Angels on a Ladder
Genesis 28:10-22; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 183–188
I belong to God’s family no matter what happens.
“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go” (Genesis 28:15).
Have you ever felt lonely? Really alone? Or felt that there was no one you could talk to? That was how Jacob felt when he had to leave home. Then God shared a special time with him. After that, Jacob never felt lonely.
Isaac and Rebekah’s twins, Esau and Jacob, had never liked each other very much. But now the situation was much worse. Jacob had tricked their father into giving him a special blessing. It was a blessing that Esau should have received.
Esau was so angry at Jacob that he wanted to kill him! So their mother, Rebekah, decided to send Jacob to his uncle Laban. “Stay with your uncle for a while, Jacob. Give your brother time to cool his anger,” she said sadly. Little did she know that she would never see Jacob again.
So Jacob started out on the long trip to Laban’s home. His mother’s brother, his uncle Laban, lived a long way from Jacob’s parents. It was almost 500 miles through strange and dangerous country. Jacob was all alone, and he was frightened. He had no servants to protect him from wild beasts or robbers. And he wasn’t used to sleeping on the hard ground. He traveled as fast as he could. He knew he was running for his life. He knew his brother wanted to kill him.
In a day or two Jacob arrived at a special place. His grandfather Abraham had once built an altar there to worship God. Jacob was so tired that night. He may not even have known he was in such a special place. He just wrapped up in his blanket and went to sleep with his head on a rock.
That night Jacob had an unusual dream. Not an ordinary dream, but a special dream from God. In his dream Jacob saw a huge ladder or staircase. It reached all the way from the earth to heaven. Jacob saw angels going up and down the ladder. God spoke to him. “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham and Isaac. . . . I will be with you and protect you wherever you go. And I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you” (Genesis 28:15, ICB).
Jacob sat up and looked around. “The Lord is here!” he exclaimed. “He is in this place, and I didn’t know it!”
Jacob got up early the next morning. The stars were just beginning to fade away. And the sun was just beginning to light the eastern sky. Jacob wanted to do something to mark this special place. The Lord Himself had spoken to him there. So he took the stone he had used for a pillow and set it upright in the ground. He poured oil over it and dedicated it to God. And then he named this special place Bethel, “The House of God.”
So Jacob continued on his journey. He was no longer afraid of his brother. He was not afraid of wild beasts or robbers. He knew for sure that the Lord was with him. The Lord was protecting him. God had told him so!