One of the most interesting people in the Old Testament is Jacob, a cheating, deceiving, manipulative man. Yet God loved this man dearly.

Jacob had tricked his brother Esau out of his birthright. When a famished Esau came in from hunting, Jacob offered him a pot of stew in exchange for his birthright. In their culture, the birthright was the right of the firstborn male to be the head of the clan. This included a “double blessing” — that is, receiving a double portion of all their father’s possessions. More importantly, whoever had the birthright was to be the progenitor of the patriarchal seed through which Christ would come: “And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 28:14).

Jacob had also stolen the patriarchal blessing from his father, Isaac — a blessing that belonged to Esau — by pretending to be Esau. When Esau learned that Jacob had stolen his blessing from their father, he was determined to kill him.

Their mother, Rebekah, persuaded Isaac to send Jacob away to where her brother Laban lived. She wanted Jacob to find a wife there and live peacefully. While Jacob was on his way, God gave him an incredible vision. He saw a ladder descending from heaven down to earth, with angels going to and from the throne of God, doing His bidding (see Genesis 28:12).

God was drawing back the curtain and showing Jacob divine activity that was going on all the time. All those angels were on assignment — going back and forth to the earth to guide and lead God’s people, minister to them, camp around them, warn them, protect them, guard them, provide for their needs.

Beloved, that ladder is still there! And those same angels have not aged a single hour since Jacob saw them. In fact, they are still working and ministering on our behalf today.

To Jacob, and through him to us, God then said, “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all the places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of” (Genesis 28:15).