One of the greatest characteristics of the Bible is its blunt honesty and willingness to acknowledge the imperfections of people that God used to carry out His perfectly wise rescue plan. Perhaps no character in all of the Bible demonstrates this more obviously than Jacob, whose very name means “cheater” and who lived up to his name in just about every sense of the word. Yet even while he was in the thick of his scheming ways, God, who is rich in mercy, changed Jacob’s name as a reminder that God would fight or strive for him if he would just surrender . . . and Israel (“God strives for”) was born. Aren’t you glad that God continues to strive on behalf of sinners like you and me? Can you think of any truth greater than that to share with your little ones this week? Jump into this week’s lesson with your kids and be reminded of God’s merciful love for all of His children!
HIGHLIGHTS from Sunday…
This week your child learned that Isaac and Rebekah have two sons; twins, Esau and Jacob. Jacob tricks Esau into giving him his “birthright” and tricks his father, Isaac, into giving him Esau’s blessing. To protect Jacob from Esau’s anger, Isaac and Rebekah send him away to live with his uncle, Laban. On the way Jacob has a dream. The Lord appears at the top of a ladder reaching up to heaven and God confirms the promise He made to Jacob’s father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham. Jacob makes plans to reconcile with Esau but is fearful of Esau’s response and prays for God’s protection. The night before Jacob is reunited with Esau he wrestles with the Angel of the Lord and receives a blessing as well as a name change. God changes Jacob’s name to Israel.
1. God’s plans are better than our own.
2. God wants us to ask Him for help.
3. God loves us even when we do wrong.
“God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.”
3 Fun Family Activities for Remembering that God’s Way is Perfect
1. Paper Bag Puppets
Paper bag puppets – grab four lunch size paper bags to use as puppets. Review the main characters in the story as you create the puppets. For each character, have your child draw eyes, nose and mouth on the top of the sack, maybe use googly eyes if you have them. If you want, cut out clothes such as a shirt & pants or a simple dress for Rebekah. You can use colored construction paper or old fabric, then have your child glue the clothes to the sacks. Since Esau was very hairy, glue or tape red yarn all over the sack. Jacob’s skin was smooth, so leave this sack plain. Rebekah and Isaac were older, so crumple up their sacks and then open them again. Once you have created the puppets you and your child can act out the story. Afterwards, use these questions to talk about what they’ve learned.
- How did Jacob trick his father?
- Did God love Jacob even though he tricked Isaac?
- Does God love us when we make bad choices?
- What do we need to do when we make bad choices?
2. Obstacle Course
Create an obstacle course in your house or outside, using stools, chairs, pillows or bean bags. Have your child close his eyes as you lead him through the course. After you have finished, talk about how he had to trust you to know that your way was better for him. Just like we have to trust God that his plan is best for us. Then switch roles and have your child lead you through the course.
3. Jacob’s Ladder Snack Time
For snack time, make a ladder by using stick pretzels and marshmallows. Grab a large marshmallow, have your child stick one pretzel into each end of the marshmallow. Then in the center of the marshmallow stick another pretzel. On the ends of the pretzels attach another marshmallow, continue attaching pretzels and marshmallows until your child has created a ladder. Then let your child eat his ladder while you talk about Jacob’s dream and the choices that Jacob made and how God always loves us even when we do wrong (this activity is ideal for toddlers).
Pray these things for your child this week:
- That they would learn to trust that God’s plans are always better than their own.
- That they would KNOW God loves them, even when they do wrong.
We want to hear your stories! Which of the activities above did you do with your kids? How did it go? What did they learn? What did you learn?