Sabbath School Summary
By Elder Dr Masimba Mavaza
Memory Text: “And Esau said, ‘Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!’ And he said, ‘Have you not reserved a blessing for me?’ ” (Genesis 27:36, NKJV).
We now pick up on the continued family history of Isaac, the miracle child and early ancestor of the promised Seed. The story doesn’t start out particularly well, however. The flawed character of his son Jacob will be manifested in the rivalry between the two brothers over the birthright (Gen. 25:27-34) and consequently over the right to obtain the blessing of Isaac (Genesis 27). Because Jacob deceives his father and steals the blessing from his older brother, he will have to flee for his life. In exile, God confronts him at Bethel (Gen. 28:10-22). From then on Jacob, the deceiver, will experience some deception himself. Instead of Rachel, whom Jacob loves (Genesis 29), Leah, the older daughter, will be given to Jacob, and he will have to work 14 years to earn his wives.
Yet, Jacob also will experience God’s blessing, for in exile he will have 11 of his sons, and God will increase his wealth
SABBATH: There was everything about Jacob that might have made God hate Jacob, but God’s mercy followed him throughout his. He was a deceiver. God allowed him to go on in his sins, reap its results, & show Him He’s all that he need. His flaws brought rivalry between him & Esau. He was exiled; had to spend 14 years to earn his wives. Amid Jacob’s sins, God fulfilled His promises (Gen. 27, 28:10-22, 29).
SUNDAY: Jacob & Esau, the twins of the miracle child, Isaac, present a sharp contrast in character & life. It was foretold that they’d struggle with each other. Esau was a tough hunter & Jacob was “mild”; “tam” in Hebrew, is used to depict Job as blameless & Noah as perfect (Gen. 25:21-34; 27:1-28:5, 6:9; Job 1:8). Esau sold his birthright for food & Jacob became herald of God’s promise to Abraham (PP, p. 177).
MONDAY: Jacob’s deception that won him Isaac’s blessings brought him pain. Exiled after Esau’s threat to slay him, Jacob in a dream met God at a place he named Bethel, “the house of God” (Gen. 27:36, 27:42, 43, 45, 28:5, 10-22, 11:1-9). He saw a ladder linked with God. Like the Tower of Babel, the ladder is to reach the “door of heaven.” It depicts access to God. Jacob gave tithe after receiving God’s gift.
TUESDAY: At Bethel, Jacob had a stone for a pillow. At his final stop, the first thing he sees is a stone—a symbol of God’s presence. It is this stone that will afford him the chance to talk with Rachel. At first sight, Jacob loved Rachel so much that his 7-year work to earn her was like a few days (Gen. 29:1-30). But he was deceived as he did to his father & brother (Exod. 21:24; Gen. 9:6, 27:35, 12, 29:25).
WEDNESDAY: The last 7 years of exile, which was a burden to Jacob were also the most fruitful years. He will father 11 of the 12 children who’ll become ancestors of God’s people (Gen. 25:19-35:26). God opened the wombs of his wives (Gen. 29:31, 30:22). For not being loved, God gifted Leah Reuben & Simeon. Rachel had to wait for a while before giving birth to Joseph (Gen. 29:18, 27, 30:23, 24, 25).
THURSDAY: Years passed on, and Jacob became milder. He knew his father-in-law cheated him but he let it go. At the end of his 14th-year service to Laban, the birth Joseph, he planned to return to the Promised Land. His concern was to provide for his own house (Gen. 30:26, 30). Jacob was kept away for long due to unplanned events. He waited for God’s signal to go home (Gen. 30:25-32, PP, p. 193).
FRIDAY: Grace alone made Jacob the beloved of God. Yet, Jacob worked hard to try to deserve the grace which is contrary to the gospel. Later, Jacob grew in the faith & realized that human works can’t earn salvation or blessings. His act to acquire the birthright by deception left him disappointed. He became a fugitive. But what did God do? He visited him in his state of helplessness. God is Love!
—Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1095.
PP- Patriarchs and Prophets
Bethel- It means “the house of God.”
Esau- As a grew, he loved self-gratification and centered all his interest on the present. He despised his birthright. He surmised that he could do what he liked without the duties that come with being the firstborn.
Jacob- Having learnt of the covenant promises, he was ever thinking of the future more than the present. He subtly gained his brother’s birthright & blessings. As a deceiver, he was also deceived. He later grew in faith.
Isaac & Rebekah- The parents of Jacob & Esau. They taught their sons the covenant promises given to Abraham. Isaac loved Esau the most, and Rebekah loved Jacob the most.
Jacob’s Ladder- It is actually God’s Ladder. The Ladder is God Himself (i.e., Jesus Christ). He spoke of this Ladder in John 1:51. The ladder emphasized that access to God can be achieved only through God’s coming to us, and not through human effort.
Jacob’s Pillow- The stone became a symbol of Bethel; the temple, the sanctuary, the center of God’s saving activity for humanity.
Reuben- His name contains the verb “ra’ah”, which means to “see.” Because God “saw” that Leah was unloved, He gifted her Reuben.
Simeon- Leah’s second son. The name contains the verb “shama (means “heard”). Thus, God heard the cries of Leah. The name resonates with that of Ishmael (means “God will hear”).
Tower of Babel- It stood for human efforts to go up and reach God.
SUNDAY- Jacob and Esau
MONDAY- Jacob’s Ladder
TUESDAY- The Deceiver Deceived
WEDNESDAY- The Blessing of the Family
THURSDAY- Jacob Leaves
📌 Look at the characters of these people (Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Esau, Laban, Rachel, Leah) in some of these accounts of sacred history. Look at all the lies and deception involved. What does this teach us about human nature in general and God’s grace?
📌 As you read the story of Jacob, what evidence can you find that over time his character was maturing and growing? [email protected]