Daily Devotion for April 3, 2012
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer of Thanks
Almighty and gracious Father, I give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make me and all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Jacob's Dream, by Gustav Dore, c. 1865 .
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
Genesis 28:10-17 (ESV)
The Story of Jacob  - Jacob's Ladder
Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!
And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
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."
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it." And he was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
Notes on the Scripture
Jacob travels toward the north, where his Great-uncle Terah and Uncle Laban live, to find a wife. He puts his head on a stone for a pillow and has a vivid dream of a ladder planted where he sleeps which reaches all the way to heaven. And their are angels traveling up and down the ladder, like Christmas shoppers on a Macy's escalator.
God Himself, at the top of the ladder, delivers the same promise to Jacob that He delivered to his forefathers, Abraham and Isaac, for Jacob has been blessed by Isaac. Isaac's blessing to his younger son has made him the inheritor of more than land and title; he has become the agent of man to accept the covenant with God.
God makes one additional promise that we did not see with Abraham and Isaac; he promises that He will be with him and keep him, and will not leave until his promise is accomplished.
Do angels literally climb up and down stairs to heaven? Almost certainly not, and yet, we are allowed to believe it if we want. Our minds cannot know God and we are simply not capable of knowing many truths. As Paul says, now we see reality as if it is a reflection in a mirror, partially and incompletely. When God has given man vision or told him something, God is giving us a truth that we can understand. He is tells us what we need to know to find him; when we die and see Him face-to-face, we will finally understand clearly. "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully." 1 Corinthians 13:12.
But if there is not a literal ladder, God does show Jacob that angels exist and that they come to earth and travel to heaven. We cannot understand how this happens or even what angels really are, but God gives us, through Jacob, an analogy we can understand. If you want to believe that Jacob saw an actual ladder with angels going up and down, and God at the top, that is what God wants you to see. But if you simply take away from this that God does send spirits to and from earth, in a manner we cannot grasp, that is also supported by this passage.