Jesse Tree 6. “Jacob’s Ladder: God’s Assurance”

Children’s VersionA version suitable for children can be had here.

Scripture: Gen 28:10–22

Govert Flinck (1615–1660), “Isaac Blessing Jacob”

Jacob was Abraham’s grandson and son of the very Isaac for whom God had provided a substitute (Gen 22). But Jacob is definitely one of those people in the great story of redemptive history that reminds us that God calls and uses us “warts and all.” When I read the story of Jacob and Esau, I have the strongest suspicion that Esau would have been my good pal if we had been neighbors—and only a forceful directive from my mother would have made me go play with the sneaky mamma’s boy Jacob. Sure enough, Jacob’s shifty ways got him into deep trouble with his brother Esau.

Jacob's Dream
Jusepe de Ribera Spagnoletto (1591–1652), “Jacob’s Dream”

Years later, while he was on the run for his life, Jacob was sleeping. God gave him a dream about angels going up and down a stairway that reached from earth to heaven (Gen 28:2). Jacob was on the run in a form of exile from the covenantal family, but God announced himself in covenantal terms: “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father Isaac” (Gen 28:13). Jacob was on the run, heading for foreign territories, but God told him, “The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am going to give it to you and your descendants” (Gen 28:13). Jacob realized that he was in God’s own land, right at the front porch of God’s heavenly house. So he called the place he slept “Bethel.”1

Jacob's Stairway
Blake (1757–1827), “Jacob’s Stairway into Heaven”

Jacob realized that God was renewing the patriarchal covenant in which he had promised Abraham the land where Jacob was now sleeping (Gen 12:1; 15:7). Several times God had promised to multiply Abraham’s descendants like sand on a beach or stars in the skies.2 And he had promised that Abraham’s descendants would bless the whole world.3

"Jacob Sees Esau Coming to Meet Him," by James Tissot
“Jacob Sees Esau Coming to Meet Him,” by James Tissot

So he went on his way knowing that God would bless and keep him. And God did. Jacob went through a tough time with a father-in-law who proved to be a match for his own sneaky ways—and got an extra wife in the bargain (Gen 29). But when it finally it came time to head home, he found Esau ready to have him back (Gen 32).

Jacob eventually came to be named “Israel” (Gen 32:27–28). Jesus became his most worthy descendant. Now Jesus blesses all the nations when they obey him.

Questions, Reflections, and Commitments

  • Tonight as you put the children to bed and eventually turn in for your own sleep, you may feel harassed, You might even feel all the worse because you can list several things you did to bring it on yourself. Before you lay your head on your pillow, ask God to wake you up with his assurances of protection and guidance tomorrow morning.

Ornament for the day

  • Click here to download cross-stitch patterns for all the daily ornaments.
  • Click here to download a simple coloring book for all the daily ornaments.


  1. The Hebrew word beth means “house” and ‘el means “god.”
  2. Gen 12:2; 13:16; 15:5; 22:17; 26:4.
  3. Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14.

Author: Dale A. Brueggemann

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