Gathering (choose one)

1. Ever run away from home? How far did you get before feeling safe enough to slow down? What prompted you to return home—or are you still staying away?

2. Getting cheated out of what we feel is rightfully ours happens all too often. When has that happened to you—or by you?


Genesis 25–31 recounts Jacob’s many struggles with family: from grasping for position inside his mother’s womb … to stealing his brother Esau’s blessing from their dying father Isaac … to running away from an angry jealous Esau … to slaving for his uncle Laban and scheming for his two daughters’ hands in marriage—all the while enriching himself at Laban’s expense through flocks that kept multiplying by some odd scheme. All this scheming has Esau vying to kill Brother Jake next time they meet—which is where we pick up the story in Genesis 32.

God’s Story

Have someone read Genesis 32: 1-21 and have someone else pray for this time together.

Finding My Story in God’s Story

3. Where do you find yourself in this story?

    1. As Jacob, the alienated one on the outside looking for a way back in.
    2. As a child, I was a pawn in my parents’ custody battle.
    3. As Esau, full of anger and jealousy over how I was unjustly treated.
    4. As a family member on the sidelines of a family feud, anxious.
    5. As one of the animals, feeling like I’m being led to a slaughter.
    6. Other __________.


4. What has been your experience of sibling rivalry—either observed within your next of kin or with some distant relatives?

5. Jacob is greatly afraid of Esau, with good reason. What does he then do when told to meet Esau? By comparison, what would you have done, or have you done, in a similar situation?

    1. Run, hide, and resist the directive to return.
    2. Pray for God’s hand, direction, and wisdom.
    3. Take up arms and ammo to fight back.
    4. Disarm, be vulnerable, and hope for the best.
    5. Bribery will pacify an enemy to get back in his good graces.
    6. Jacob’s story is way too dramatic for me to relate to.
    7. Other __________.

6. How—by what means—does God answer Jacob’s prayer?

    1. By scheming new ways of getting away with it.
    2. By sending messengers on ahead—angels and family—to pave the way.
    3. By reminding Jacob of how God has always gone before him.
    4. By bringing the very rich Jacob to a beggar’s position.
    5. Other __________.

Our Story

7. Do you think that a perfect family exists? If so, what does that look like to you?

    1. A family tree must get free of dysfunction up and down all branches.
    2. Gifts and prosperity for one and all makes for a happy family.
    3. Multiple kids and animals help make comforting connections.
    4. Humility by the head of household sets a good example.
    5. A blended family of two wives is handicapped from the get-go.
    6. Other __________.


8. Who is most like a “Jacob” in your life that you have admired for their loyalty, commitment, steadfastness, hard work, tenacity, and faithfulness? If you don’t have an answer, maybe add this request to your closing prayer.

9. If possible, reach out this week and thank the “Jacob” in your life for what they have meant to you or how they have inspired you.

10. Is there anything else that came up for you in this lesson that you would like to voice to the group or any takeaways that you are able to apply in your life?

11. Close in gratitude for one another and pray to the God of Jacob—and of you and yours.