Jacob’s Ladder

Scripture: Genesis  28:10-22

Target Age Group:  1st through 6th grade

Welcome the children to the classroom and chat with them about their week as they gather around the table.

Pray and ask God to teach the children not just head knowledge, but also heart knowledge.

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Before starting ask them if they ever wished that they could go to heaven for a day to talk with God.  Discuss how sin has separated us from a Holy God even though we try to be good and go to church.  But, God has provided a way for us to have a relationship with Him.  What is that way?  Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins so that we can go to heaven and live with Him.  And in the mean time we have his Word – the Bible – in which He speaks to us.  And the Holy Spirit inside our hearts to guide us every day.  

Have them view the Bridge Illustration  video that talks about Jesus bridging the gap.   Here is another good one .

Bible Lesson:
Have the children open their Bibles to Genesis  28:10 – 22.

Remember Jacob from last week? He was running away from his brother who was vowing to kill him for taking his birthright and blessing.  He was all alone, running away to his uncle Laban when he stopped to sleep, and he had a dream about a Way to God… 

(Read the story to the children because at this age some of the children do not read smoothly, which hinders comprehension for the whole class.)

Genesis 28 (NIV)

Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19a He called that place Bethel.

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the LORD will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

Discuss Bible Lesson:

  • We have talked about Harran before.  Does anybody remember?  That was the place where Isaac sent his servant to find a bride for Isaac.  He found Rebekah at the well there.
  • Why was Jacob to go there?  To find a wife among the family – not a Canaanite, and  Rebekah wanted her brother, Laban, to protect him from Esau. 
  • Who specifically was Jacob looking for?  Laban, his mother’s brother.  Jacob’s uncle.
  • When it started to get dark Jacob stopped for the night.  Did he have a hotel to stay at?  No.
  • Where did he sleep?  Outside with a rock for a pillow.
  • Do you think you would have been able to sleep very well with a rock for a pillow? No.
  • Describe Jacob’s dream.  There was a stairway up to heaven and angels were going up and down on it.
  • Who was at the top of the stair?  God
  • What did God say to him?

                  1. That He would give Jacob the land that he was sleeping on. 

                 2. That his children would be like the dust of the earth in number. 

                 3. That his family would be a blessing everyone in the whole earth.  

                4. He would watch over Jacob. 

                5. He would bring him back to this promised land.  

                6. He wouldn’t leave him.

  • Do you think that Jacob was surprised to find that God loved him after what he had done to his brother?  Yes.  He probably thought that God was angry with him.
  • What does this tell you about God?  He keeps his promises.  He is quick to forgive us even when we have been very bad.
  • What did Jacob say when he woke up?  God must be in this place.  This is the gate of heaven.
  • What did Jacob do in the morning?  He made a pillar of the rock he had slept on, anointed it with oil, and called it Bethel
  • What did Jacob promise God?  That if He took care of him and brought him home safely again, that he would make Him his God, that the stone would be God’s house, and he would give him one tenth of everything he had.
  • What does this tell you about Jacob’s faith?  He hadn’t yet made a decision to follow the Lord before – even though his father, mother and grandparents loved the Lord.
  • Have you ever thought that you are a Christian just because your parents are? Or have you made your own decision to be a Christian? Everyone has to make their own decision to follow Jesus, don’t they.
  • Do you think that Jacob will be as tricky as he was after this?  Or do you think that this encounter with God will change him?  He’ll be changed.  When we meet God, He changes us.
  • The Bible tells of the way to get to heaven.  Do you know what that way is?  Jesus came to earth to provide a way to heaven. John 14:6 says Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And John 1: 51   says “Then he said to the disciples, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You will see heaven open. You will see the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man.””  Jesus is telling his disciples that he is the ladder to heaven!
  • Jesus was one of Jacob’s descendants.  Do you think that when God said that the world would be blessed by Jacob’s family that He was referring to the blessing of Jesus?  Yes.
  • Let’s pray and tell Jesus that we trust Him to be our ladder to heaven… 
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During the remaining class time do activities that help to reinforce what the children have learned. Here are some suggestions…

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Memorize the verse.

