Memory Text: “And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed’ ” (Genesis 32:28, NKJV).
The hand of God and His faithfulness are still revealed even in the good and bad that happen in the family of Jacob. Fortunately for Jacob, the LORD God of his fathers appeared to him again and changed Jacob’s name to Israel, ‘a new name for a new beginning’, a name that will be used for the great nation that will come from him.
How can we understand the story of Jacob’s wrestle with God?
Jacob wrestled with a ‘Man’, it became clear to him that He was God when Jacob said, “ ‘I will not let you go unless You bless me!’ ”, Jacob is the name associated with his sinful life and as evidence that God has forgiven him and blessed him, the name that was associated with his sins, Jacob was changed to Israel. Israel received God’s blessings and his sins were forgiven.
What could be implied in the bowing of Jacob before Esau?
Jacob bowed seven times thus echoing his father’s seven blessings. Jacob’s bows before Esau is in reverse to his father’s blessing that says “ ‘nations [bowing] down to you’ ”, it was as if Jacob’s intention was to return that which he stole from his brother.
In what ways did Jacob’s experience with his brother help Jacob understand the meaning of grace?
The two people he wronged in his deceit, God and his brother forgave Jacob even when he was undeserving of their forgiveness. This forgiveness did not come because of his efforts but by God’s grace alone.
How do deception and grace play out once more in the family of Jacob-Israel?
Simeon and Levi resort to lies and deception after the incident of rape of their sister, Dinah by Shechem. They plundered and killed all the men in the land of Shechem on the third day of their getting them all circumcised. However, Jacob is only after peace and He chides his sons even after hearing what they had done to the people of Shechem. However, the acts of the sons of Jacob were covered by God’s grace.
What lesson can we take about true worship from God’s call for Jacob to leave for Bethel?
Jacob’s call to leave Shechem was not just a call to leave the location but also to leave everything idolatry, it is also a call to a change of character that will renew his relationship with God. Similarly, true worship is not about a physical move from one place or church to another, it is important for us to seek God’s grace to purge the idolatry of our hearts, regardless of where we live we can make an idol of anything.
What other woes did Jacob face within his dysfunctional family?
Three interrelated incidents mark the last step of his journey toward the Promised Land. Jacob’s last son is born; Rachel dies; and Rueben, Jacob’s first son by Leah, sleeps with Jacob’s concubine, Bilhah.
How does Jacob react to the three last woes that befell him on his journey back to the Promised Land?
Jacob does not respond badly to the woes that befell him, at this point he trusts that God will fulfill His words despite the sin and evil, at times that goes on around him.
Jacob had come to a point where he trusts God to fulfill His words even amidst the evil that surrounded him. God’s grace was seen in the dysfunctional family of Jacob amidst the evil they did, God’s promise to bless them was still fulfilled. God’s grace can save us from whatever evil we may have committed, God has promised to bless us and prosper us if we do His will, although we go against His will sometimes, God is still willing to bless us, we just have to trust Him as Jacob did. I pray that we all trust in God and learn to do His will in Jesus’ name.