Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jacob and Esau Sunday School Lesson for Kids - Esau Forgives Jacob

Use this Jacob and Esau Sunday School lesson for kids to teach kids the story of how Esau forgave Jacob.

Lesson: (Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and to give their answers to the questions before clarifying the teaching.)

Ask students, What does it mean to forgive someone?

If you do something really wrong to someone, what do you have to do to make that person forgive you?

If someone does something really wrong to you and hurts your feelings, what do they have to do to make you forgive them?

Well, last time we learned about two twin brothers, named Jacob and Esau. Esau was the oldest and he grew up to be a big, strong hunter. Jacob was the younger one and he liked to stay at home. Does anyone remember what bad things Jacob did to his brother, Esau? When Esau came in from hunting one time and was very hungry, Jacob wouldn’t give Esau any food until Esau agreed to give him his birthright. Then, when their father, Isaac, was very old and blind, Jacob dressed up like Esau and tricked Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau.

Does anyone remember what Esau wanted to do to Jacob when he found out that Jacob had tricked Isaac and stolen his blessing? Esau wanted to kill Jacob.

So what did Jacob have to do to not be killed by Esau? He had to run away.

Today, we’re going to find out what happened to Jacob when he ran away from Esau and had to go live somewhere else.

Summarize Genesis 28-33, asking questions as you go.

Jacob left home and headed toward the country where his grandfather, Abraham, had grown up. One night, while he was still on his way to the old country, Jacob put a rock under his head for a pillow – how would you like to use a rock for a pillow? – and went to sleep. While he was sleeping there, he had a dream of a giant ladder, stretching all the way up into Heaven. Angels were climbing up and down on the ladder from Heaven to earth and God was standing at the top of the ladder. “I am the Lord,” God said, “the God of your grandfather, Abraham, and your father, Isaac. I will give you many children and I will give this country of Canaan to you and to your children and to your grandchildren forever. I will be with you and will not leave you.”

Then Jacob woke up and said, “If God will keep me safe on this journey and take care of me and bring me back to the country of Canaan, then I will serve Him as my God and will give Him a tenth of everything I get.”

Jacob went on a little farther and finally came to the town where his grandfather, Abraham, was from. There was a well outside the town and when Jacob came up to the well, he found a group of shepherds with their sheep, all gathered around the well with a large rock on top of it. “Why don’t you move the rock and give your animals a drink from the well?” Jacob asked the shepherds.

“The rock is very heavy,” the shepherds answered. “We have to wait until everyone gets here so everyone can help move the rock.”

While Jacob was still talking with the shepherds, his cousin, Rachel, came up to the well with her sheep. Jacob thought that Rachel was very beautiful. So when he saw her, he rolled the heavy stone off the well all by himself and gave her sheep some water. Then, when Rachel found out that Jacob was her cousin, she invited him to come spend the night at her family’s house.

After Jacob had stayed with his cousins, Rachel and Leah, and his uncle, Laban, for a whole month, Jacob told his uncle that he loved Rachel and wanted to marry her. “I will work for you for seven years,” Jacob told his uncle, “if you will let me marry Rachel.”

Laban agreed and when those seven years were over, Laban gave a great wedding banquet and Jacob thought he was marrying Rachel. But it was so dark outside during the wedding and since the woman he was marrying was wearing a veil over her face, Jacob couldn’t see that it wasn’t really Rachel he was marrying. In fact, he didn’t notice who it was he had married until the sun came up the next morning!

Who do you think the woman was that Jacob married?

When Jacob woke up the next morning, he saw that it was his cousin, Leah, who he had married. Then Jacob was very angry. “Why did you trick me?” Jacob yelled at his uncle, Laban. “I told you I would work for you if you would let me marry Rachel, not Leah.”

Then Laban said, “I will let you marry Rachel, but you had to marry Leah first since she is the oldest. Work for me for another seven years and I’ll let you marry Rachel.”

So Jacob kept working for his uncle and was married to both of the sisters. He was also married to two of Rachel and Leah’s servants, Bilhah and Zilpah. With four wives, Jacob soon had a very large family. He had twelve sons and even some daughters.

Finally, after working for his uncle for twenty years, Jacob decided that it was time for him to take his new family and go home.

Why had Jacob run away from home? Because Esau was going to kill him for tricking Isaac and taking Esau’s blessing.

Well, Jacob didn’t know if Esau still wanted to kill him, but he thought that he had stayed away long enough and that he might as well take the chance of going home.

Do you think Esau will try to kill Jacob when he goes home?

While Jacob and his family were on their way home, Jacob sent a messenger to tell Esau that he was coming. The messenger returned a few days later and said, “I told Esau you were coming home and now he is coming to meet you with four hundred armed men!”

Jacob was very afraid of his brother, Esau, and he divided his family into two groups, sending one that way and the other this way. “If Esau attacks one group of my family,” Jacob thought, “the other group might get away.” When the two groups of his family left, Jacob was left by himself. He prayed, “Oh, God, when I ran away from home, I didn’t have anything. But You said You would be with me and would protect and take care of me and now You have given me such a large family. Only now I am afraid that Esau will come and kill me and my family.”

When Jacob was finished praying, he took all of the hundreds of goats, sheep, cows, donkey, and camels that he had and sent his messengers ahead of him to give the animals to Esau as a gift. Jacob thought that maybe if he gave Esau such a large gift of so many animals that Esau would accept the gift and not hurt him.

Do you think it will work? Will Esau take the animals and not hurt Jacob?

Then a man, who was really God, came and wrestled with Jacob all night. When the sun was coming up, the man who was really God twisted Jacob’s hip and hurt him. But Jacob said that he wouldn’t let the man who was really God go until He blessed him. So God blessed Jacob and changed Jacob’s name from Jacob to Israel.

Then the man left and Jacob, limping from his hurt hip, walked on to meet his brother, Esau. When he saw Esau and his four hundred men coming, Jacob bowed down to the ground seven times to apologize. But Esau ran up to his brother, Jacob,…

What do you think Esau’s going to do?

Esau ran up to his brother, Jacob,…and hugged him and kissed him. Then Esau gave Jacob back all the animals Jacob had sent to Esau as a gift because Esau was just glad to see Jacob coming home and had forgiven him for all the wrong things Jacob had done to him.

Do you think it was nice for Esau to forgive Jacob? It was nice. Even though Jacob did so many bad things to his brother, Esau was able to forgive him. And God wants us to forgive people when they do bad things to us, too. God always wants us to forgive, just like God forgives us when we do something wrong.

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