Jacob Meets Esau/Wrestles with God

Hello again, friends!

Today’s story comes from Genesis 32 and 33.

So Jacob was running from Esau because he snuck away the blessing and the birthright (all the stuff and honor that was SUPPOSED to go to Esau). Esau was mad and wanted to kill Jacob, so he ran away. He was away a LONG time.

He got married and had a LOT of kids (just like God had promised.)

Eventually, God told him it was time to go back and he knew he would see his brother again. He sent a lot of gifts ahead to his brother…money and animals…and servants to say “Jacob is really sorry and he will serve you if you will just forgive him.”

Jacob prayed to God and asked Him to help him because he was scared of Esau. Jacob knew he could talk to God and God would help him. Even if we make a bad choice, we can know that God will always be there to listen to us and that He loves us.

While he was waiting to hear back from Esau, he laid down and that night a man (In Hosea it says an angel, but in these verses it implies God Himself, possibly Jesus, came as a man) came and wrestled with Jacob. They wrestled and fought and eventually, God said “Stop wrestling!” But Jacob said, “Not until you bless me!” So God touched Jacob and gave him a big owie in his hip.

Sometimes we wrestle with God when we are sad or don’t understand His plans. We can argue with Him, but God is always in control. Still, Jacob would not leave until he had answers from God. So God said, “Your blessing is a new name. You will now be called “Israel” which means “he struggles with God.” You can struggled with men and with God and have overcome.” (Overcome means to triumph or defeat! To win!)

When we have hard times with other people or when we struggle with our faith or understanding of God, He will help us through those times. With God on our side, we will ALWAYS overcome.

Then it was morning and Jacob saw Esau coming. He was scared. But Esau ran up to him and hugged him!?! Can you imagine how SURPRISED Jacob was?!

God had been working with Jacob, but He had also cared for Esau and had been working to give him a forgiving and happy heart.

Esau told Jacob to keep his presents, and that he was forgiven.

Jacob was so happy he set up an altar (a place to worship God.)

We made story wheels to go along with this story. We took paper plates and drew 5 lines to separate them into 5 different sections. In the first section (purple in the picture below) we drew Jacob and a lot of his kids.

The second section we drew the present Jacob sent to Esau.

In the third part, we wrote Jacob’s new name: Israel

In the fourth part, we drew a happy Esau and Jacob/Israel, hugging and happy to be back together.

In the fifth section, we drew Jacob/Israel making his tent and altar to God.


IMG_6261 IMG_6262

Then, took another paper plate and cut one fifth of the plate out. You can attach the two plates together with a little bracket or a pipe cleaner. Then you can spin the top plate around as you tell the story.

Thanks for joining us. Tomorrow we’ll begin learning about Joseph. Love to you all!

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