1 House of Prayer - LAUS DEO

Group Discussions

November 26, 2012

Welcome prayer warriors!

“Jacob’s Ladder” means many things to many people... for some, it's an old horror movie! Others know it as a country western or rock’n’roll song. Different artists. Different lyrics. If you Google it, you’ll find that "Jacob's Ladder" is everything from a flowering plant to the ultimate fitness experience! But let's venture back to where it all began as the biblical vision of a ladder dreamt up by Yaakov (Jacob) while asleep in this week's Torah portion Vayetzi (Genesis 28:10-32:3).

Vayetzi means “he went out.” The section of it that we will focus upon is where Jacob is on the run and not under happy circumstances. He’s fled Be’ersheva, ordered to do so by his parents but equally willing to flee from the fear of his vengeful, bloodthirsty brother, Esau who’s still ticked off that Jacob tricked Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing that was meant for him. And then, he slept. And dreamed of a ladder.

“And Yaakov went out from Be'er-Sheva, and went toward Haran, and he touched at a [certain] place, and lodged there, because the sun had set, and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set up on the earth, (and its head) and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:10-12)

Till tonight.
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Today in history, November 26, 1789, a public day of thanksgiving, a day of fasting and prayer, was observed in the United States as recommended by President George Washington and approved by Congress. Then, on this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed November 26 a national Thanksgiving Day. For our 15 minutes of contemplative prayer, please enjoy this richly spiritual and patriotic rendition of Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation speech:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vMfADnTn3s
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“And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, 'I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie to you will I give it, and to your descendants. And your descendents shall be as 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 through you and your descendents shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go and I will not leave you, until I have done all that I have spoken of to you.' And Jacob woke up out of his sleep and said: 'Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.' And he was afraid and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.'" (Genesis 28:13-17)

Jacob then took his stone pillow and set it on its side as a pillar after which he named the place “Beth El” or Bet El, which in Hebrew means house of God.

Yup, this portion of scripture has inspired poems, paintings, music, movies, flowers, string configurations, and so much more over the centuries. But what is it about Jacob’s dream that makes it so personal and so impactful to us? What is it about the angels that touch our hearts? What is it about the image of God as an imminent force so near to us and watching over us wherever we may be that stirs our spirits? What is it about the promise of redemption and blessing for all humankind to which we can so relate?

Medieval rabbinical sage Maimonides believed the ladder explained the relationship between our existence on earth and our existence in the "world of heavenly or spiritual spheres" both of which were set in motion by God. Maimonides thought the ascending angels were the prophets who, in their connection between the earthly realm and God's providence, were elevated to a higher, heavenly level of understanding. Afterward, they were inspired to return to earth and share their new spiritual understanding with the world. This was a metaphor for Jacob as a person who contemplated the connection between the heaven and earth, and because he did would attain an understanding of God and of His ways in our world.

Another interpretation of the ladder comes from the commentaries of a great Hassidic leader, R. Shneur Zalman and R. Hayyim of Volozhin, an Orthodox rabbi. Both men lived in Eastern Europe in the late 1700’s to middle 1800’s. They theorized the ladder symbolized the stages by which a person ascends in spirituality. The ladder has "angels of God going up and down on it", because the entire universe, including the angels, ascends and descends along the rungs, or in other words, everything depends on human deeds, ascending as mankind ascends, and descending as mankind descends.

Fast forward to present day. Contemporary Rabbi Ed Rosenthal, Executive Director of Cornell Hillel Yudowitz Center for Jewish Campus Life, writes on the "My Jewish Learning" website, “Every human being has dreams. Jacob had a dream and he saw the mountaintop: Sinai!” Likewise, Israeli rabbi Shlomo Riskin once wrote, ‘The fact of the matter is that a person can dream when he's asleep and can dream when he's awake. But only the dreams that one dreams when he/she is awake can become transformed into the visions which change reality.’

Five rabbis, three and a half different opinions! What do you think? Is the ladder a metaphor for earthly and spiritual worlds? Or for human deeds, good and bad? Or for our dreams, those which we have nightly; those we hold in our hearts as hopes that we turn into reality? Or something entirely different?

Of the many inspired artists, enjoy this musical rendition of “Jacob’s Ladder” by Huey Lewis and the News: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTNf3ddg9CA

Blessings.

1 year 8 months ago (Edited)

There are many levels, and different rungs upon the ladder of spiritual maturity; and the man that sees himself to be at the top of the ladder, has but only one direction left to go, as the gravity of his haughtiness will take him. {:3)> Shalom!

1 year 8 months ago

Got that right, YF. Or as my dad always said, "You see the same people on the way up the (corporate) ladder as you do on the way down." I think it holds true for the spiritual ladder, too. See you all at 15 after prayer hour!

1 year 8 months ago

H Iam here to pray, I will return at the quarter hour

1 year 8 months ago

Great post OTBM I am not sure what God wants me to learn from this example. Will be digesting all your thoughts. Love and God Bless Maggie

1 year 8 months ago

Well, well. I spoke to soon! Hello Maggie and Barbara and YF, if you are here!

1 year 8 months ago (Edited)

How are we tonight?

1 year 8 months ago

I'm here to pray with all of you! Good evening "Sisters" OTBM, Kress, Baugh & "Brother" Yeshua/friend.

1 year 8 months ago

Welcome Pastor Ron. Nice to have you join us. How are you this evening?

1 year 8 months ago

I am here to tell you of a small miracle. About a month ago my children's father wrote them a horrable mean email which forwarded to his entire contact list. Friday I asked if he could give me the name of his mechanic. To help me make decisions about the car. He insisted that, I accompany him to see the mechanic personally. On the way I told him about my daughter's job.

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1 year 8 months ago

Well, that is good news. And yes, if he's drinking again, Barbara, we will definitely pray for him to find the courage to find counsel and solace.

1 year 8 months ago

I'm well thank you! Excellent messege "Sister" Baugh & a lesson on how The Almighty works thru each of us!

1 year 8 months ago

Barbara that is great news and I pray for healing for your daughter and son.
Words are more cutting than a sword but many either do not care or they have no idea what comes out of their mouth. Pray they will know the difference. Love and God Bless Maggie

1 year 8 months ago

Couldn't agree with Maggie more! We are a little gathering tonight but I do want to thank you for being here. I wish you all peace, a pleasant evening and a lovely rest of your week. Blessings and good night.

1 year 8 months ago

In my studies I've come to think the "ladder"was God's way of showing Jacob there was a real way to Heaven but it had many steps on the way there.

1 year 8 months ago

"Please pray for him as he is drinking again." Nothing that Yeshua can't fix; pray and believe to receive. Adonai open his eyes, and quiet his soul, that he might see and understand what he is doing to himself, and those which love and care about him. Abba I would ask your shalom upon our sister Barbara Ann Baugh, and her family as well. In Yeshua Ha'Mashiach Holy and precious name above all names we pray. Amen! Shalom!

1 year 8 months ago
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