John 14:6  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” 

or

John 1: 51  Then he said to the disciples, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You will see heaven open. You will see the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man.”

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Listen to the song “Dreaming Jacob’s Dream”  by Michael Card.  Then discuss what they think is the meaning of the song.

If you have enough preparation time this week, make an iMovie or a musical slide show using pictures and paintings of Jacob’s Ladder from the internet.  (I created one that starts with the face of a sleeping baby and ending with picture of Jesus with the children.) Have the children watch that and then discuss what they think is the meaning of the song.

This was a BIG hit with my 1st through 3rd graders.  They wanted me to play the song over and over and over while they were coloring, and they commented that the song was “addicting”.

Here are the lyrics to this beautiful song:

Dreaming Jacob’s Dream

Are you dreaming Jacob’s dream?

Could that be why you’re smiling?

Could you not be a man like he

So wily and beguiling?

Do you see a ladder there

Reaching up to heaven?

Do the angels fill the air?

Could you reach out and touch them?

Jacob dreamed about Someone

The Way to heaven, God, the Son

Someday it’s my prayer for you

That in your heart his dream comes true.

Jacob dreamed about Someone

The Way to heaven, God, the Son

Someday it’s my prayer for you

That in your heart his dream comes true.

You do not sleep upon a stone.

You have a bed to lay in.

But, you and Jacob aren’t alone.

We all need dreams to seek Him.

Are you dreaming Jacob’s dream?

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Have the children use colors or pastels to draw their own vision of Jacob’s Ladder on a sketch pad page.  We used black scrap-booking paper with Crayola glitter crayons and Crayola Extreme Colors Twistables for a magical night time effect.  They loved it.

You could also have them color a color page related to the story.

Color page #1 from Bible Wise.

Color page #2 from Crafting the Word of God.

Color page #3 from sermons4kids

 An excellent color page book is “Through-the-Bible Coloring Pages For Ages 4-8” by Janet Skiles.  The pages are reproducible.

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Show a video of this story:

Video #1

Video #2

Video #3  Movie Jacob (Start at 25:00)

Video #4

Video #5   (Paintings put to music.)

Video #6   Song “Dreaming Jacob’s Dream”

Video #7 The Bridge Illustration

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Read the story “Jacob’s Amazing Dream” by Paul Dallgas Frey.

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This is a darling craft for younger children from Our Country Road.   The link to the free download is way down at the bottom of the page.

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Have the children make this craft from Auntie’s Bible Lessons.

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There are two craft ideas at Bible Class Creations.  Idea #1   Idea #2

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Bible Fun for Kids has some great printable crafts and ideas for this lesson.

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Have the children fill out this puzzle page  or this page for older kids from Bible Wise.   Younger children may enjoy this maze.

Or have them do this Stairway to Heaven puzzle from Bible Wise.

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Show younger children where Jacob went on this map.  Have older children do the map activities.

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Have the children fill out these worksheets from Calvary Curriculum.

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Have the children make this craft from Crafting the Word of God.

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Share this object lesson from Flame Creative Children’s Ministry.   Talk about how Jacob’s life is changed by this encounter with God, and how theirs can be transformed too!

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Here is a page of angels from Lambsongs that you may need for a Jacob’s Ladder craft that you have designed on your own.

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Mission Bible Class has a great introduction idea for this story.

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Share this children’s sermon from Sermons4Kids.   Don’t forget the activities at the bottom of the page!

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 Sing “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder”, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”, or “God Will Take Care of You”
Or  sing “You Come in a Hurry” by Crossroads Kids’ Club.

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Evaluate what the children have learned.  While they are coloring or crafting ask each one what they learned today.

Send each child’s parent an e-mail (or a hard copy) of the Parents’ Page.

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