1. Sneaking in or out of stuff, even taking what does not belong to us—kids do that sometimes. Recall a time when you tried to sneak into some event without paying, or you were trying to sneak out of some commitment or confinement without permission. What sneaky break-in or break-out situation comes to mind? What was your alibi? How did you end up accounting for what you took, or took advantage of, or for going AWOL?


After the messy business of stealing his brother Esau’s birthright (Genesis 27), then fleeing to Uncle Laban’s place and marrying his two daughters Rachel and Leah (Genesis 29), Jacob is now the one being deceived and stolen from. In his new life on the lamb, Jacob calculates all the angles to make a wealthy man out of Uncle Laban, who tricks Jacob into working much longer than bargained for. We pick up the story in Genesis 31 where Jacob, fed up with Laban, goes AWOL. But Laban catches up with him. To find out what happens next….

God’s Story

Read Genesis 31: 22-55. Go around the circle taking turns reading this long narrative out loud, one paragraph at a time.

Finding My Story in God’s Story

2. What do you suppose Jacob sees in Laban? And vice versa, what does Laban see in Jacob?

    1. Someone to take advantage of, as an exploited employee/boss.
    2. Someone not to be trusted after my experience of him.
    3. Someone obligated to me after all I’ve done for him.
    4. Someone loaded with fear and shame, too much to make this work.
    5. Other __________.


3. Where do you see yourself in this story?

    1. I took a step towards becoming my own man instead of trying to live up to expectations.
    2. I took a risk without full awareness of what was going on or who I was standing up for.
    3. I risked my reputation as Mr. Nice Guy and doing nothing; instead, I __________.
    4. I’ve been the Bad Guy or Mean Man in someone else’s story when I __________.
    5. Other __________.

4. What do you admire about Jacob or Laban? And what trait or experience of theirs is true of you, as well?

    1. Resilience to cope with a bad situation or bad deal.
    2. Restitution for damages incurred or items stolen.
    3. Resistance or reluctance to change or move on.
    4. Reconciliation with a relative who had wronged me.
    5. Other __________.

5. Jacob stays in one place too long, stuck in his ways or the ways of his family/boss, even though abused or taken advantage of. When have you stayed on too long? (And why?)

6. Jacob was also a man on the run. What in your past/present were/are you running from?


Our Story

7. Before making a necessary move, we want to get it right and not mess up. What do you want to move on from? How long have you been thinking about making that move?

8. What will it take to make peace with all the affected parties when/if you move on? Or is that still unfinished business?

9. Things might have turned out very differently for Jacob had Laban discovered that Rachel was the one who stole his household idols. Is there anything you need to clean up before moving on?

10. As Christians we have the good news that Christ loves us and forgives us, so we can move on from awkward mess-ups from the past. If you felt deep inside the full confidence and strength of being a fully forgiven child of God, how might you handle cleaning up your reputation?

11. Close your time together by asking your group members for support for some fight-freeze-or-flee situation who find yourself in. How can you offer support to someone in their situation? Pray about all those next steps and lifelines.