Reading through the Bible together

Monday, May 14, 2012

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"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:6-11, NIV)


Few Bible stories illustrate God’s attitude toward sinners (as stated above in Romans 5:6-11) better than the story of Jacob’s ladder dream.  Jacob was a guilty man fleeing for his life from an angry brother whom he had grievously wronged.  Jacob was alone, afraid, cut off from family and seemingly shut off from God.  It is in that precise hour that God comes to Jacob, unannounced and apparently uninvited except by Jacob’s unspoken cry for help.  God comes to Jacob and assures him that, despite his sin, he is still a precious son of the God of Abraham and Isaac, and that all the promises made to them also apply to him.  It is while we are still sinners that God comes to us as “Immanuel, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).  The ladder Jacob saw represents Jesus (John 1:51), the connection between God and guilty humanity.  The human family may be lonely, afraid, and exhausted, but God has not turned His back on us.  He is truly the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob- the God of all struggling people and troubled families.

Douglas Tilstra

Director of Outdoor Leadership and Education, Southern Adventist University