If you were to write a journal of your life it would reveal the high points of your life as well as the lows. The mountain top experiences as well as the valleys would be exposed. They would include birth dates, school, graduation from high school, college, your first job, date, marriage, birth of your children, perhaps divorce, death of a family member, a spiritual awakening, loss of a job, sickness, etc.
The lives of others who have gone on before us have had their share of all of these things, also. In the scripture we read how the Patriarchs and the Israelites built memorials to commemorate great spiritual victories in their lives.
"And Jacob 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..."
This was something that Jacob could begin to build his life upon. While traveling he had chosen a stone to use as a headrest while he slept and had a dream of a ladder that reached to the heavens with the Lord at the top. God made great promises to him and when he awakened from his dream he exclaimed in terror, "Surely the Lord is in this place; this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
In life's journey we are all climbing ladders. Let's trust that it will be like that ladder of Jacob's, a ladder that leads to God. Remember how we taught our children in Sunday school to sing, "We are climbing Jacobs ladder; every rung goes higher, higher, soldiers of the cross?" Well, God is at the top of that ladder and He is beckoning us to begin our spiritual ascent. No giant leaps, just a rung at a time.
This was a change of direction for Jacob. "And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel. (Which being interpreted means "The very house of God." Jacob's life now included another and a better passage.
Bethel's location was identified in the nineteenth century by Robinson as Tell Beitin, 12 miles north of Jerusalem. The site was later excavated by William F. Albright and others, revealing a Canaanite settlement dating from 2000 B.C. Toward the end of the Bronze Age the city was fortified by a wall 11 feet thick. Bethel later became a prominent Hyksos fortress about 1600 B.C. The burning of the city during the Israelite conquest has been verified by a level of charred debris as much as five feet thick. It was later rebuilt and served as a royal sanctuary for Jeroboam's cult worship in the early monarchy.
Bethel, the place that Jacob called The House of God, had later become a place of cult worship. It's not unlike the institutional schools and universities in our country which were begun with high spiritual standards only to deteriorate into believing anything and everything institutions.
We belittle our lives when we think of it as a means to escape the rigors of life. We shall be disillusioned and, possibly, disqualified for the real rewards of service if we live for now and fail to look to God's afterward...it requires climbing now...one rung at a time. This ladder from Earth to heaven represents Godís Son, Jesus Christ! He is the Way!
Reference: Genesis chapter 28, The Holy Bible.
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