The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 01/26

Posted on | January 26, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 01/26

Scripture reading: John 10:1–10

Stairway To Heaven

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens,

and let us make a name for ourselves.” (Genesis 11:4)

 

Few projects have ever equaled the scope and ambition of the multi- national effort to build the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1–9). Near the dawn of human history, this was far more than a massive building project. These men and women wanted to erect a stairway to God! Utilizing their combined skills and resources, the citizens of Babel built a structure (probably a pyramid-shaped ziggurat with stairs on one side) that was undoubtedly taller than anything that had ever been built before. Alas, their stairway failed to reach heaven’s gate, and the project is remembered in history only as a massive monument to human folly and pride. And, yet, though their efforts were foolish, the questions these builders were asking were good: How can I have a relationship with God? Where can I find the gate to heaven? What can I do to meet God? These questions lie at the very core of our human condition and just won’t go away. Thousands of years later, they are still with us and can be discerned in religious experimentation and even in popular music. Led Zeppelin’s 1971 mega hit “Stair- way to Heaven” is a case in point.

The story of Babel’s Tower is recorded in the Bible so that future generations will learn from their mistake and not repeat their sin. Alas, in our arrogance and pride we continue to believe that by our own eff and hard work we can find God. But there is another story in the book of Genesis that is the polar opposite of Babel’s Tower, and this story does tell us how to find the stairway to heaven. Jacob is running away from home. He is a liar and a cheat. Yet God comes to him in a dream explaining how the gate of heaven can be found.

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 . . .” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place . . . How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:12–13, 16–17)

The writer of Genesis obviously wants the reader to compare and contrast Babel’s Tower and Jacob’s Ladder. The differences are dramatic. One is built by men and the other is built by God. Babel’s Tower is an impressive attempt to reach a noble goal. It is the very best man can produce. What a contrast is Jacob’s Ladder! This is not something Jacob thought up, but rather something God sent down. Jacob is not even looking for God. But God is looking for him!

,. One begins in arrogant certainty and ends in confusion, while the other begins in confusion and ends in humble certainty.

,. One works and one doesn’t. Human attempts to reach God may promise much and look impressive, but they simply don’t deliver. They always end in dis- appointment and confusion.

Are you looking for the gateway to heaven? Perhaps you’ve been trying to reach God by your own human efforts. Don’t be surprised if you are frustrated, tired, and confused. There is only one way to find heaven’s gate. God must let a ladder down! “I am the door,” Jesus said. “If anyone enters by me he will be saved” (John 10:9).

 

 

 

There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion [“man’s search for God”!] suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing he had found us! —C. S. Lewis

 

 

 

 

point to ponder Other religions emphasize man’s search for God, but only the Gospel of Christ announces God’s search for man.

 

prayer focus For that person who has heard the Good News of the Gospel, yet keeps trying to assemble his own idea of who God is. Ask God to reveal himself by “letting down that ladder.”

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