Esau and Jacob – Genesis 27 & 28

What a hard story to digest! How could God have chosen someone to carry out His plan who cheated his own brother and lied to his own father? There’s something about this story that just doesn’t sit right with us. We like stories where the protagonist has some redeeming qualities, someone we can cheer for. However, this story personifies the Gospel message. We are all the cheats and liars who are unworthy of God’s attention. God chooses us not because of our redeeming qualities, but He chooses us because of His great mercy in spite of our total unworthiness. We deserve death, yet He crowns us with His love and compassion.


  • Activity Sand Play - Give each child a paper plate with a scoop of kinetic sand. Ask kids, “Can you count the grains of sand?” Remember that God came to Jacob and told him that his descendants would be as numerous as what? The dust of the earth. Let kids play with sand as you discuss the story. 

2. DISCUSS THE STORY (some possible answers in italics)

  • What did you like about this passage?

  • What didn’t you like about this passage?

  • What do you learn about God from this passage? 

- God always keeps His promises.

- God understands that we each need to be reminded of His promises.

- God speaks to people individually.

- God forgives.

- Our God comes to us. (God visited Jacob in a dream and promised to be with him).

- God uses sinful people to complete His plan. 

- God patiently waits for people to decide to give themselves to God 100%.

- God has good plans for His people.

An additional question:

  • Were you surprised that God didn’t punish Rebekah and Jacob for lying to (deceiving) Isaac? God’s punishment isn’t always immediate. They were punished in a very difficult way: after Jacob left home to get away from Esau, Rebekah and Jacob never saw one another again. Rebekah had died by the time Jacob returned home many years later.

What do you learn about people from this passage?

- People sometimes try to achieve God’s plans in sinful ways. (Rebekah had been promised by God that the older son would serve the younger. She may have been trying to achieve God’s plans by deceiving Isaac, but God doesn’t need our sinful ways to achieve His ends. Our sin just winds up hurting everyone).

- People must decide to follow God individually for themselves. (Notice that at this point in his life, Jacob calls God the God of his father, not his God. He promises in 28:20-23 to serve God IF God will take care of him and return him to his homeland. That doesn’t happen until Gen 35 after Jacob struggles through many hard experiences, trying to take care of things himself).


  • What do you learn about yourself from this story?

- I must choose to believe what God says about Himself and about me.

- God wants me to care about the things that matter to Him.

- God wants me to believe what He says.

- God wants my heart to belong totally to Him.

  • Jacob said God was “the God of my father.” What about you? Who is God to you? Is He the God of your parents? Is He your God? How do you know?