Jacob’s New Name

Genesis 32-33

Last week our RADIUS Kids learned more about the story of Jacob and his brother Esau. After Jacob deceived his father Isaac and his brother Esau, he ran away. Jacob had lived with his uncle Laban for many years, and God had kept His promise to bless Jacob with a large family and riches. Now God said it was time for Jacob to return home. But uncertainty awaited Jacob in his homeland. His brother Esau was there. The last time Jacob saw Esau, Esau wanted to kill him.

Jacob tried to prepare for his meeting with Esau. He strategically divided his family into separate groups. He sent gifts ahead of them to appease Esau. That night, Jacob anxiously awaited word from Esau, and that is when he encountered the Lord. Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night.

Our kids learned that Jacob did not win by strength but by confessing his dependence on God’s blessing. Jacob had nowhere else to turn. He could not succeed by his own strength. Jacob held onto God and would not let go. God poured out His grace on Jacob. He changed Jacob’s life and gave him a new name, Israel. Because Jesus died and was raised from the dead, He made the way for us to be adopted into God’s family. When we are adopted into God’s family, we get a new name, too—children of God. (John 1:12)

Family Conversations and Activities

Main Points from the Bible Story:

  1. God told Jacob to go back to Canaan where Esau was.
  2. Jacob obeyed but was afraid.
  3. God came to Jacob and wrestled with him. At daybreak, Jacob asked God to bless him. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

Family Discussion Starters:

  1. Tell about a time when you were afraid. What did you do?
  2. Have you ever been forgiven? How did you feel?
  3. What can stop God’s plan? Nothing can stop God’s perfect plan.

Family Activities

  • Conduct a family arm-wrestling competition. Remind kids that Jacob wrestled with God and Jacob wouldn’t let God go until He blessed Jacob.
  • Look online to discover the meaning of each family member’s name. Discuss if the name if a good fit for each person.

Bible Verse

“I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” (Genesis 26:24)

Want More Ideas?

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Want to Talk About It?

Do you have questions about RADIUS Kids? Be sure to check out our Kids Page.

Want to know more about how you can engage your children in meaningful play? You can join our Facebook Group or feel free to contact Stephanie Ricard (RADIUS Kids Coordinator) or Andrea Krick (RADIUS Kids Preschool Coordinator).

Want to know more about the Gospel Project? Check out their website.

Post Series: RADIUS Kids: Gospel Project

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