Jacob Becomes Israel

Study Notes

Jacob Becomes Israel

1. Jacob Begins the Journey Home
- Laban** **was getting even more grumpy with Jacob. 
- Genesis 31:3 “Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
- Jacob had been away for 20 years! 
- Jacob knew Laban would be mad at him for leaving, so he packed up and left while Laban was away
- When Laban came home and realized Jacob’s family had left, he went on a seven day journey to find them. He may have been angry, but God came to him in a dream and said “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” Genesis 31:24 
- When Laban finally found Jacob, they had a fight. Laban was angry because he was jealous of Jacob, and Jacob was angry because Laban failed to respect him or appreciate his hard work for their family. 
- They made a covenant (or promise) that ensured they would separate from each other. 
- This is very different from God’s covenant with us! God makes covenants to draw His people closer to Him. Laban and Jacob made a covenant of barriers so they would stop fighting. 
- This is the last we hear of Laban in the Bible! 

2. Jacob Gets Worried About Going Home 
- Do you remember why Jacob** **left his home to begin with? Because Esau, his brother, was going to kill him! 
- As Jacob gets closer to his home, he starts getting really nervous about seeing Esau. 
- Jacob sends messengers ahead to tell Esau is coming, and the messengers say that Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men! Instead of being confident in God, Jacob got super scared. 
- Hoping to protect himself, Jacob splits their huge travel group in 2 so that one group can escape if Esau attacks the other group. 
- Later, Jacob starts sending hundreds upon hundreds of animals to Esau as gifts, hoping to make Esau happy in case he’s mad. 
- This is what happens when we go outside of God’s order to make things happen! Instead of walking in Godly confidence, Jacob was walking in lots of fear about the past. 
- Jacob was making a lot of plans without connecting with God about His promises! Suddenly, he decides to choose life with God instead of doing this alone. He humbles himself before God and asks for help. 

3. Jacob Becomes Israel
- Jacob and his family settled by a brook called Jabbok
- That night, Jacob sent his family and his possessions across the stream– it seemed he needed to be alone. 
- Suddenly, a man appeared. This man and Jacob wrestled until daybreak. 
- This Man that appeared was part of God Himself. God wanted all of Jacob’s pride and self reliance, so He showed up to wrestle with Jacob! 
- God let Jacob struggle with Him, but He eventually broke Jacob’s hip and brought Jacob to the end of himself. 
- Anytime we wrestle with God, we must understand that we will not win. While God is patient with us, He will have His way. He will bring us out of our selfish, independent flesh and into dependence on Him. 
- He does this because He knows its best for us! 
- After the wrestling match, Jacob asked for God’s blessing BLESSING while weeping. He knew he had to have God’s help to continue on. 
- A God gives Jacob a new name: ISRAEL (over Jacob), which means He who struggles with God. 
- This new name shows that God was taking Jacob out of the old and into a new journey with God! 
- After blessing Jacob, the Man left
- Jacob was astonished and named the place “ Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
- Jacob limped for the rest of his life. This limp probably reminded him of God’s strength, the kindness of God to rescue him, and his weakness compared to the Almighty God.
- It is good for us to remember that we are not strong like God is– we need Him, and we must let God take away our false strength so that God’s strength can move in our life. 

** 4. Jacob Reunited with Esau **
- Later that day, Jacob saw Esau coming with his 400 men**
- Jacob started bowing down before Esau even got to him!
- Genesis 33:4 “But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.”
- Jacob kept trying to give Esau more gifts, but Esau said he had plenty! Jacob had to convince him to take his gifts. 
- God had worked in Esau and Jacob’s hearts big time! Last time they saw each other, they were tricking each other and trying to kill each other! Now, they were generous, forgiving, kind, and content with what God was doing in their own lives. 
- Just because Jacob was growing doesn't mean he was perfect
- He was still afraid of Esau, so he wouldn't let Esau join him in his travels. 
- Jacob also settled in a different place than the place God instructed, and he compromised by building booths instead of living in tents. 
- God and Jacob are journeying in relationship together, but Jacob still needs God to teach him lots of things! Thankfully, God is very patient and merciful with His kids. 
- Philippians 1:6 tells us that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
- God knows how to lead, Father, and discipline us into maturity in Jesus. It’s our job to surrender to Him and let Him work!
-  Jacob lives out this design, and God is all over his story! God provides for Jacob, gives him a new name, and brings Jacob into right relationship with his broken family!

We are including Sara's notes for complete transparency for parents.

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