Memory Text: “And Esau said, ‘ Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!’ And he said, ‘Have you not reserved a blessing for me?’ ” (Genesis 27:36, NKJV).
This week’s lesson talks about how God will fulfill His covenant promises in the nuclear family of Isaac also. Jacob deceives his brother thus stealing his blessings from him. He experiences deception after fleeing away from his brother because of the deceit he had played on him. He served for 14 years for the wife he wanted. Regardless, Jacob receives God’s blessings and promises made to his father, Abraham despite the fact that He faltered.
What qualities of Jacob predisposed him to be worthy of Isaac’s blessing?
While Esau is described as a tough hunter running in the field, Jacob is seen as a “mild” person sitting in tent and meditating. The Hebrew word tam, translated as “mild” is the same verb applied to Job and translated as “blameless” for him. It was also applied to Noah and translated as “perfect” for him. Jacob’s qualities predisposed him worthy of Isaac’s blessing.
How does Esau and Jacob’s rivalry teach us why it is wrong to do bad to get something good?
‘Jacob openly and purposely deceives his father, even using the name of “the LORD your God” (Gen. 27:20, NKJV) in perpetuating that deception.’ The results of that deception were tragic, however, He still got the blessings that follow the blessing he deceitfully received from his father, Isaac.
What lesson can we learn about our relationship with God from Jacob’s experience at Bethel versus what happened at Bethel?
- ‘But while the Tower of Babel represents the human effort to go up and reach God, the ladder of Babel emphasizes that access to God can be achieved only through God’s coming to us, and not through human effort.’
- The “stone” on which Jacob placed his head and had a dream becomes the symbol of beth-El, “the house of God” that points to the center of God’s saving activity for humanity, the Sanctuary.
- We see also the idea of tithe long before the rise of Israel when Jacob decides to “give a tenth” to God, not to obtain God’s blessings but as a grateful response to what God has already done.
How and why does God allow for Laban’s deception?
Jacob is deceived after working for seven years to have Rachel. Rachel’s elder sister, Leah was given to Jacob instead of Rachel on the basis that the younger sister does not marry before the elder in their land. Jacob had to work for seven more years. God allowed what Jacob had done to someone else to be done to him, this resonates with what is implied in lex talionis (law of retaliation), “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21;24; compare with Genesis 9:6).
What lessons did Jacob learn from Laban’s deception?
Jacob understood what it means to be deceived, God teaches Jacob about his earlier deception through Laban’s deception.
What lesson can we learn from what takes place in the nuclear family of Jacob?
Regardless of the dysfunction that takes place in the family of Jacob, God will still fulfill the promise made to Abraham to create a nation from the seed of Abraham through the family of Jacob, even if God did not condone them.
In what ways did Jacob realize that he had to leave Laban for his family and country?
- ‘God reveals himself as “ ‘the God of Bethel’ ” and commands Jacob to leave Laban’s house and return to “ ‘your family’ ”.’
- The attitude of Laban and his sons helped Jacob to see that it was time to go.
What significant lesson did Jacob learn from the 20 years He served Laban?
‘He understood the lesson of faith’. Jacob moves only after God spoke to him commanding him to move, Jacob had probably changed, he did not plan to retaliate for what Laban had done to him, use force to get the woman He loved and worked for, or bargain with Laban.
The drama that goes on in the entire house of Abraham simply tells us about the character of God, despite human frailties, God still keeps His promises and blesses the family of Abraham although God did not condone their frailties. God’s grace is what we need to get His favour and none of what we can do can grant us God’s favour.