Responding to God with Faith
Explore the Bible Series
March 2, 2008
Background Passage: Genesis 28:1-22
Lesson Passage: Genesis 28:1-2, 10-22†††††††
Introduction: Our last lesson dealt with the unseemly conspiracy and deception of Jacob and Rebekah.† Mother and son connived to steal Esauís birthright, a birthright God had already promised to Jacob.† This unworthy action disgraced Isaac and, ultimately, demonstrated Jacobís distrust of Godís sovereign design.† Esau grew so angry over the deceit that he wanted to kill his brother, and Isaac, fearful for Jacobís life, counseled his son to flee from Esauís wrath.† Instead of dealing with his despicable action, Jacob fled to the relative safety of Rebekahís family.
As we consider this story, we must meditate on the consequences of Jacobís deception and Godís gracious response to Jacobís failure.† The narrative, it seems, allows us to exercise our holy imagination about the patriarchís situation.† This incident marks a significant turning point in Jacobís life. Perhaps he felt these common emotions as he made his way to Paddan-aram.†
Loneliness:† Apparently Jacob made this arduous journey alone.† The trip covered nearly four hundred miles, and the text gives no indication of anyone accompanying Jacob on his travels. †For all practical purposes he had burned his relational bridges behind him.† Esau wanted to kill him.† Isaac certainly felt disappointed and betrayed by his sonís conspiracy.† Jacobís only supporter, his mother Rebekah, agreed to send her beloved son to a foreign land.† He traveled to a strange country to take his comfort from a people he did not know.† No one can counsel or comfort him, and he found himself alone with God.
Rejection: Jacob had seriously injured his relationships with his father and brother.† This injury proved so severe that Esau planned to murder his twin.† The family companionship that Jacob had enjoyed all of his life now lay in shambles.†
Guilt: Perhaps Jacob regretted his unfortunate, sinful actions.† Surely this poor man knew he had done something terribly wrong, but he did not make any effort to set things right.† Instead, he fled from the scene of his sin and hoped that distance and time might cover his misdeeds.
In the midst of this
unfortunate situation, God stepped on the scene.† What a wonderful example of the sovereign
mercy of the Lord.† As Jacob rested near
the ancient city of
I. Isaacís Plan to Save Jacobís Life (vv. 1-9)
Isaacís concern for Jacob (vv. 1-2): The text does not
mention Isaacís fear of Esauís wrath, but his awareness of Esauís threat must
have informed Isaacís counsel to Jacob.†
Isaac had contributed to this terrible family turmoil by favoring one
son over the other; nevertheless, he demonstrated genuine love for Jacob by
urging his son to flee from
B. Isaacís blessing for Jacob (vv. 3-4): Isaac must have known about the Lordís promise to Rebekah when she was carrying the twin boys (See 25:19-23); nonetheless, when time came for Isaac to bless his sons, the old man planned to give the birthright to Esau (See† 27:1-4).† Finally, after the relational damage of Jacobís conspiracy, Isaac blessed his younger sonótoo little, too late.
C. Isaacís hope (v. 5): The old patriarch hoped that Jacob might find safety, comfort, companionship, and a future among his extended family (and Rebekahís family), in Paddan-aram.†
D. Esauís third marriage (vv. 6-9): Perhaps Esau hoped to recoup his loses by taking a wife that would please his parents.† Earlier, we discovered that Esauís Hittite wives irritated Isaac and Rebekah. Now, however, he sought a wife among Abrahamís kinsmen, and he chose an Ishmaelite woman named Mahalath.
II. Jacobís Dream at Luz (vv. 10-22)
The vision of God (vv. 10-17): As Jacob journeyed
Jacob built an altar and named the place
Questions for Discussion:
1. How has God met your failure with grace and promise?† Perhaps some class members may want to give a testimony of the Lordís kindness after a time when they have failed.
2. Discuss the character of God as revealed in this story.† What qualities do you discern in Godís dealings with Jacob?
3. How, according to this story, how did Jacob respond to Godís grace?† In light of Jacobís example, how should you respond to the Lordís undeserved kindness?