The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 8th
“The Stairway of God”
Genesis 28:16 (NLT) – “Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”
Just before the verse above Jacob had the famous dream often referred to as Jacob’s Ladder. On page 68 of The Greatest Gift, Ann writes, “Sometimes you’re just the most tired of trying to be strong. You have these Jacob dreams, and you dream of what might be. And this is the dream that comes true—that makes all the stressed things come untrue: the real amazing dream is there are no ladders to climb up, because Christ came down one to get you.”
So much of life seems to be about making something of ourselves, making a name for ourselves, staking our claim, leaving our mark. Right before this passage in Genesis 28 Jacob had made a bold move in making a name for himself. He had deceived his own father into giving him a blessing that belonged to his older brother. Earlier in Genesis he had talked his older brother into giving him his birthright (that’s Bible speak for the lion’s share of his father’s estate) in exchange for a bowl of beans. Not that everyone else in this little drama was completely innocent: his mother had instigated the trickery of his father and his brother could’ve made his own bowl of beans instead of giving in to Jacob’s extortion. Can anyone say, “Codependency?”
But still, as Jacob was on the run from his brother’s anger he lay his head on that rock, slept and God extended Himself to Jacob in that dream. God came to him. Why?
Why would God honor a liar, a deceiver with His very own presence? Because that’s who needs a Savior. Because that’s the Savior I need.Right there in the beginning God demonstrated His desire to rescue all the liars, deceivers, sick, broken, the self-righteous and self-made sinners because our way NEVER works. Jacob could never have built a ladder to heaven (remember the Tower of Babel?), he could never make himself righteous enough for God no matter how many birthrights he stole, no matter how hard he pretended to be the first-born son.
I could never make myself righteous enough and all of my pretense of being the good first-born never fooled Him. Just like Jacob, even when I didn’t know I needed one and when I deserved it the least, He extended Himself to me and to you.
But The Ladder He extended to us wasn’t a dream. He is reality: The Way, The Truth and The Life. We can stop making a name, we’ve been given one – Beloved. We can REST in who we are and not rely on what we do.
He’s been coming for us from the beginning. Every moment is holy. Every day is Advent.