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Sunday, January 27, 2019 in Elementary KidzTown

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Jacob found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. After stealing his older brother’s blessing, he fled his home to escape Esau’s anger. He spent time with his uncle Laban, got married, and fathered many children. Overall, Jacob prospered. God blessed him, but Jacob’s time with his uncle Laban did not end well. Laban’s sons accused Jacob of taking their father’s wealth.

God was with Jacob and when He told Jacob to leave, Jacob did not hesitate. He gathered his family and all of his possessions and headed home to Canaan with Laban in pursuit. But uncertainty awaited Jacob in his homeland. His brother Esau was there. The last time Jacob saw Esau, Esau wanted to kill him.

God had reaffirmed to Jacob the promise He gave Abraham and Isaac, and He had promised to be with Jacob. But with Laban behind him and Esau before him, how could Jacob possibly survive?

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.

Did Jacob win the wrestling match? Was he stronger than the Lord? The victory was ironic; Jacob did not win by strength (God proved His power by crippling Jacob with just a touch) 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.

As you talk with your kids about this story, emphasize that God changed Jacob’s life and gave him a new name, Israel. Jesus came so that we might have a changed life, forgiven of sin. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Jesus’ death and resurrection provided sinful people the way to be adopted into God’s family. When we are adopted into the family of God we also receive a new name—children of God. (John 1:12)


• Why do you think Jacob refused to let go of God?

• On whom did Jacob’s future depend? Who is in control of our future?

• How are we changed when we trust in Jesus?

FAMILY ACTIVITY: Use a baby names book to talk to your kids about what their names mean. Discuss why you chose the names you gave them and the ways Jesus changes us when we put our faith in Him.


Posted by Erin Krotz with

Sunday, January 20, 2019 in Elementary KidzTown

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When Isaac and Rebekah sent Jacob away from his home in the promised land of Canaan to escape the wrath of his brother Esau, Rebekah expected him to be gone for a few days—just until Esau calmed down. (Gen. 27:44) But days and then weeks and then months passed; Jacob was with Laban for twenty years. (Gen. 31:38)

Before Jacob left home, Isaac blessed him and instructed him to find a wife among his relatives. And that’s what Jacob did. On his way to Laban’s house, God appeared to Jacob at Bethel in a dream and gave Jacob the same covenant He gave to Abraham. Jacob believed God had chosen him as an heir of the promise—to follow God, to lead the family, and to teach the next generation to follow God too.

This meant Jacob would have a family. He arrived in Haran and saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban. Jacob loved Rachel. He agreed to work for seven years for Laban if Laban would let him marry Rachel. After seven years, Laban deceived Jacob. Instead of giving him Rachel, Laban gave him Rachel’s older sister, Leah.

Jacob was angry. Laban demanded that Jacob work another seven years if he wanted to marry Rachel. So Jacob worked for seven more years. Jacob’s own plans for his life were not lining up with the Lord’s plans. He wanted to have children with Rachel, but she was barren. His first four sons came from Leah. Finally, Rachel had Joseph and Benjamin.

In time, Jacob fathered twelve sons—Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. This week, help your kids understand nothing could stop God’s plan for the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even though Jacob did not love Leah, God loved her and used her in His plan. Through the family of Jacob and Leah’s son Judah, God would show His love for the world by sending His Son to be the Savior He promised.


• How did God show His love for Leah? Through whose family did God send Jesus into the world?

• Have you ever been tempted to be deceptive, or tricky, to get what you want?

• How can you show God’s love to others?

Family Activity: Play a game with your kids. They must complete seven simple tasks to earn a prize. Discuss how it would feel to get tricked with a different prize. Remind them the Jesus is the best prize, and we don’t have to earn His love!

Posted by Erin Krotz with

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