1. I missed the lecture.
Update: Others in the class said, “seek God for comfort in trials.” “Instead of asking “why me?” ask God “what is it I need to learn?”
2. The only thing that jumped out at me from the notes was from the “God’s Gracious Discipline” box. “Jacob put goat skins over his hands to deceive his aged father; Laban put the bridal veil over Leah’s face to deceive Jacob. Because I identify more with Leah than with Rachel, I am encouraged that God had such compassion for her.
3. a. Jacob seems to assume that the angels of God he met had not accompanied him. So he panicked when he heard that Esau and 400 men were coming out to meet him. In contrast, Elisha did not panic when the Aramean army came to kill him. He knew that the army of God was encamped about him.
b. Remember that if God is for us, who can be against us? When I am afraid, I should trust in Him. Seek Him. Ask Him. Obey Him.
4. a. Genesis 32:1-2 The angels of God met Jacob as he left Laban behind, in obedience to the Lord’s instructions.
Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.
Daniel 6:22 Because Daniel was innocent of any wrong doing, the Lord sent an angel to prevent the lions from eating Daniel.
1 Corinthians 6:2-3 Followers of Christ will judge angels.
Hebrews 1:14 Angels are ministering spirits sent to serve us as believers.
b. They are all reminders of the dominion God gave us as believers. We have authority and He is aware of our circumstances. His servants, the angels, are with us to protect us as we live a life of obedience. We have no reason to fear.
- In great fear and distress
- If Esau attacks one group…one will be left.
- I am afraid they will come and attack me…and the mothers with their children.
b. Esau’s threat to kill Jacob was a result of Jacob’s plot to take his birthright and blessing.
6. Instead of traveling ahead as two groups of people, he sent a wave of gifts – each herd driven by one of his servants. He instructed each one to say, …”you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’” He humbled himself by sending gifts, by calling himself Esau’s servant and by calling Esau “my lord.”
7. 580 (plus the camel’s calves) This was a large and valuable gift.
8. Jacob’s prayer is a good example of how we should pray. One thing missing is praise and direct thankfulness. In my view, the most important part is the humility displayed and that it is obviously from his heart.
- He acknowledges that God is the God of his father and grandfather. vs 9
- He recounts God’s instruction to return to his home. (He does not express doubt that God spoke to him.) vs 9
- He acknowledges that he is unworthy of the generosity and kindness. vs 10
- He humbly acknowledges that God is the source of all his blessings. This also shows he is thankful, because he does not recount nor moan about the challenges he encountered. vs 10
- He confesses his fear. vs 11
- He asks God to save him and his family. vs 11
- He reminds God of the promise to “make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.” vs 12
b. I don’t know if we must go through each step every time we need God’s help. Sometimes all we have to time to pray is, “Lord, HELP ME!” The important thing is the state of our hearts in a time of need. Jacob knew he heard God, he was being obedient, he knew and acknowledged who God was, he knew and acknowledged that God had a plan for his life via the promises made to Abraham, he recognized God as his source rather than trusting in himself, and he recognized and confessed his own fear.
Perhaps Jacob was most concerned for his own safety because he did not know if his role in God’s plan was now complete. Most of us in my BSF small group have questions about the certainty of knowing God’s voice, direction, and plans for our lives. Even when it seems clear, events do not unfold when and where we imagine. That is where trust comes in. (I digressed from the question.)
9. Jacob’s tendency was to scheme and deceive. By wrestling with God, he learned to fight for his blessing instead. As a result, his name was changed.
10. Mentioned in Hosea but not in Genesis:
- God was punishing Jacob.
- Jacob wept when he asked for the blessing.
- The man’s name was the Lord God Almighty!
11. I believe the man was God or the son of God because He said, “you have wrestled with God” and the passage in Hosea says “His name is the Lord God Almighty.” Jacob also believed that because he says he saw the God face to face and lived.
12. After reading this question several times, I’m still not inclined to go with either of the two choices.
13. We wrestle with God for understanding, for answers and direction, and for blessing.
14. a. By bowing seven times
b. He wept. Although, the emotional strain of the previous few days and nights could also elicit that response. So could true repentance. The fact that Jacob seemed to indicate he would see Esau again soon, then went to another place, leads me to wonder.
c. We aren’t told about God’s involvement in the condition of Esau’s heart. Jacob was the only family Esau had left, and after twenty years, he probably thought they would never see each other again. We do know that God worked in Jacob’s heart. Certainly, Esau could have remained bitter, but Jacob’s humility likely squelched any residual hard feelings.
15. In Genesis 31:13, God said to Jacob in a dream, “I am the God of Bethel,” and He reminded Jacob of the pillar and the vow he made. Next He says to return to your native land. Later in Genesis 35:1 God says specifically to go to Bethel and live there. So it does seem Jacob missed it by staying in Sukkoth.
16. Again with the patience lesson. Oy vey.
Trust. Avoid selfishness ambition. Don’t take matters into my own hands. Anyone else keep thinking of times you messed up? So thankful for forgiveness and seventy times seven chances.