Saturday, December 5, 2015

JACOB'S LADDER--by Linden Malki

In the old gospel song we sing  "We are climbing Jacob's Ladder, " but in the Genesis account,  Jacob did
not climb it.  In fact, we do not read of anyone climbing it from our end.   God sent angels down to draw Jacob's attention to Him.  In most of the world's religions, people are trying to climb that ladder with their own strength.  We do it ourselves, too.   But it is God who calls us; our responsibility is to respond.

In Eden, before their banishment, Adam and Eve walked with God as a friend, but still, He came to them.  God spoke to Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, the Judges, Samuel and the prophets; David & Solomon.  He spoke to others through the prophets.  He reached down when he spoke to others through the prophets.  He Himself came to us in the person of Jesus.

Jesus spoke of the blessings for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.   Physical hunger and thirst are something we all experience. Think about how our physical bodies are nourished and strengthened.  The food and drink we need comes from outside ourselves; from God's creation.  We can't keep ourselves going by chowing down on our own flesh.  If we do not have access to food and water from outside ourselves, we cannot live very long. Every physical thing we have comes from God's created world. Not only what we eat, but what we wear, where we live comes from God's provision.   The air we breathe is given to us. All life on this earth depends on energy from outside, from the Sun.  If it were to somehow be cut off from us, everything would die.  There would be no heat, no rain, no wind, no days and nights. As St Paul told the Athenians, God is not dependent on anything that human hands can do for Him, since He can never be in need of anything ; on the contrary, He gives everything--including life and breath--to everyone. ... Yet in fact, He is not far from any of us, since it is in Him that we live, and move, and exist.  (Acts 17:24-29 JB)

And yet, we keep trying.  We bring offerings, which are but a portion of what He has given us.  We try to do things that we think with get us "points" with Him, when all He asks is for us to follow Him and allow Him  to make us into what He created us to be. (But of course this means doing it His way, not our own human way.)
We have seen far too much in our history and daily news of what can happen when we take it upon ourselves to be judge, jury and executioner, whether it is out of revenge or greed for power. Too often it has been in the name of God, thinking that He needs us to run His world.  We have even seen those who do not acknowledge God belittle our prayers, claiming that prayer is a waste of time when we should be "doing something."  The scary thing is that  "doing something"  is too often another case of playing God and making things worse.  The need for wisdom and clarity is very obvious in a very scary world;  we need to find His way and walk in it.

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