Week 6 - Genesis 29 there 37 (Feb 4-10)
Genesis 29 tells us how Jacob the Deceiver ends up being tricked into marrying two wives. That story continues in Gen-esis 30, in the “Great Baby Race.” The heartache and strife in Jacob’s home is plain to see. Genesis 31 puts a heavy emphasis on God’s care for Jacob, because he is the recipient of the promises of God (see vv. 5, 7, 13, 24, 29, 42). Genesis 32 has Jacob and Esau preparing to meet again (and they are reconciled in ch. 33), but the dominant note in the chapter is Jacob wrestling with God. We may not understand much about this incident, but the key seems to be Jacob’s name being changed (vv. 27-28). He no longer will be Jacob, which means “tricks” but in-stead “Israel” which may mean “strives with God” or better, “God fights for you.” Chapters 33-36 discuss Esau and his family and the ter-rible defiling of Jacob’s daughter (ch. 34), along with God restating the promises to Jacob (35:11-12) and the deaths of Rachel and Isaac (35:16ff). We resume our reading in chapter 37 where we meet a new and tremendously important character named Joseph.
Chapter 31 really lets us think about our own dependence on God. Do you see all you have as a result of God’s care and bless-ing? Chapter 37 gives us an ironic fulfillment of “you reap what you sow” (Gal 6:7) as the man who deceived his own father is now tricked by his sons. How often are we tempted to try and fudge a little here, or cheat a little there, as if deception won’t ultimately come back to hurt us?
Jacob believed in the promises of God and then gave credit for what had happened to him for being the fulfillment of those promises. What has God promised us today? What do we see as tangible fulfillment of those promises? Later in the week it will be time to start talking about Joseph. He provides numerous opportunities to talk about character. Was he wise in 37:2 and 37:5-7? Ask your children how they would feel about Joseph as a brother. Emphasize that Joseph was not the first born (so important in Bible times) but he is being treated as a first born (the coat of many colors probably signified that, v. 3). Envy and jealousy were running rampant in Jacob’s house! What can be done to keep us from being envious of the good others are getting?