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Worship Services

Jacob's Ladder

March 1, 2020
Genesis 28:10-22
preached by
Pastor Jon Needham

Sermon text

Genesis 28:10–22

Jacob's Dream

Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 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 I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like 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 in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from 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.”

So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

Understanding the text

God speaks through the Word, creation, and through His Son. But at times, God also speaks through dreams, as is the case in this particular text. In Jacob’s dream, God reaffirms His covenant promise to provide land and numerous descendants. God is still carrying out the plan and promise He gave to Abraham.

However, in this dream, there is an added element that foreshadows Christ. Jacob sees a ladder that connects heaven and earth. In Genesis 11, the people of Babel tried to build their own ladder to reach into the heavens and were cursed for it. This, however, is different. This ladder is no human-built contraption. It is God’s ladder reaching from heaven to earth. It is not a ladder that Jacob can ascend. Rather it is a ladder that God himself must descend to be with His people.

Additional scripture

  1. Genesis 11:1-9
  2. John 1:43-51
  3. Psalm 15

Applying the text

  1. What is the difference between the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) and the ladder in Jacob’s dream?
  2. What is the purpose of Jacob’s dream? What is God seeking to teach him?
  3. How is Jesus the fulfillment of Jacob’s dream?

Call to Worship

Psalm 39:1–5

I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:

“O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!

Prayer of Confession

Lord, forgive us of our sins. Wash us in Your Word. Turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Give us ears that we may hear, and eyes that we may see. For we have failed to love You with our whole hearts. We have turned to our own way. We are lost without You. Lead us in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. May Your Word be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. For our joy and Your glory, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

March Memory Verse

Romans 12:1–2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Resources for Parents

Every Sunday, the children's ministry team creates lessons that cover the scripture and concepts from a recent sermon. The teachers ask simple questions to help the kids learn to understand and apply what God says in the Bible.

We want to equip parents to talk to their kids about what they're learning. The following is the content that the children's classes taught this week. We encourage parents to use this resource at home to help you and your kids grow as you learn from God's word together.

Children's Lesson from Sunday, March 1

1 Peter 3:18-22

The Main Point:
God is patient with His judgement of sin.

Vocabulary Word for PreK and Elementary 1 Classes:
- When God gives people what they deserve.

Q: What story is Peter reminding us of in this Bible passage?
A: Noah’s Ark.

Q: Who is the good and perfect judge?
A: God.

Q: Who deserves to be punished for their sin?
A: Everyone.

Q: What is the only way we can be saved from our sin?
A: By loving and believing that Jesus died for our sin.

New City Catechism Question #50

What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?

Christ triumphed over sin and death so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come.

(Note: All of our classes work through one question per month from the New City Catechism. You can download the New City Catechism app with all the questions and children's songs for free.)


Beginning this month, our children's classes are singing in their classrooms as part of their time together.

Jon Needham is the lead pastor and founding pastor of Coram Deo Church. He and his wife live in Bremerton with their three kids. He loves spending time with his family and riding motorcycles.


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