“God wants to communicate with his people in the middle of their distress so you can see the almighty power of his will. “

Dr. Tony Evans

I attended a Wednesday night prayer service at our church about a week ago that reminded me of the story of Jacob’s ladder. The pastor was talking about how it doesn’t matter what your family is or where you came from because God is trying to use you and speak to you so that others can hear him through you and your life experiences. He outlined the genealogy Jesus family from David to Jesus and how “dysfunctional” That entire family was.  Likewise, The story of Jacob is really well documented in the book of Genesis. The part that I’m referring to can be found in Genesis 27 and 28. If you know your Bible, you will know that Esau wanted to kill Jacob his brother because Jacob stole the birthright and the blessing from their father. And in chapter 28 Jacob was running for his life. And the amazing part of the story is at the lowest part of Jacob’s life, God met him, God showed him where he went wrong, and taught him how to have a personal relationship with God  (Genesis 28:10). So how does it relate to us?

Our Ladders

The Bible tells us that Jacob was a total trickster and a heathen, and he never knew God personally, but instead only through the experiences and testimony of his father and his grandfather (Abraham and Isaac). God wanted him to know who He was on a personal level just like he does for you and I. Genesis 28: 10 talked about how Jacob was so scared that he ran “to a place”. Biblical scholars believe they have found that place that where he landed exhausted and it was 50 miles away.  Jacob made that trip in just one days time. When I heard that it made me think how scared do you have to be to run 50 miles in one day?   Can you imagine what he felt? It was in that place that Jacob was so exhausted at sunset that he fell out on the ground and slept on a pile of rocks. At that moment, Jacob was stripped of all resources that he had in life.  He had no money, had no family to support him, had no friends there to tell him everything’s gonna be OK and no food. He was completely alone and broken. And yet in that time God used his brokenness to show him how to have a personal relationship with Him. I remember a time like this.  While a stone was not my pillow,  I slept in my boat for a period of three weeks alone and by myself in the deathly quiet of a marina where all I could hear was the waves crashing instead of my children yelling, crying, or laughing. The silence was deafening and destroyed me inside.  It was there at that lowest part of my life that I had a personal encounter with God as well, and I believe this is how the Heavenly Father works!

How God works

I believe that if you are at the lowest place in your life, the world has turned against you, and you are all alone, God has you right where He wants you!  That might sound ridiculous to most people, but speaking personally, and seeing this play out to dozens of other men in my life in recent years, I believe that that is how God works. Dr. Charles Spurgeon has a great quote. That quote is, “lest a man be broken, God cannot use him”. Genesis 28:11 says that Jacob was so exhausted that he slept on a rock and in his deep sleep, God revealed to him through a dream what he needed to see. Jacob did not know God personally, and all he saw and knew in his life was fear. In life all we see is what we see physically with our eyes and that causes stress and fear because we cannot see the big picture and what God is doing behind the scenes in the heavenly realm. But in “this place” God can let you see what you can’t see with physical eyes. As Jacob slept, God showed him what is happening in the spiritual realm that we cannot see. It was revealed to Jacob, a giant ladder coming from heaven, leading down to the earth that showed angels coming and going all the time, and never stopping even through the night. God was showing to Jacob, that He is always working, and He is never idle.  God says that all things will be worked for our good (Romans 8:28). This made me refer back to Genesis 28:12 while I was sleeping in my boat.   God also shared a vision with me where He showed me all of the things that I had done wrong in my life, and all of the areas that I needed to repent and ask for forgiveness for. That was a hard thing to watch and the worst part was that I could not wake up from that vision. The beautiful part about it was that He also reiterated a promise that he had made to me 12 years prior. To Jacob, God said, “There above it (the ladder) stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15). I don’t know about you, but that promise would make me feel at ease. In my case God brought me back to a vision he gave me 12 years ago when I became self-employed (not by choice). It was a tumultuous time in my family because we had just bought our dream home, had a new baby and I did not wanna be self-employed because I loved the comfort and security of a large paycheck every two weeks. But God had a different plan. He told me the following “you will own your own business and you will use the skill set that I have given you to help other business owners like you be more successful and prosperous in this world while you tell them about me.  You will be so successful that your wife and your children will run nonprofit organizations and give back to the community that you were in to better the people and the humanity around you.” At the time I never understood that, and when it wasn’t happening, I took matters into my own hand, which caused me and my family to stumble and honestly probably was the precursor to my family breaking up. Only when I was able to reach the end of myself and my sin and had to rely fully and God was He able to begin making this vision truly happen. I fully believe that He will keep his promise to me, even though there’s a major part missing in that Vision currently.  He will fill that void and make His will for me and my family happen.

In summary

I believe that God can only use us when we get to a point in our life that we are fully able to submit to Him, and to be obedient to him whether we like the direction that life is going or not. Tony Evans has a sermon that I love and he talks about Angelogy. I’m not sure that’s even a word, but essentially what he’s saying is that every believer has an angel assigned to them and that their job is to be the messenger between you and Jesus and that the blessings from above are delivered that way via the spiritual realm. As he calls it, the unseen becomes seen via the angels. They are also there to protect you from the demonic angels that wish to do you harm (Hebrews 1:14). I believe that’s also reiterated in Jacobs ladder, because he references seeing the angels going to and fro nonstop even through the night. When all resources are gone and the world is against you, you are in God’s “place”. I truly believe this quote to be true. Jacob couldn’t fix his situation and at the worst time of his life, God connected him to heaven (ladder). God wants to do the same with us.  The message is clear to me.  We must lose our self sufficiency and when we do, we discover God’s eternal sufficiency.  Becasue scripture is clear on “Angelogy”, it is clear to me that the devil and his angels (demons) want to stop the will of God and will do anything they can to you and against you to stop it. We each have our own demons and those are more each and every time we sin and don’t ask for forgiveness.  The only defense is to know God intimately and to have the protection of god. (Armor of God) Ephesians 6:10-20. If you are in full submission to God, He will shed a light on his word and his will and you will see it clearer than you can see your hand in front of your face. This is why when you aren’t living for God, the Bible will be hard to read and will make no sense to you.  You will see that all that has happened is under God’s control, is made by Him or allowed by Him to serve a purpose. God always reveals himself and blesses not only you but  also so you can be a blessing to others. That is why he couldn’t bless me when He first gave me my visions because God can’t bless you until you are ready to be a blessing to others around you. In the beginning I only wanted to be blessed and therefore He couldn’t fulfill his promise to me until now. God wants to have a first hand intimate experience and relationship (Philippians 2:12-13, 1Timothy 1:9, Psalm 40:7-8).  What will it take for you to see God’s will outside all the noise and distraction that the evil one wants you to focus us?  Will you too need to hit rock bottom before you trust and submit to God fully?