the brokenhearted, He is compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy – people, we need to ‘Behold’ that the Lord is gracious-not giving us what we deserve! Whatever Jacob was ‘beholding’ in his mind and thoughts and heart before – we can only imagine, but NOW, God meets Jacob in a dream and shows him what to ‘behold’: a Ladder with angels going up and down, and He gave him His presence and His word: “Behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham they father, and the God of Isaac…”‘Behold, I am with thee…”(Gen 28:13-15).
This promise was given to a ‘heel catcher’, a conniver of sorts, not trusting, not true…how we must remember the truth: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God They have all gone out of the way…There is none who does good, no not one.” Romans 3:10-12. How we must always remember, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…”(Titus 3:5). Yes, Jacob was in trouble, and he was ‘made to lie down’ with a ‘rock’ as his pillow, but the Lord met him in mercy , in that place, saying, “Behold, I am with thee.” But He also said, “and I will keep thee…” and He reminded him, “I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Gen 28:15 KJV).
Jacob woke up out of his sleep and the Bible says, “and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.”(Gen. 28:16). Do you think that means he said those words out loud? I believe that Jacob was all alone, desolate, afraid ,uncertain, and the LORD met him there in that hard place and – yes, out loud, at this very moment I believe Jacob ‘beheld’ the LORD. He did ‘BEHOLD!”
“He was afraid, and said, “How to be feared and reverenced is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gateway to heaven!” (Gen 28:17, Amplified). And do you know what he did next?
He worshiped:” (Gen 28:18,19).
God is not a God that stays distant in the heavens and only communes with ‘good people’. No, there are no ‘good people’! God alone is good Jesus said. He has provided a Ladder, a Mediator between God and man. He knows all that is going on, do you remember the story of Nathanael when he met Jesus? “Nathanael said to Him, (Jesus), “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Phillip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathaniel answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:48,49).
Nathanael had ‘beheld’…and guess what Jesus said?
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? you will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most Assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see…
heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon…
the Son of Man.”(John 1:51).
In other words, Jesus said, “I am the Ladder! It’s Me.”
“Behold a Ladder…”, Behold Jesus! Behold a gracious God! Let’s worship Him…