Term 1 – Week 10
Big Idea – God repeats his promises to Jacob who believes.
Focus on Genesis 28
- Be reminded of the big promises and encouraged that God keeps them!
- Belief – God’s promises are for you, and he keeps them through Jesus
- Behaviour – Believe like Jacob did and trust the LORD as your God
We move on in the story past the death of Abraham and dive into the narrative surrounding Isaac’s son Jacob. God promises to Isaac’s wife Rebekah that both of the twins she was pregnant with would be the founders of nations – however the younger would be the greater nation (25:23). From that point on we are waiting to see how God will bring this promise to pass, and indeed the greater overarching promises to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham.
The twin boys grew up and immediately diverted in personality and occupation, the hunter and the homemaker. Jacob was younger and weaker but was deceitful and tricks his brother to win Esau’s birthright. Neither brother covers themselves in glory at the end of chapter 25. Jacob is deceitful once more as his mother convinced him to deceive Jacob’s ageing father in chapter 27. Rebekah, perhaps mindful of God’s promises to her while she was pregnant, convinces Jacob to trick his father into blessing him rather than blessing his eldest and favourite son Esau.
Isaac’s blessing is reminiscent of God’s promises to Abraham (see verse 29) and to Rebekah. We know now that Jacob will be the one through whom God will continue the promise – remember people, place and blessing. We end chapter 27 with Esau committing to kill his brother Jacob for his deceit. Jacob is sent away in a plan, hatched again by his mother, for Jacob to find a wife among Rebekah’s relatives. It is here that we slow down in the story, as the future of God’s people are laid out before us.
Isaac sends Jacob off in verses 1-5 with instructions to find a wife, but also with a hope, a prayer, that God might keep his promises. This is our first point: Isaac blesses Jacob with God’s promises. He prays for God’s blessing (v3) and that Jacob’s family would become a ‘community of peoples’ i.e., a nation. He prays that Jacob would be given the land that had been promised to Abraham, the land they are in now as foreigners. God’s promises are starting to coalesce around this man Jacob. Isaac trusts the promises of God and blesses Jacob with those words. Isaac trusts that God’s promises will come to pass
Then we get to Jacob’s dream at Bethel (28:10-22). Jacob is given a vision of a stairway to heaven, perhaps to show him and us that God’s promises ultimately have a heavenly reality. Then we get to our second point: God repeats his promises to Jacob. Verse 13-15 directly point back to the original promises God gave to Jacob’s grandfather. It is funny to think how many times we need reminding of these things as humans! You can see within these verses very clearly the three pillars of the promises: a people – ‘your descendants will be like the dust of the earth’, a place – ‘I will you and your descendants the land on which you are lying’, and blessing – ‘all peoples on earth will be blessed by you and your offspring.’ When teaching it would be good to slow down on these verses and show how God is reminding Jacob of the very same promises he has given to Abraham. Nothing changes! The final reassurance in verse 15 is a great place to land. God promises his presence, the ultimate blessing, to reassure Jacob that he will keep his promises.
Finally, we see Jacob believes God’s promises. Jacob wakes up from the dream and dedicates the place as a special place for God, for this is where he heard the voice of God speak to him. Jacob declares confidently that if all this is to pass, then (verse 21) ‘the LORD will be my God…’ before finishing his dedication of that place. Remember Jacob is about to leave the land to escape the murderous threats of his brother. He trusts that God will return him to the land and his family will flourish.
It would be worth concluding this story with a summary of the events of chapters 29-33. While it wasn’t smooth sailing Jacob did return to the land, with a very large family and a prosperous farming business. He prays for God to protect him from his brother Esau. God does protect him, and gives him a new name, the name Israel. He is the start of the nation of Israel. The story ends here with Jacob buying up a plot of land in the promised land of Canaan. Jacob returned; God kept his promises.
This story then reminds us of the great big promises God has made to his people. Not just to Abraham, but now to his grandson Jacob, who is the father of Israel. Remember how blessing in 28:14 is promised through Jacob’s offspring. Jesus, in the line of Jacob, is the offspring who brings the blessing to the world. We can remember God’s promises today, believe them as Jacob did and trust that God will keep his promises like he did to Jacob.
‘If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise‘
Jesus, when you died – Awesome Cutlery – YouTube
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