At first glance we often see the men and women of the Bible as some sort of super-people. Chosen by God, called out of the nations, spoken to by the One and Only God Himself. They must be something special. Something better or above average. They are even called Bible Heroes from time to time.
And yet, look closely and you see a different story.
Through foolishness, Noah got drunk and was mocked by his son.
Through fear, Abraham lied about his wife and almost lost her.
Through pride, Isaac showed great favoritism to one son over the other.
Really, the list goes on and on. Murders, adultery, lies, deceit. Keep your eyes open as we walk through the Bible and you will find that the darkness crowds pretty closely around the sparks of light in these Bible heroes.
Jacob is no different. He was born holding onto the heel of his older twin. His name means supplanter (someone who wrongfully takes the place of another). Nice name, right? How sweet.
Yet that is just what he would do. With the help of his mother, Jacob would steal his brother’s birthright. He would receive the blessing meant for the oldest son by deceiving his blind father, Isaac. Later in life he would choose a favorite son, knowing very well how it felt.
After his great plan had worked (the soup and the fur on his arms and finally the blessing), he ran. He ran for his life. Esau was not a weak man and Jacob was afraid.
I often wonder how he felt after he had run away. Did he feel guilt? Regret? Did he feel it was all his fault? Did he feel like he needed a way out?
With a rock for a pillow, he slept on the hard ground. And he dreamt.
“...and behold, there was a ladder[a] 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! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it[b] 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. 14 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. 15 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.”
Jacob’s light was certainly feeling pretty dim at this time. It wasn’t an outside wind or rain that caused it, but it was Jacob himself. As though he had been spitting on the tiny spark. But God came to him. He came quickly and gave him the Promise. He gave him Hope. And he showed him on that night, that there IS a way of escape. There is a ladder that climbs beyond where our feeble, human legs can go. It takes us to the Light.
So often our enemies are not monsters or hurricanes, or outside forces. So often the protection we need is not against some terrible foe who comes in the night. The real foe can come more quietly into our minds. Into our struggles. The anxiety, the anger, the lying, the despair. They well up inside us until we don’t recognize ourselves anymore.
So often we realize that the enemy is...ourself.
But in those times, remember...you have the Promise. He is the Promise. He will not leave you.
By Faith Noah...constructed an ark for the salvation of his household.
By Faith Abraham...obeyed.
You see...it isn’t what we do in our own sinful selves that matters.
No. It is the faith that saves us from ourselves that matters. That is the spark. And it will light our way up the ladder.