Genesis Week 7 – Lessons From Deception

Thank you for reading Genesis with us! Here are the readings for this week:

Readings this week:
Genesis 26:34-31:55
□ 26:34-27:40 – Jacob and the blessing
□ 27:41-28:22 – Jacob flees and his dream
□ 29:1-30 – Jacob at Laban’s
□ 29:31-30:43 – Jacob’s household
□ 31 – Jacob leaves Laban

Main Topic – Lessons from Deception
In the previous section of Genesis, we saw God’s promises passed from Abraham to Isaac. Now the story follows Isaac’s son Jacob. Jacob’s name means “the deceiver” and the Bible does not downplay his manipulative, con-man like character. Isaac the elderly father is tricked, and he passes on the covenant blessings to Jacob not Esau. Jacob – willing to lie, cheat, and steal – would flunk anyone’s morality test. Watch in this section as he pays dearly for his trickery and is himself deceived and cheated by his uncle Laban. Jacob will spend 20 years in personal exile – during which time he builds a family and learns many lessons. His character is changed through this hardship and repentance, and he returns from exile ready for a remarkable reconciliation with his brother and God himself.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion
1. The Stolen Blessing (Gen 27) – Consider the story of Jacob and Rebekah’s deception. While the deception is successful, by the end of the chapter it is clear that everybody loses. Note the consequences for each family member: Isaac, Esau, Jacob, and Rebekah.

2. Jacob’s Dream and Vow (Gen 28) – Jacob is exiled as a consequence of his sin. Where does he go? What is his dream about? What does God tell him? How is this a continuation of the covenant promises? What vow does he make?

3. Jacob’s Marriage and Children (Gen 29-30) – In an ironic twist, Jacob is now deceived by Laban and manipulated by his wives. How does the story of his wives unfold? Describe how Jacob is now suffering through the deception and manipulation of others. What might God be teaching Jacob?

4. Jacob’s Flocks (Gen 30) – An odd story about striped and spotted lambs and mating techniques… What do we learn about Jacob in this story? What do we learn about God? How does Jacob experience God’s grace in spite of Laban’s manipulations here?

5. Jacob Flees from Laban (Gen 31) – How are Jacob’s old habits evident as he flees Laban? How do we see Jacob’s growing faith? Does Jacob recognize that God has been blessing him? Note the reconciliation between Jacob and Laban. What broken relationship still needs to be reconciled for Jacob?

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