God's Hope for the Lonely.

There beside him stood the LORD.

Genesis 28:12

Ladders are for climbing.

Ladders are for making your way to the top. No one strives to be at the bottom of one. Yet there are times in life when we find ourselves there. At the bottom. All alone.

Kind of like Jacob.

He had just deceived his own father to get the family inheritance. His older brother, Esau, was furious. So now Jacob was on the run.

“When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep”

Genesis 28:11

Whether he was worn out from the journey or worn out from who he had become, Jacob was at the bottom of the ladder. Maybe you’ve been there too.

“Jacob had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There beside him stood the LORD”

Genesis 28:12

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We might expect that God would have been at the top of the stairway.

Far from Jacob and exalted in majesty. But there he was beside Jacob. At the bottom. Speaking his word of promise. He is God with us.

Fast forward in the Biblical narrative and we read about Jesus of Nazareth referring to this event in Jacob’s life.

“Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man”

John 1:51

In Jesus, God is the God who comes down. To stand beside you. To walk with you. Until he goes down into the very depths of darkness and abandon in the tomb. He is the God who is willing to go as low as he must to bring us back to himself.

In Jacob’s dream, messengers of light ascended and descended on the stairway leading to heaven. At Christ’s empty tomb, angels were the first to announce that he had risen. Angels told the disciples who stood looking into the sky at Christ’s ascension, “He’ll come back in the same way that you’ve seen him go up.” We need someone to tell us what it all means. We need messengers to tell us that God forgives our sins. We need to belong to a community where Jesus is always beside us as we stand beside one another. St. John’s will always be such a place for you to belong.

Lord Jesus, be the one who stands beside me when all hope is gone and bring me into the community loved by you. Amen.

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