Jacob’s New Name – Genesis 32 - 33

Jacob was terrified of his brother, Esau, for good reasons. The last time he saw his brother, Esau had vowed to kill him. Now Esau was heading straight for him, accompanied by 400 men! Certainly Jacob remembered how skilled Esau had been at hunting. Was he now hunting down Jacob, planning to get revenge? 

Jacob did everything he could think of to ensure his safety: he sent presents to Esau - lots of valuable presents; he prayed; he used his servants, livestock, wives and children as a buffer between Esau and himself. And then he met God face to face in a wrestling match.

What kind of God wrestles with people? Our God wrestles with people. He could strike us dead in an instant if He wanted to. (He made Jacob lame with just a touch of his finger). But He is patient and waits for us to figure out how much we need Him; He waits for us to desire His blessing more than anything else. He is the God who gave Jacob a new name, and He can make everything new for us.


  • Activity Tin Foil Wrestlers - give each child a square of tin foil. Make 5 cuts (see instructions: http://dolvinartknight.blogspot.com/2014/01/foil-figure-sculpture.html) and gently squeeze foil together to form arms, legs, and a head. Then let kids pose tin foil figures into wrestling poses. While kids form their figures, discuss questions below.

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 hears our prayers.

- God knows when we are scared, and He cares.

- God can bring good from the worst of situations.

- God is patient with us and waits for us to desire Him more than anything.

- God makes everything new.

- God lets people wrestle with Him.

  • What do you learn about people from this passage?

- People often depend on themselves more than on God.

- People who are afraid are sometimes very selfish.

- People who are afraid might lie.

- People often learn about God over a long period of time.


  • What do you learn about yourself from this story?

- I often try doing things my own way before I turn to God and depend totally on Him.

- God invites me to wrestle with Him.

- God is patient with me.

- I want God’s blessing more than anything else in life.