WE ARE CLIMBING JACOB’S LADDER
He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12)
This delightful children’s song was inspired by the account of Jacob’s dream at Bethel as recorded in Genesis 28:10–22. In this dream, Jacob saw a stairway or ladder resting on earth with its top reaching to heaven, with God’s angels or messengers ascending and descending on it.
From Jacob’s dream we learn that the gap between earth and heaven can be bridged. Although God revealed Himself in times past to various individuals as He did to Jacob, His full self-revelation required a God-Man—the Son of God in all of His deity and the Son of Man in full humanity to span the mighty gulf. Jesus Christ became the “ladder” for man to reach heaven and to enjoy even now a restored fellowship with the heavenly Father.
In times past, God used dreams to speak to people, as He did to Job (Job 33:15), Joseph (Genesis 37:5–9), Solomon (1 Kings 3:5, 15), Daniel (Daniel 7) and the wise men (Matthew 2:11–12). But with the completion of the Bible, our divine guidance is much more reliably known through the Holy Spirit’s illumination of the Scriptures than through dreams and visions that we may experience. In fact, God’s Word clearly warns against this kind of instruction (Jeremiah 23:16). It is this claim to extra revelation that forms the basis of all false cults.
As is true of all real spirituals and folk songs, there is no known author or composer of “Jacob’s Ladder.” It was first heard about 1825, and it has been a favorite with young and old since.
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder; we are climbing Jacob’s ladder; we are climbing Jacob’s ladder, soldiers of the cross.
Sinner, do you love my Jesus? Sinner, do you love my Jesus? Sinner, do you love my Jesus? soldiers of the cross.
If you love Him, why not serve Him? If you love Him, why not serve Him? If you love Him why not serve Him? soldiers of the cross.
We are climbing higher, higher; we are climbing higher, higher; we are climbing higher, higher, soldiers of the cross.
For Today: Genesis 27, 28, 29; John 1:51; Ephesians 4:13; 2 Peter 3:18
Keep this perspective in all you do: As Christians we are merely travelers in this life, moving forward and upward to our heavenly home. Even now, however, we have God’s messengers to help us live victoriously. Give Christ your thanks for making all of this possible. Use this little spiritual to help you as you reflect on these truths—
Osbeck, K. W.
- And when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim (so that he could not see) he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son. And he answered him, I am here. Then he said, Behold, I am now old, and know not the day of my death. Wherefore now, I pray thee take thine instruments, thy quiver and thy bow, and get thee to the field, that thou mayest take me some venison. Then make me savory meat, such as I love, and bring it me that I may eat, and that my soul may bless thee, before I die. (Now Rebekah heard, when Isaac spake to Esau his son) and Esau went into the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. Then Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I have heard thy father talking with Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savory meat, such as I love, and bring it me that I may eat, and that my soul may bless thee, before I die. (Now Rebekah heard, when Isaac spake to Esau his son) and Esau went into the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. Then Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I have heard thy father talking with Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savory meat, that I may eat and bless thee before the Lord, afore my death. Now therefore, my son, hear my voice in that which I command thee. Get thee now to the flock, and bring me thence two good kids of the goats, that I may make pleasant meat of them for thy father, such as he loveth. Then thou shalt bring it to thy father, an he shall eat, to the intent that he may bless thee before his death. But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is rough, and I am smooth. My father may possibly feel me, and I shall seem to him as a mocker: so shall I bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing. But his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only hear my voice, and go and bring me them. So he went and set them, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made pleasant meat, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took fair clothes of her elder son Esau, which were in her house, and clothed Jacob her younger son: And she covered his hands and the smooth of his neck with the skins of the kids of the goats. Afterward she put the pleasant meat and bread, which she had prepared, in the hand of her son Jacob. And when he came to his father, he said, My father. Who answered, I am here: who art thou, my son? And Jacob said to his father, I am Esau thy firstborn, I have done as thou badest me, arise, I pray thee: sit up and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. Then Isaac said unto his son, How hast thou found it so quickly my son? Who said, Because the Lord thy God brought it to mine hand. Again said Isaac unto Jacob, Come near now, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be that my son Esau, or not. Then Jacob came near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. (For he knew him not, because his hands were rough as his brother Esau’s hands: wherefore he blessed him.) Again he said, Art thou that my son Esau? Who answered, Yea. Then said he, Bring it me hither, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it to him, and he ate: also he brought him wine, and he drank. Afterward his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near and kissed him. Then he smelled the savor of his garments, and blessed him, and said, Behold, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field, which the Lord hath blessed. God give thee therefore of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plent of wheat and wine. Let people be thy servants, and nations bow down unt othee: be Lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s children honor thee, cursed be he that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blessed thee. And when Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, then came Esau his brother from his hunting. And he also prepared savory meat, and brought it to his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.But his father Isaac said unto him, Who art thou? And he answered, I am thy son, even thy firstborn Esau. Then Isaac was stricken with a marvelous great fear, and said, Who and where is he that hunted venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest? and I have blessed him, therefore he shall be blessed. When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with a great cry and bitter, out of measure, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, my father. Who answered, Thy brother came with subtlety, and hath taken away thy blessing. Then he said, Was he not justly called Jacob? for he hath deceived me these two times: he took my birthright, and lo, now hath he taken my blessing. Also he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? Then Isaac answered, and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I made his servants: and with wheat and wine have I furnished him, and unto thee now what shall I do, my son? Then Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me, also my father: and Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. Then Isaac his father answered, and said unto him, Behold, the fatness of the earth shall be thy dwelling place, and thou shalt have of the dew of heaven from above. And by thy word shalt thou live, and shalt be thy brother’s servant, But it shall come to pass, when thou shalt get the mastery, that thou shalt break his yoke from thy neck. Therefore Esau hated Jacob, because of the blessing, wherewith his father blessed him. And Esau thought in his mind, The days of mourning for my father will come shortly, then I will slay my brother Jacob. And it was told to Rebekah of the words of Esau her elder son, and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau is comforted against thee, meaning to kill thee: Now therefore my son, hear my voice: arise, and flee thou to Haran to my brother Laban, And tarry with him a while until thy brother’s fierceness be swaged. And till thy brother’s wrath turn away from thee, and he forget the things, which thou hast done to him: then will I send and take thee from thence: why should I be deprived of you both in one day? Also Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life, for the daughters of Heth. If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth like those of the daughters of the land, what availeth it me to live? Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, take not a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, get thee to Padan Aram to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father, and thence take thee a wife of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother. And God all sufficient bless thee, and make thee to increase, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people, And give thee the blessing of Abraham, even to thee and to thy seed with thee, that thou mayest inherit the land (wherein thou art a stranger,) which God gave unto Abraham. Thus Isaac sent forth Jacob, and he went to Padan Aram unto Laban son of Bethuel the Aramite, brother to Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother. When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him to Padan Aram, to fetch him a wife thence, and given him a charge when he blessed him, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan, And that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Paran Aram: Also Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan displeased Isaac his father, Then went Esau to Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife. Now Jacob departed from Beersheba, and went to Haran, And he came unto a certain place, and tarried there all night because the sun was down, and took of the stones of the place, and laid under his head and slept in the same place. Then he dreamed, and behold, there stood a ladder upon the earth, and the top of it reached up to heaven: and lo, the Angels of God went up and down by 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, upon the which thou sleepest will I give thee and thy seed. 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 in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And lo, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land: for I will not forsake thee until I have performed that, that I have promised thee. Then Jacob awoke out of his sleep and said, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware. And he was afraid, and said, How fearful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. Then Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had laid under his head, and set it up as a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of the place Bethel: notwithstanding the name of that city was at the first called Luz. Then Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this journey which I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothes to put on: So that I came unto my father’s house in safety, then shall the Lord be my God. And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me, will I give the tenth unto thee. Then Jacob lift up his feet and came intothe East country. And as he looked about, behold, there was a well in the field, and lo, three flocks of sheep lay thereby (for at that well were the flocks watered) and there was a great stone upon the well’s mouth. And thither were all the flocks gathered, and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place. And Jacob said unto him, My brethren, whence be ye? And they answered, We are of Haran. Then he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? Who said, We know him. Again he said unto them, Is he in good health? And they answered, He is in good health, and behold, his daughter Rachel cometh with the sheep. Then he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep and go feed them. But they said, We may not, until all the flocks be brought together, and till men roll the stone from the well’s mouth, that we may water the sheep. While he talked with them, Rachel alsocame with her father’s sheep, for she kept them. And as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Labsn his mother’s brother, then came Jacob near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept. (For Jacob told Rachel, that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son) then she ran and told her father. And when Laban heard tell of Jacob his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house: and he told Laban all these things. To whom Laban said, Well, thou art my bone and my flesh, and he abode with him the space of a month. For Laban said unto Jacob, Though thou be my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall be thy wages? Now Laban had two daughters, the elder called Leah, and the younger called Rachel. And Leah was tender eye, but Rachel was beautiful and fair. And Jacob loved Rachel, and said, I will serve thee three years for Rachel thy younger daughter. Then Laban answered, It is better that I give her thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed unto him but a few days, because he loved her. Therefore Jacob said to Laban, Give me my wife, that I may go in to her: for my term is ended. Wherefore Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. But wen the evening was come, he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him, and he went in unto her. And Laban gave his made Zilpah to his daughter Leah, to be her servant. But when the morning was come, behold, it was Leah. Then said he to Laban, Wherefore hast thou done thus to me? did not I serve thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? And Laban answered, It is not the manner of this place, to give the younger before the elder. Fulfill seven years for her, and we will also give thee this for the service, which thou shalt serve me yet seven years more. Then Jacob did so, and fulfilled her seven years, so he gave him Rachel his daughter to be his wife. Laban also gave to Rachel his daughter, Bilhah his maid to be her servant. So entered he in to Rachel also, and loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served him yet seven years more. When the Lord saw that Leah was despised, he made her fruitful: but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Because the Lord hath looked upon my tribulation, now therefore mine husband will love me. And she conceived again and bare a son, and said, Because the Lord heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also, and she called his son Simeon. And she conceived again and bare a son, and said, Now at this time will my husband keep me company, because I have borne him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. Moreover she conceived again and bare a son, saying, now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah, and left bearing. Genesis 27, 28, 29
- And he said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see heaven open, and the Angels of God ascending, and descending upon that Son of man. John 1:51
- Till we all meet together (in the unity of faith and that acknowledging the Son of God) unto a perfect man, and unto the measure of the age the fullness of Christ, Ephesians 4:13
- But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: to him be glory both now and for evermore. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
What an absolutely lovely rendition translates one to the Throne of God in deep, heartfelt worship. Enjoy!