Questions to Consider
1. Briefly review lesson 24 (link above). What events precipitated the journey we see Jacob and his family taking in today’s passage?
2. Examine 32:3-21. How had Jacob and Esau left things the last time they had seen each other that would have caused Jacob to act this way? Approximately how many years had it been since they had seen each other? How was Jacob expecting Esau to act? (6-7) Why do you think Jacob arranged/organized his present (14-15) to Esau the way he did (16)?
3. In what ways was the “wrestling with God” incident (32:22-32) a turning point in Jacob’s life? What was the significance of God re-naming Jacob? What phase of his life was Jacob turning from, and what phase was he turning to? Think about the land he was coming from and the land he was entering (33:18). How does this serve not only as a reminder of Abram leaving his homeland to go to the Land of Promise, but also hint ahead to the Israelites leaving Egypt and entering the Promised Land? How do both of these things reinforce that God is keeping His promises in the Abrahamic Covenant?
4. How did God answer, in chapter 33, Jacob’s prayer from chapter 32? What does this answer to prayer teach us about God’s character and nature? In what ways have you seen these attributes of God when He has answered your own prayers?
5. Examine the words and behaviors of Jacob and his servants, wives, and children in chapter 33. What can we learn about the customs and culture of that time and place from this passage?
6. What are some specific ways Jacob demonstrates humility and dependence on God in chapters 32-33?
8. What does 33:20 tell us Jacob did to bring closure to all that has transpired in his life? Using your footnotes, what does the name of the altar mean? Who is Jacob focusing on? Why is worship always an appropriate response to God’s work in our lives, whether that work brings joy or suffering? What is God doing in your life right now that should lead you to worship Him?
Analyze Jacob’s prayer in 32:9-12. Write down the purpose (ex: praise, request, etc.) of each of the statements he makes. What are some spiritual characteristics (ex: faith, humility, etc.) we can see in Jacob through this prayer? In verse 12, Jacob recites back to God a promise God made to Him. What is the purpose of praying God’s promises back to Him? Spend some time in prayer about an issue in your own life, using Jacob’s prayer as a model. What are some of God’s promises that you can pray back to Him demonstrating that you trust Him and believe His Word? (Hint: Make sure it’s a promise directly from rightly handled, in context Scripture, and make sure it’s a promise to Christians, not to Israel, a specific Bible character, etc.)
Suggested Memory Verse
There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.