We’re in to week #2 of our New Church Journey Program called, Shift: Small Changes. Big Difference. This program follows the story of Jacob from the Old Testament. This week’s topic is “Shift of Perspective.
Genesis 27:42-45 & Genesis 28:1-21: This week’s story involves Jacob being sent to his Uncle Laban to find a wife. During his journey Jacob sleeps and has a wonderful dream: “And behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the LORD stood above it.” I’ll pause here while you find your Bible and take a few minutes to read the rest of the story : ).
This story reminds you that the Lord is not only present, He is always providing you with the steps necessary to move forward and upward in your life. Wherever you may happen to be right now the Lord’s message is that He has great dreams for you, He’s providing you with a ladder to gradually achieve those dreams, and He will not leave you until these dreams become a reality. You’re welcome to listen to the sermon I gave last Sunday about this: Shift of Perspective.
It’s good to know that the Lord is always providing you with the steps necessary to move forward; but it’s also very important to understand how He does this. How does the Lord lead you from where you are right now, step by step to a better place? One way is through your understanding of truth.
It’s humbling to realize how much your perspective on life changes over time. At any given moment I understand specific truths and ideas that cause me to see the world in a certain light. But this changes over time. I learn new things, my understanding of reality changes, and I realize that what I once thought was the most important thing in the world really isn’t that significant. If in ten years you think back on your life today, you will likely laugh at how little you knew on February 15th, 2012 and how misguided your priorities were. Yes, right now your future self is remembering how ignorant and foolish you once were!
What does this have to do with the story of Jacob’s dream? In Jacob’s dream, the angels of God that were seen ascending on a ladder represent the various truths we know and understand at different stages of our life. The angels that were low on the ladder represent things we know and understand early on in our spiritual development; the angels that were higher up on the ladder represent things we know and understand further along in our spiritual development.
Even though you may not realize it, angels are with you all the time. Most people who believe in them think of angels as “guardians” who help to protect us from evil and harm. Angels do this. However, the angels with you also inspire your mind with various thoughts and perspectives on life! Right now angels and good spirits are enlightening your mind, inspiring various thoughts, and helping you to understand the world around you and the world inside of you:
“Both kinds of life residing with a person – the life of his thought and the life of his will -flow in from heaven…through the angels and spirits present with him. But when it is said that they flow in from heaven, this should be taken to mean that they flow in from the Lord by way of heaven. For every trace of life residing with the angels is received from the Lord, as they themselves with one accord confess, for they see with perception that it is so. And since every trace of life residing with the angels is received from the Lord, so is every trace of life residing with man received from Him; for man is governed by the Lord through angels and spirits in particular, and through heaven in general.” (Swedenborg – Secrets of Heaven 6466)
Wow! One of my favorite topics is the presents of angels with us and the influence they have on us. Our lives would completely change if we both believed in the presents of the spiritual world AND understood how this presents influences us every moment of our lives. This is amazing and important stuff.
What’s wonderful about the angels that are with you is they are experts at giving you the exact amount and quality of truth that you are ready for in life. Under the Lord’s guidance angels are like the perfect teachers who know exactly what grade you are in and what you are capable of understanding. They know that if they try to push you too hard or too fast up onto the next rung of the ladder they’re going to lose you – If only us ministers were more angelic in this regard : ).
This is especially true when it comes to the Lord’s Word. The Lord’s Word is a fountain of limitless truth and wisdom. However, the Lord does not expect you to understand it all in one sitting. Little by little, step by step, the Lord enlightens you to see and understand the various levels of truth in His Word when you are ready….and then He builds on that.
Soooooooo…..the big question is: When are you ready? If the Lord is always with you and is always providing you with the steps necessary to move forward in your life, when is it time to take that next step? If the Lord in His infinite wisdom knows that you are currently only capable of understanding the truth about life that exists on “rung four” of the ladder, when are you ready to move on to the understanding of truth that exists on “rung five”? There’s a hint in the passage below.
“When we are being regenerated we are gradually led…into a state when we think that deeper things lie with the Word [Bible] which we do not yet know…When we are being regenerated and are living according to this truth…our state is angelic, and from this we now see the things we had known previously as things which follow in order one after another and which flow from the Divine, like steps of a stairway, at the top of which is Jehovah or the Lord, and on the steps themselves His angels going up and coming down.” (Swedenborg – Secrets of Heaven 3690)