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Sermon21 Gen 32&33 Guide

Gen 32:1-3,7,9,11,13,16,20-31,33:1-4 recitation verse Gen 31:3

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

As we examine the story of Abraham and Isaac among the patriarchs for several weeks, we observed how God established Abraham as a forefather of faith and Isaac as a gentle servant, learning the image of His son, that is, meekness and humility, and achieving growth and maturity in faith. This week, as we look into the growth process and the journey towards becoming man of faith of the twins Esau and Jacob, whom he had at the age of 60, we hope to share grace together.

1) The promise to Abraham through whom God establish His people, passed over to the generation of Jacob through Isaac. When Isaac's wife, Rebekah, was also unable to conceive (Gen 25:21), hearing Isaac's petition, God finally gave twins. The first son was named Esau because of his red face and hairy body. The second son came out holding Esau's heel at birth, so he was named 'Jacob', which means 'grasp the heel' or 'to deceive'.

2) But, perhaps because of that name, when Esau came back from the field with hunger, Jacob bought the birthright from Esau with 'red bean porridge'. And also when his father Isaac was old and wanted to bless his brother Esau, he and his mother, Rebekah, deceived his father and intercepted the blessings Esau would receive. So, Esau was very angry and Jacob took refuge in the house of his uncle Laban in Paddan-Aram (another name for Haran where Abram stayed for a while).

3) And, he suffered all kinds of hardships in the house of his maternal uncle 'Laban', who is more cunning than Jacob. After 20 years (Gen 31:38), God said to Jacob, “Go back to your ancestors' land and to your tribes and I will be with you (Gen 31:3),” he set out from Haran with all he earned by the grace of God; his four wives and their eleven sons (it was before Benjamin was born, Gen. 35:16), and all the livestock and slaves that God blessed, and came back to the land of Canaan, while God encouraged Jacob by showing that God's army, Mahanaim, was with him.

4) By the way, Jacob, who was afraid of Esau, sent a messenger to him in Edom in the land of Seir to inform him that he was returning. The messengers reported that Esau was coming to meet Jacob with four hundred people. Hearing that news, Jacob trembled in fear. So on the one hand, he prayed to God for help, but at the same time he began to make his own tricks. First, dividing his own cattle and slaves into two groups in order to save at least one in case of Esau’s attack. On the other hand, he prepared a gift for Esau, divided into nine groups, and set a distance in front of him to release Esau’s heart.

5) When he finally came to the Jabbok River, he let his wives, children, and all his possessions cross the river first, but he did not cross the Jabbok River and stayed there alone, just in case in order to run away. But that night, God came to 'Jacob,' who was trembling in fear, to 'wrestled with Jacob all night long.' When Jacob did not change his heart back, He struck his thigh joint and made him limp. Then Jacob became a desperate person and could no longer escape, he then finally began to rely fully on God. Then, God changed his name to ‘Israel’ that means ‘the one who competed with God and overcome.’

6) This night in the bank of the Jabbok River marked a turning point in Jacob's life. Cowardly and terrified Jacob, who had been thinking about running away from Esau, forsaking his wives and children, went out to the front of his family at the beginning of the day (Gen 33:3 ) and bowed down seven times for asking grace and saying "When I see my brother's face, I felt like I have seen the face of God."

7) However, 'Jacob', who still did not fully believe in his elder brother 'Esau', turned away from 'Esau', who wanted to return together to the land of Seir in Edom, and changed direction to cross the Jordan river to enter Canaan. Violating God's command that “Return to the land of your ancestors (Hebron, the land where Abraham and Isaac stayed, Gen 31:3)”, he settled in the land of Shechem which was far from Esau. Unfortunately, daughter 'Dina' was raped by Shechem, the chief of the land, so Jacob’s sons deceived the Shechemites who repented of their sins and married Dinah and wanted peace, and killed all the men of the city of Shechem and plundering livestock, goods, children, and wives.

8) After that, when God said to Jacob to build an altar at the place where Jacob built an altar when he escaped from Esau to Haran twenty years ago, so Jacob went to Bethel, after burying all foreign gods and cleaning himself and his families. And then as God blessed him again and gave him the promise of prosperity, saying through him a nation and a company of the nations and kings will come, he set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with Him, a pillar of stone and poured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it and called the name of the place Bethel.

9) And then while he set out from Bethel to Hebron where his father lived, in the way to Hebron, before Ephrath, Rachel died, after giving birth a son and he buried her on the way to Ephrath. Jacob called him Benjamin meaning “son of my righthand”, i.e., “son of good fortune”, while Rachel, before the last breath, called him “Benoni meaning “son of sorrow”. And then finally Jacob arrived at Hebron to meet his father who died after and lived there. And then when a famine came to there, he escaped to Egypt and died there.

10) Through the story of Jacob today, rather than relying on God fully who promised the blessings, we can see how Jacob was endlessly engaged in human tactics, finally dislocated the hip socket. And, after he no longer about to rely on his own strength, he finally began to hold on to God. Even with the exile to Egypt (Gen 47:9), God, who works together to achieve good, fulfilled His will by bringing the Israelites to prosperity in the foreign land (Egypt) for 400 years, and finally brought them back into the promised land of Canaan (Gen. 15:13-14) to conquer the promised land.

11) Watching the story of today that even Jacob, who could not endlessly abandon his human tactics, was finally transformed into Israel and became a man of promise, we can find hope in us too. Because we knew that the blessings that God gives us are not because we deserve them, but because God chooses and is with us to the end, and transforms us into people of faith who will bear those blessings. I pray that we, all His children of the promise of God, will be able to receive and enjoy the blessings that God will give after laying down their own strength and power and completely relying on God and used by God as His tool in His kingdom.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 What kind of heart would Jacob have been thinking that his older brother Esau was coming to kill him, trembling in fear, sending his family ahead and staying alone behind him and going through the night thinking about running away?

(Through this question, I hope that you can empathize with Jacob's desperate feelings, while realizing that God was with him in that deep night. As team members share their diverse experiences and thoughts, please listen and empathize with them, occasionally asking why they have such thoughts. I hope it will be a time of active listening and empathetic conversation with team members.)

Q2 When God wrestled with him to change Jacob's heart, Jacob did not change his mind, so God finally broke his circumflex and Jacob became a limp and could no longer escape from his brother Esau. Then he came to God to ask for help. Maybe we also have some kind of 'circle bone' that we trust and rely on more than God. I wonder if you can share what yours is.

(Through this question, I hope that you can understand that all human beings have something to rely on more than God. And only when we lay down something that we rely on more than God, we can grow into true people of God. As team members share their diverse experiences and thoughts, please listen and empathize with them, occasionally asking why they have such thoughts. I hope it will be a time of active listening and empathetic conversation with team members.)

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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