‘Jacob meets Esau’
Passage: Genesis 32-33
Visual Aids (powerpoint)
What kinds of obstacles might the following people need to get past? [Knight = Dragon; Bus Driver = Hole in the Road; Train Driver = Leaves on Track; Postman = Guard Dog]. Jacob had escaped from his uncle Laban, but there was still an obstacle in his way. His brother Esau!
Even though he hadn’t seen Esau for 20 years, Jacob was still worried that Esau wanted to kill him. The closer he got to Canaan, the more worried he was. So Jacob sent some messengers ahead of him to find out whether Esau was still angry. The report he got back was that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men!
Jacob was even more worried now. He divided his camp into two groups, so that if Esau attacked one group, the other could escape. He also prayed to God: “Save me, I pray from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’” (Genesis 32:11-12)
Jacob prayed that God would keep His promise of a big family by saving him from Esau – after all, if Esau harmed him and his family this promise would not be kept. One more thing Jacob did was to send gifts to his brother in the hope that they would make him less angry.
That night as Jacob was alone, a stranger appeared to Jacob and they began to wrestle. Was it one of Esau’s men? No, it was God Himself come to bless Jacob with a new name. A special name that Jacob’s family from that time on would be known by – Israel.
The next day Jacob and Esau came face to face for the first time in 20 years. God answered Jacob’s prayer because Esau was happy to see his brother, and so Jacob and his family moved back to Canaan.
The scene was now set for the next part of the story, which involves the people of Israel, a famine and a man with a colourful coat.