What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name? 

Our journey with Jacob continues this week! We learn the names of Rachel and Leah’s children, Esau’s descendents and we hear about Jacob’s name change after he wrestles with God. Names in the Bible help us understand the meaning behind different events. 

Monday – Genesis 29:31 – 30:43

Key Points:

  • God gave Leah six sons – the name of her fourth son was Judah, which means “praise”. It was then that Leah started to look to God to fulfill her, not her husband or sister. 
  • Leah was rejected by her husband and her sister, but God still used her to be the matriarch of the two greatest tribes –  Levi (the priestly tribe) and Judah (the royal tribe). 
  • Leah and Rachel kept having more children with Jacob in an effort to prove themselves as good wives and essentially one-up each other. 
  • Jacob asked Laban to be released with his wives to go back to “my country” or the land promised to him by God. Laban knows how valuable Jacob is and instead they strike a deal to divide up the flock into solid and spotted/speckled sheep. Jacob taking the latter. Jacob’s flock grew in strength and numbers – not because he deserved it, but because God promised it to Him(Genesis 28:13-15). 

Today’s Takeaways:

  • Rachel and Leah were sisters – they were supposed to be for each other! Their division and competition took a toll. Do you have a sibling? How can you show them you are on their team? 
  • Who are people we look to other than God to fulfill us? 
  • God gives us blessing, not because we deserve it but because of His covenant with us through Jesus. What are some blessings God has given you that you don’t deserve?

Tuesday – Genesis 31

Key Points:

  • Laban’s sons said Jacob was taking  livestock away from Laban – in reality, Jacob’s flocks were increasing and Laban was filled with envy. 
  • Laban’s sons turned him against Jacob.
  • God tells Jacob to return to the “land of your fathers”. God gives Jacob explicit direction AND made his present circumstances difficult. 
  • Laban treated Jacob unfairly, but Jacob still acted with integrity toward him. 
  • Rachel and Leah both agreed to support Jacob and leave their father. They finally agreed on something! 
  • Laban tried to accuse Jacob of stealing the gods but he could find no evidence.
  • The pillar was a mark of separation between Jacob and Laban

Today’s Takeaways: 

  • God uses the story of Rachel/Leah and Jacob/Laban to show us that envy is never good! 
  • God gave Jacob explicit instruction to leave Laban’s house. How amazing is that? What are other ways God speaks to us? 
  • This was the last time we see Laban in the Bible. God needed Jacob to separate from Laban so he could complete His mission for Jacob. Sometimes God calls us away from things if they are getting in the way of Him.

Wednesday – Genesis 32-33

Key Points: 

  • God protected Jacob on his journey away from Laban and toward his brother.
  • Jacob wronged Esau(took his birthright) and was worried about returning to him. On the flip side, Jacob had treated Laban with integrity and Laban turned against him. Esau shows him hospitality and kindness. 
  • A Man wrestled with Jacob – it doesn’t say that Jacob wrestled with the man. The Man is a reference to God. God wanted something from Jacob and He was going to refine him no matter what it took. 

Today’s Takeaways:

  • Like Esau, how can we show grace to someone when they don’t deserve it? 
  • “Deliver me, I pray” – What is a bold prayer you can pray? 

Thursday – Genesis 34

Key Points: 

  • A terrible crime was committed against Dinah and her brothers’ retaliation was terrible as well. Jacob was concerned with right and wrong and did not trust God for justice. 
  • The same man who harmed her wanted to marry her. Jacob and his sons gave conditions for marrying their sister even though they knew they being dishonest.

Today’s Takeaways: 

  • It’s hard to trust God for justice and we often want to take it into our own hands. 

Friday – Genesis 35-36

Key Points:

  • In the first verse, God says “arise and go to Bethel” which was where God originally asked Jacob to go (Genesis 31).
  • Jacob’s name changed Israel because he wrestled with God 
  • We learn the names of Esau’s descendents. 

Today’s Takeaways:

  • Sometimes it’s hard to listen to God the first time around – we think we know better, or it’s uncomfortable. How do you think Jacob felt when God told him for the second time where to go?
  • Jacob’s encounter with God was marked by a name change – without changing your name, how can people identify you as a child of God?
  • God gives Esau a long line of descendents even though God did not bring him into the covenant with Him like he did Jacob. How much more does God want to bless us, His dearly loved children? 

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