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The text for this lesson is Genesis 31:3; 32–33.

Key Point

  • Though Jacob was sinful and deceived his brother, God preserved his life and reconciled him with his brother, Esau. Through His Son, God preserves our lives. Jesus overcame sin and death on the cross to win our forgiveness, life, and salvation.
  • Law: Broken families and failed friendships are the result of sin.
  • Gospel: Jesus’ forgiveness restores my broken relationship with God and can heal my broken earthly relationships as well.

Discussion Points

  1. How do you respond when you pray for something but God seems to ignore you or answer your prayers in the exact opposite way from what you asked?
  2. How do you wrestle with God in your life—with understanding His message in Holy Scripture, with trusting His purpose and will for you, and so on?
  3. After Jacob fled, Laban caught up with him and confronted him (see Genesis 31). Next, Jacob had to prepare to meet his brother, Esau. Why was Jacob so fearful of his brother? See Genesis 27:41–45. How did Jacob turn to God for comfort at this time of fear and anxiety (see Genesis 32:9–12)?
  4. Did Jacob wrestle with an angel or with God Himself? What clues can you find in the text (Genesis 32:22–32) to answer this? As Jacob wrestled and prevailed, his hip was dislocated. What did he do after his hip was dislocated (see Genesis 32:25–26)? Why is this important?
  5. When Jacob asked for a blessing, the “Divine Wrestler”—the Lord—changed his name from Jacob to Israel. What does the name Israel mean? What was the significance of this name for Jacob? for his descendants? for his ultimate descendant and heir, Jesus Christ?
  6. In Genesis 33:1–20, how did Jacob try to win the favor of his brother, Esau? Why was this unnecessary (33:9)? In this blessed reunion of two long-estranged brothers, how did Jacob turn from trying to appease his brother to living the holy life of faith (33:10–11)?
  7. When Jacob feared the reunion with his brother, Esau, he tried to appease Esau, or earn his favor. When we realize that our sin separates us from God, how do we try to appease God—that is, earn His favor? Why does this create only fear and anxiety for us?
  8. Remember a time when you had a serious disagreement with a family member or a friend. What frightens you about being reconciled to that family member or friend? How does that fear get in the way of being reconciled?
  9. How does our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, wrestle with us? See, for example, Matthew 15:21–28. What benefit or blessing does He bring out of such wrestling matches? Even as we wrestle with trusting God’s saving promises, we get to see God with the eyes of faith. How do we see God in the Christian Church? How are we delivered and blessed?

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