Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lesson - Jacob Goes Home

VERSES:   Genesis 30:25-33:20  (This lesson covers a lot of verses, but all will not be highlighted.)

MEMORY VERSE:   Genesis 33:4  "And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   If the Bible teacher believes that the majority of students can recite the first fourteen books of the Old Testament fairly well, this might be a good time to add "Ezra." If not, review again.  The song, "The Old Testament Books," is a good way to review.  Children tend to learn information easier and faster when attached to a song.  Many Bible teachers learn the same way!

PRAYER:   Pray that all who are in the class might treasure the words that the Lord has given us and that we might read them every day. Showing us light in a world of darkness, the Bible shines like a beacon!  May we read, read every day. Let us love and also treasure our families, always knowing that a close, loving family is the way God intended the family to be.

SPECIAL SONG:   Read, Read Every Day (see February - Songs We Sing in Bible Class #1) and/or introduce a newer song, This Little Light Of Mine (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3.  It is good to review the sons of Jacob before you begin, just to refresh the children's memories with the song, The Sons of Jacob (see  April - Lesson - The Sons of Jacob).

VISUAL AID:   TV Box.  Draw pictures on a long strip of paper and thread through the TV Box, description and instructions on February - Visual Aid #1 on this blog.

  • Today's story is a happy story! It's all about how Jacob and Esau make friends again! Remember how Jacob tricked Esau out of his good blessing and how Esau was so angry that he wanted to kill Jacob? And remember how Jacob's mother, Rebekah, told Jacob to run away to her brother, Laban's, house far, far away? That's how Jacob found Rachel and Leah and had twelve sons and one daughter! Jacob had worked very, very hard for fourteen years to marry Laban's two daughters and six more years to gain cattle (Gen. 31:41) and he had always been fair to his father-in-law (Gen. 31:38-40), but Laban was not always a nice man. He changed Jacob's wages which was the amount of money Laban paid Jacob for working, TEN times and, finally, Jacob was ready to go home. But he had a problem and that problem was who? Who had wanted to kill Jacob? That's right! Esau, his brother! How could Jacob find out if Esau was still angry and know if Esau was still wanting to kill him?
  • Now, there were many people traveling with Jacob. There was all of his family and servants and messengers, and much cattle.  There was a HUGE amount of people!! Finally, Jacob thought up a plan!  When Jacob and his family were traveling through Edom, which was where Esau's people lived, Jacob sent messengers to travel in front of him and told the messengers to say to Esau, "I have been away and have lived with our uncle, Laban, for a while. I am sending this present of oxen and donkeys and servants to find favor in your sight." He didn't want Esau to be mad anymore.
  • The messengers take off, but pretty soon they come back and say to Jacob, "While we were going to see Esau, we found that he was coming to see YOU! And he has 400 men with him!!"  Uh-oh! Jacob was extremely afraid!  He quickly divided all the people and the flocks and herds and camels into two groups.  He thought that if Esau was coming to hurt him, then maybe one group would be able to escape. 
  • Then Jacob remembers to do something we ALL should do when we are troubled.  Can anyone think of what it could be?  Let's turn to Genesis 32:9 and see what Jacob does. (Read verse.)  He prays to God!  He prays that God will deliver him from the hand of Esau because he was afraid that Esau would kill him and his wives and his children. He was really, really afraid! So, Jacob and everyone spent the night there and Jacob decided on a good present for his brother.  He was going to give him 220 goats, 200 ewes (mother sheep), 20 rams, 30 camels with their babies, 40 cows, 10 bulls, and 20 donkeys with babies. That is a LOT of animals for a present!!
  • Jacob told his servants to go before him and take the animals, or the present, to Esau, but to make sure that there was a space between the animals. Jacob said when Esau asks whose are those animals, and where are you going, that they should say that they are Jacob's servants and that all of the animals were a present to his brother, Esau. Jacob told all of his servants to say the same thing when they met Esau. Finally, Jacob would be at the very end of all of the animals. Hopefully, by then, Esau would have forgiven him and would not hurt anyone.
  • So, the present went before Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, Zilpah, and Jacob's children. They went over a little brook, and that night, Jacob stayed all by himself. During the night, the Bible says that Jacob wrestled with an angel all night long. When the sun came up, Jacob was still wrestling with the angel until his thigh or his leg was out of joint, but Jacob would not let him go until the angel blessed him. The angel asked what his name was and he said it was Jacob. the angel said that his name would not be Jacob anymore, but it would be "Israel."  How about that!  Was there someone else's name that was changed by God that we have studied about? That's right! Abraham and Sarah!! Now, Jacob had a new name---Israel!  All of Jacob's children would be called Israelites! 
  • Well, let's see what Esau does!  As Jacob lifted up his eyes, he saw Esau coming with 400 men.Jacob divided his family into smaller groups, but it was OK because when Jacob finally gets a little close to Esau, Jacob bows down to the ground before Esau until Esau is VERY close!  Do you know what Esau does?  The Bible says that Esau RAN to meet him, HUGGED him, FELL ON HIS NECK, and KISSED him!  Esau was so GLAD to see Jacob and Jacob was so GLAD to see Esau that they both cried!!! Jacob introduced all of his family and Esau said for Jacob to keep his gifts, that he had enough already. What a happy, happy story!  Jacob and Esau were friends again! 
  • Not only were two two brothers friends again, but the promise that God made to Abraham would now go from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob.  The promise of "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3) would go from generation to generation to generation.  Jesus would be born!!
"Older Student" Tips:
  • When people are mad at us, especially when we have done something wrong, it makes us feel bad inside, doesn't it?  We should always make things right in the beginning because things always worse when time goes by.  We should say "I'm sorry!" first. That way, hard feelings and fear won't be a part of our life.  We should easily forgive and forget.  That's what God does.  When we say, "I'm sorry" for doing something we know is not good and are truly sorry enough not to do it again, God says that he forgives us and He forgets the wicked things that we have done. ( What a good God!
  • Good for Esau that was able to forgive Jacob after all that time.  Perhaps he missed his brother.  We don't know because the Bible doesn't say.  All we know is that they loved each other in the end.
  • This might a good time to point out where Haran and Edom are on the map. Talk about the distance between the areas and the slow method of travel.
ACTIVITY:  Peek-A-Boo Card
Materials needed:  12" x 18" white construction paper, star stickers, scissors, crayons.
  1. Pass out a sheet of paper to each child.
  2. Fold paper in half, length-wise.
  3. NOTE:  For best results when performing steps 3 and 5 (below), write the letter "a" first in each word, so that they are exactly on top of each other.
  4. In large bubble letters, write "Jacob" on folded half of paper. Draw Jacob on left side of paper. (See picture below.)
  5. Open paper.
  6. In large bubble letters, write "Israel" on folded half of paper. Draw Israel (same person) on right side of paper. (See picture below.)
  7. Cut 'a' out of the word "Jacob" only.
  8. Color "Jacob" and "Israel" papers.
  9. Open paper.
  10. Stick (or draw) stickers around the word "Israel" and a star inside the 'a.' (See picture below.)
  11. Write "Genesis 32:28" at the bottom of the "Jacob" paper. (See picture at top.)