Jacob’s New Name
I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Genesis 26:24
This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes place 20 years after Jacob ran away from Esau. Jacob had lived with his uncle Laban for many years, and God had kept His promise to bless Jacob with a large family and riches. Now God said it was time for Jacob to return home. But uncertainty awaited Jacob in his homeland. His brother Esau was there. The last time Jacob saw Esau, Esau wanted to kill him.
Jacob tried to prepare for his meeting with Esau. He strategically divided his family into separate groups. He sent gifts ahead of them to appease Esau. That night, Jacob anxiously awaited word from Esau, and that is when he encountered the Lord. Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night.
Explain to your kids that Jacob did not win by strength but by confessing his dependence on God’s blessing. Jacob had nowhere else to turn. He could not succeed by his own strength. Jacob held onto God and would not let go. God poured out His grace on Jacob. He blessed Jacob and gave him a new name, Israel. From Jacob’s descendants—from the nation of Israel—God would bring into the world His Son, Jesus.
KEY PASSAGE: Genesis 26:24
BIG PICTURE QUESTION:
- What can stop God’s plan? Nothing can stop God’s plan.
BIBLE STORY: JACOB’S NEW NAME
- God told Jacob it was time to go home.
- Jacob was afraid to see his brother Esau.
- Jacob wrestled with God, and God changed his name to Israel.
FAMILY DISCUSSION STARTERS:
- Jacob was afraid Esau was still angry with him. Tell about a time you had a disagreement with a family member and how you forgave each other.
- Jacob prayed, asking God to rescue him from his brother. What is something that scares you? Talk to God about it.
- Host a family “tickle fight” or “thumb war.” Remember Jacob would not let God go unless He blessed him.
- Go further: Look online to discover the meaning of each family member’s name. Discuss if the name is a good fit. Preschool Activity Pages