Jacob was running away from his brother, Esau1. He tricked his father, cheated on his brother and seized the birth right blessing. Jacob got all he wanted, but that neither brought him joy nor contentment. He had to leave all he owned, all he had ever known and loved in order to save his life. He was out all alone, guilty, afraid and lonely. The ladders he had erected only emptied him instead of bringing satisfaction. The plans he made back-fired. Though he knew that God had assured them that the birth right blessing was his, yet he still went ahead and worked it out his own way.Contemplating on the words of our New Testament professor, a challenge arose that questioned the reason of our calling. As we read the epistles to Timothy, our professor brought to our focus the challenges we would face as young pastors. It was then my thoughts were directed to ‘the ladder’ and its significance in our lives.
That is when self-made ladders pop up! We all erect many ladders each day. But unfortunately there is an end to our self-made ladders. We needn’t be afraid though, for at the end of our ladders we find God’s stairway. The stairway in Jacob’s dream represents Jesus Christ. Christ bridged the gulf that sin had created, with His own body.
This dream was a beam of hope to Jacob. Through this dream the gospel was preached to him. Even so, to this day, Christ is the only resort to the hopeless, the homeless and the wandering. He does not only become the ladder, but sends His angels and the Holy Spirit to minister to us on our way up.
We see a ladder of progression in the life of Jacob. He learnt to obey God’s leading and God prospered Him. People recognized the presence of God in his life. He lived in harmony with God’s word which was reflected in his relationship with others. Jacob not only made peace with himself, but also with his brother, Esau. At the end, when his time had come, he was able to cling on to God’s promises in faith as he blessed his children, even though he sojourned and died in a foreign land.2
Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:5 portrays the ladder of a Christian’s progress. Every step represents advancement in the knowledge of God. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity are the upward rounds of the ladder. These virtues grow together and fully reveal the character of Christ. We are saved by climbing step after step until we reach the height of Christ’s ideal for us.3
As I sat in that class that day, I was convinced that everyone needed to know of this “Ladder.” Man has tirelessly put all his efforts to achieve the impossible only to find himself weary at the end of the day, only to find himself longing for more. If only these longing souls knew of Christ, the only Ladder we could count on, this world would be different. You and I are called to lead these souls to this “Ladder.” Let’s stop convincing God to be part of our ladders, but let’s accept His stairway and start living it.
1. Genesis 27:1-30 (NIV)
2. Nichol Francis D., “The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Vol. 7)”. (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1980), 475.
3. White Ellen G., “Peter’s counsel to parents”. (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1981), 56.