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The Ladder

The Ladder 

By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president


Have you ever gone to the gym and seen a machine called Jacob's Ladder? My gym where I exercise has a couple Jacob's Ladder machines that consists of a series of wooden bars that keep moving on a continuous loop and the angle is quite steep. The idea is that you are to climb these bars like you would a ladder. The only issue is that the ladder doesn’t come to an end. It is a high intensity workout and when it’s all over you will most certainly be sweating. You may even be wondering why exactly you have just put yourself through such a grueling test of your body.

Today I read the story of Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28. Jacob, if you remember correctly, had stolen his brother’s blessing and his brother Esau was not happy and was planning to kill him. Jacob had to get out of town. He was being sent away from everything he had ever known to a land he had never been. He finds himself ready to settle down for the night and found a stone that he thought my serve as a pillow.

Not sure what type of stone that was but frankly it is not my idea of comfort. I have wondered how long it took him to go to sleep with that stone pillow. Plus, he may have pondered all that had been happening and wondering how his life was going to turn out now that he was being sent into exile. He may have wondered what good a stolen blessing and a purchased birthright was if he wasn’t going to be around to take possession of all of that when his father died.

Somehow, he managed to go to sleep. Then we read about the dream of where Jacob sees this ladder that extends into heaven. He sees angels descending and ascending on this ladder and God himself was at the top of the ladder. God gave Jacob a promise that day and said to him I will always be with you wherever you go. (verse 15)

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

Genesis 28:15, NIV

The difference with the Biblical Jacob’s ladder and the exercise one at the gym is one of great importance. In the gym it is always up and there is not a down switch; It just keeps going up. In the Bible it says the angels go up and down. At times in the past I have wondered if my prayer life is like the exercise Jacob’s ladder where I just keep talking to God and telling him all my troubles and asking for all sorts of different things. It is all up and I don’t even take a breath to stop and listen to what God may be sending down the ladder regarding his desires for me and his thoughts in my head.

I like the reminder that not only do our prayers go up to God, but that God also wants us to know that He is sending His thoughts, His desires, His will, and His spirit to us and we need to stop, take a breath and listen to what God is speaking to us through His written word and through the Holy Spirit.

This week as you go through your day and work to grow spiritually, stop to reflect on what God may be sending down the ladder to you.