Teach your kids to trust God. “Jacob Wrestles with God” isn’t just a crazy story about Jacob’s encounter with the angel. It’s a prime opportunity for you to show your kids that God can be trusted! And you can use a simple yet effective Application Activity to creatively show kids how to trust God personally. Perfect for your family devotions, homeschool Bible time, or Sunday School class! Scroll down for more info.
If anyone had a good reason to be afraid, it was Jacob.
He had tricked his brother Esau and stolen from him. The last time they had seen each other, Esau had threatened to kill him.
Now Jacob was headed back to that brother. And it’s obvious from Jacob’s actions that he was scared out of his mind about seeing Esau again. He obviously expected Esau to meet him with anger, hostility, and perhaps violence.
So Jacob took steps to protect his loved ones. But he also did something wise—he let his fear motivate him to prayer.
And he was remarkably humble in his prayer—especially considering what an arrogant, proud, self-sufficient schemer he usually was.
Jacob prayed, and God answered!
In his prayer, Jacob appealed to the promises God had made him. He begged to God to intervene.
And God did intervene—though perhaps not the way that Jacob had envisioned.
God met Jacob in the form of a man.
They wrestled against each other all night. Finally, God challenged Jacob to humble himself and admit who he really was—Jacob, which means “supplanter” or “deceiver.”
When Jacob humbled himself before God, then God gave him the new name of Israel, which means “God prevails.”
When Jacob humbled himself before God, God reminded him that He always keeps His promises.
Jacob had seen God keep His promises over and over again throughout his life. And because Jacob knew that God always keeps His word, he could trust God. Even though he was terrified of seeing Esau again, He could trust God to handle the situation.
Teach your kids that they can trust God, too.
Use Jacob’s story to teach your kids that they, too, can trust God—because He always keeps His promises.
But don’t just stop there!
Instead, do what you can to help kids figure out realistic, practical ways to apply that truth to their lives.
Use the Application Activity below to help your kids see how they personally can trust God today.
Jacob Wrestles with God: An Application Activity
This personal application activity is intended for use in small groups. But, depending on the size of your group, you may also choose to do it all together.
You can use this activity after your lesson, to encourage kids to personally apply the truths from the story of Jacob’s struggle with God.
- Index cards (one for each child).
- Pens, pencils, or markers.
- Pass out an index card and a pen, pencil, or marker to each child.
- Encourage the kids to think of one way that they, personally, need to humble themselves before God, admitting they need to quit trusting themselves and trust God instead.
- Tell the kids to write one word at the top of the index card (or draw a picture) that will help them remember the area or situation that they chose.
- Then give a few minutes of silence for the kids to pray personally with God about the thing that they chose.
- If they’d like, they can write out thoughts or prayers on the rest of the card.
- They can also pray silently.
- Afterward, instruct the kids to fold their index cards in half so the writing is hidden.
- They can take these cards home as a reminder to continue trusting God in this instance, rather than themselves.
God can be trusted, because He keeps His word.
When Jacob chose to depend on God, he could do it confidently—because he knew that God always keeps His promises.
And Jacob isn’t the only one who can do that. We also know, through Jacob’s story, that God keeps His promises. And so we also can confidently trust God—this God of Jacob, who always keeps His promises.
Teach your kids to trust God.
If your kids learn Jacob’s story, they’ll see that God always keeps His promises.
And if your know and believe that truth, it can change their entire perspective.
It can lead them to trust God, knowing that He’ll keep His word to them.
And that trust can make all the difference in their lives!
So teach Jacob’s story. Show your how God kept His word to Jacob, and how Jacob finally responded by humbling himself and trusting God.
Help your kids realize that God can be trusted.
Guide them to apply that truth to their own lives.
And, potentially, lead your kids to application that will change their lives forever.
Show your kids how God kept His promises to Jacob:
- God kept His promises by leading Jacob’s mother to his father. Teach this story using a free printable lesson outline.
- God kept His promises in spite of Jacob’s wrong choices. Teach this truth with an attention-grabbing activity.
- God kept His promises even though it seemed like He wasn’t doing anything. Click here for a detailed lesson plan to teach this truth.
- God kept His promises even though He also allowed Jacob to face the consequences of his sin. Discuss this truth using thought-provoking review questions.
- God kept every single one of His promises to Jacob. Use a discussion guide to help your kids realize this truth.
Happy teaching! 😀
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