God defeats the Jacob in me so that a proud taker can become a humble receiver.
- Matt shared a time in college when he was humbled playing 'bull in the ring.' Sometimes we need to be humbled, but it doesn't feel good. When is a time you've been humbled? How has God used that in your life?
- Jacob's birth is described in Genesis 25:19-28. His name means 'cheater' and even from birth he was a taker. How are 'Jacobs' elevated in our culture?
- We resent Jacob and we resemble Jacob. Why and how?
- In Genesis 27 we read of Isaac blessing his firstborn, passing on the leadership mantle for the family of Abraham. Jacob and his mother conspire to deceive their father. God does not sanction manipulation and deceit, but a sovereign God works even behind human scheming to bring about good. How is this encouraging? How have you seen this?
- The old man is deceived, the brother is cheated, and Jacob has to pretend to be someone else in order to receive his father's blessing. When have you pretended to be someone else in order to receive affirmation from people? How does that feel?
- In Genesis 28:10-22 Jacob is on the run from Esau. All alone with a stone for a pillow. He sees one of the most incredible visions ever and God tells him, 'I am with you.' How is this an example of God's grace?
- Jacob doesn't hear God until he gets vulnerable. How has this been true of you?
- Years later, as Jacob prepares to meet Esau again he sends gifts ahead to soften Esau. Genesis 32:20 literally says, 'I may appease his [Esau's] face with the gift that goes ahead of my face and afterward I will see his [Esau's] face and perhaps he will lift [accept] my face.' What's with all the references to 'face?' Jacob has spend his life looking for love in all the wrong faces. Can you relate?
- In Genesis 32:22-31 we read the odd story of a stranger who attacks Jacob at night. The stranger turns out to be God. The face Jacob sees - the most important face - is the face of God. Jacob initially grips the stranger with the grip of demand and his grip finally turns to the grip of desperation. 'Bless me!' When has God come to you in the form of unexpected pain?
- Why does God come to Jacob this way?
- Frederick Buechner describes this experience as, 'the magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God.' What does it mean for our soul to be defeated by Jesus? How is that a good thing?
- How is Jesus better than Jacob?