Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 November 2018 Genesis 28:12.

Genesis 28:12.   And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

It’s that time again friends and fellow believers; time to make the trek to the Lord’s house to be renewed and refreshed in fellowship with praise and singing and hearing God’s word. Let’s hope we all will say, like Bruh David says in the opening verse of Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) 

Yes people, we should be glad to go to God’s sanctuary, not just go for the sake of going, so you can say you went to church, although there was no real zest behind your actions. But my role is not to test your heart and/or your motives, that’s God’s job. My role is to simply try and encourage you to stand strong and steadfast in the Almighty, and going to church helps you to do that. 

Now let’s offer up some thanks and praise from deep down that will glorify God, as well as soften our hard hearts and make them more receptive to the Word. And today’s hymn is one of our very favourites, a Sarah Flower’s composition way back in 19th century England. We know it as ‘Nearer My God To Thee.’ So let’s sing, and as we sing, please let it come sincerely from the depths of our souls. 

Altogether now: ‘Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me, Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain: Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!)

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down, Darkness be over me, my rest a stone; Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain) There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n; All that thou sendest me, in mercy giv’n; Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain) 

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with praise, Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise; so by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain) Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky, Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly, Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain)

There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest, There in my Saviour’s LOVE, perfectly blest; Age after age to be nearer, my God, to Thee… Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee.’ 

Oh friends, what a soulful rendition of those beautiful lyrics. I’m sure it brought tears to the eyes of the listeners in heaven. And one website makes this amazing, but ever so true comment: ‘Even when we cannot see or feel Him, the Lord never leaves our side. As we walk through each day, let us remember to call upon His name and givethanks. The beautiful lyrics of ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ are the perfect call to the Lord.’ And so indeed they are my brethren.  

The story behind the writing of the hymn is that Sarah Flower wrote it to follow Pastor William Johnson Fox’s sermon on the story known as Jacob’s ladder, or Jacob’s dream, based on the words of Genesis 28:11-19. Some of us know the story, but let’s recount it for all to hear. 

After Jacob stole his brother Esau’s birthright, by tricking his father Isaac into blessing him (Gen.27) he set out for Padan-aram to find a wife from the family of his mother Rebekah’s brother Laban. 

The Good Book picks up the story: ‘And he lighted upon (came to) a certain place, and tarried (stayed) there all night, because the sun was set; and he took (one) of the stones of that place, and put them (it) for his pillow, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 

And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed (descendants); And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north and to the south: and in thee and thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places wither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.’ (Gen.28:11-15) 

Now some of us might think the Lord had gone off His rocker making such am awesome promise to an ole crook and scamp like Jacob. But He obviously saw something in Jacob that no one else saw. He even changed his name later to Israel, from which the twelve tribes of Israel came as He had promised, and they spread all over the earth. 

‘And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful (awesome) is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate to heaven.’ (Gen.28:16-17) And when he got up, he set the stone he’d used for his pillow as a pillar and poured oil on it, calling the place Beth-el (the House of God). 

Then he vowed: ‘If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth (a tithe) unto thee.’ (Gen.28:20-22) 

And the Lord kept His part of the bargain, and so did Jacob! Ah friends, that just goes to show the mysterious ways in which our great God moves! Who would have ever thought that a schemer like Jacob could ever become the Father of Israel eh? None but our magnificent and merciful and forgiving God, for He specializes in taking the worst and making them the best! That means there is hope for all of us, so let’s not give up just yet. Much LOVE!

…vow not a vow…especially to God…that you don’t intend to keep…

 

           

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