The Ladder Connection

His brother was hopping mad. Mad enough to murder him. That was the real reason his father told him to leave home. Not that he had had a clue. Mother had seen to that.

She had again deceived the old man. Burying her head in his lap and beguiling him with rehearsed sobs, she had cried, “I’m sick and tired of these local girls. I’d rather die than see Jacob marry one of them” (Genesis 27:46 TLB).

Father bought her cover story and sent him—her favorite son—far, far away to the land of his mother’s roots. Different people. Culture confusion. Strange surroundings. Unknown future. What future?

He wouldn’t be in this fix if he hadn’t agreed to the other trick—his mother’s scheme to steal his brother’s inheritance. He could have told her no . . . couldn’t he? Instead, following her directions to the letter and lying to his blind father on the fly, he had duped him.

If only he hadn’t listened to his mother, he wouldn’t be stretched out on this hard ground as darkness descended. Wrapped in silence. Pillowed with a stone. Lonely and alone.

Not alone, which Jacob would discover as sleep overtook him. He dreamed of a ladder reaching to heaven.

As if relaying messages back and forth between heaven and earth, an uninterrupted stream of angels ascended and descended the stairway. What a breathtaking sight! But that view was eclipsed when the dream soon became up close and personal.

God Himself appeared and made promises to Jacob. The blessings He had begun with his grandfather Abraham and continued through his father Isaac would carry on through him. Then Almighty God assured him, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:15 NASB).

Jacob went on his way holding in his heart the certain belief that the God of his ancestors was with him. Indeed, his life would continue to have its ups and downs, but God remained faithful to His promises.

And so it is with you and me as we journey through life step by step, for

Heaven is not reached at a single bound;
But we build the ladder by which we rise
From the lowly earth, to the vaulted skies,
And we mount to its summit round by round.

I count this thing to be grandly true:
That a noble deed is a step toward God,
Lifting the soul from the common clod
To a purer air and a broader view.

We rise by the things that are under feet;
By what we have mastered of good and gain;
By the pride deposed and the passion slain,
And the vanquished ills that we hourly meet.

We hope, we aspire, we resolve, we trust,
When the morning calls us to life and light,
But our hearts grow weary, and, ere the night,
Our lives are trailing the sordid dust.

We hope, we resolve, we aspire, we pray,
And we think that we mount the air on wings
Beyond the recall of sensual things,
While our feet still cling to the heavy clay.

Wings for the angels, but feet for men!
We may borrow the wings to find the way—
We may hope, and resolve, and aspire, and pray;
But our feet must rise, or we fall again.

Only in dreams is a ladder thrown
From the weary earth to the sapphire walls;
But the dreams depart, and the vision falls,
And the sleeper wakes on his pillow of stone.

Heaven is not reached at a single bound;
But we build the ladder by which we rise
From the lowly earth, to the vaulted skies,
And we mount to its summit, round by round.

Gradatim (aka Step by Step) by Josiah Gilbert Holland (1872)

 

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2 thoughts on “The Ladder Connection

  1. Your narration, as always, is well written, a pleasure to read. It inspires. I am reminded not to pick favorites. God also asks us not to love father or mother, or children, more than him. If/ when we focus on a child ignoring God’s word, and if/when as children we listen to our father or mother even when they are not being right, expect problems and consequences. And yet God always opens a way to heaven for us.

    Like

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