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God Blesses Jacob and Rachel
Fall Quarter: God’s World and God’s People
Unit 3: God Blesses and Creates Regardless
Sunday school lesson for the week of November 25, 2018
By Dr. Nita Crump
Lesson Scripture: Genesis 30
Key Verses: Genesis 30:22
To marvel that God’s blessings are not contingent on whether we are morally upright.
Once again, as we study Genesis, we find ourselves involved with Jacob. Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, who tricked his brother out of both his birthright and his blessing. In the last lesson, we learned that God sometimes allows success in less than moral situations in order to teach a lesson later. We saw some of that lesson as Jacob listened to a message from God in his dream.
In the current passage of scripture, we see some of the old Jacob return as he negotiates with his father-in-law so that he can build his own wealth. As a result of Jacob’s negotiations with Laban, and in just a few years, Jacob accumulates great wealth through owning large flocks of sheep and goats, camels, and donkeys.
In ancient days, accumulating great wealth was a sign the god of your choice was blessing you. So, what does it mean to read that blessings accumulate for one who is not the most moral of persons? Does that speak more about the one doing the blessing or the one receiving the blessings? Those are difficult questions for one who is morally upright and depends on the one holy and living God for blessings yet lives in poverty and goes without. Perhaps we need to consider blessings from a more spiritual aspect than accumulation of wealth and possessions.
God’s blessings are the blessings that come from living in his grace even though we don’t deserve the opportunity to do so. God doesn’t expect us to make ourselves perfect before he invites us into a relationship with him. Being morally upright and good is what happens after we respond to God’s invitation to be in relationship with him. Jacob is not a hero because he accumulated wealth while living in a less than righteous manner. His behavior should not be behavior we try to imitate. The real hero in this story is God himself, who is willing to work with the unrighteous and morally upside down. Jacob didn’t get rewarded for his behavior. We don’t get rewarded for our behavior, no matter how bad or good it might be. We are rewarded with the opportunity to live in and enjoy the blessings of a relationship with God because it is God’s nature to love us despite us.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a marvelous thought.
The story of Jacob demonstrates that God’s covenant people are not exempt from troubles, strife, and moral failures. It also demonstrates that God will neither give up nor let go. God’s constant presence since the beginning of creation is not dependent on anything a person might or might not do.
When we started this series on the book of Genesis, we began with the story of God creating the universe, including plants, animals, and people. As we end this series of lessons, we find God still in the business of creation as he starts with morally upside-down people and works in our hearts and lives to transform us into holy and righteous people who live in the blessings of a relationship with him. Amen.
(Information in this lesson was drawn from The New Application Commentary, Genesis, From biblical text…to contemporary life
, John H. Walton, p 578-599 and the Teacher’s Edition of the Adult Bible Studies, Uniform Series, International Bible Lessons for Christian Teaching.
Dr. Nita Crump serves as Director of Connectional Ministries. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.