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Made Easy


Jacob is one of the most inspirational characters in the Bible.  His is the story of hard times, endurance, and triumph through determination and faithfulness to God.  However, the Bible is honest and presents his faults.  His major flaw was that of scheming to take advantage of others.  However, God teaches us that “what goes around, comes around” through the life of Jacob.  Jacob’s story also shows us the concept of grace, which in this case, means that God will still love and work with the imperfect people of the world just like you and me!  We will examine some highlights of Jacob’s life to teach and inspire us!


  1.  Jacob was the twin brother of Esau.

    1. His parents were Isaac and Rebekah.

      1. Jacob and Esau were miracle babies, because their mother was not able to have children at this point in her life.

      2. They were the answer to Isaac’s prayer to give them children.

      3. Genesis 25:19:23 talks about this and reads, “19 This is the account of Abraham's son Isaac. Abraham became the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean. 21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger" (New International Version).

      4. We learn a few things about the two children in the womb and a practical lesson for ourselves.

        1. We learn that the two children were competing with each while in the unborn state.

        2. This shows us that the unborn children are already people within the womb.

          1. They are not just a piece of tissue as many abortion supporters claim.

        3. Also, God shows us that He has a plan for the lives of the unborn.

          1. That plan for Jacob and Esau was to make a great nation out of each of the children.

          2. This shows us that even though abortion is legal in the U.S.A., it is not something Christian people should do.

          3. We should not kill our babies because we are to love every one (James 2:8; Titus 2:3-5).

            1. You don’t kill what you love!

          4. They are conscience within the womb before birth, and God has a plan for them.

        4. Obviously, their mother, Rebekah, could feel the commotion within her womb so she asked God what was happening?

          1. God basically revealed a prophecy to her; meaning He foretold the future of the two children.

          2. The competing of the children in the womb was a sign of the future of the two.

          3. They both would become nations of people through their descendents as God revealed to them in His prophecy.

          4. Also, God shows us that the younger one, which is Jacob, would be the strongest nation while Esau’s descendents would be Jacob’s servants.

          5. This shows a special power that only God has.

          6. This is what we call omniscience.

            1. Omniscience just means that God knows everything.

            2. This makes Him God and makes Him of a superior intelligence to you and me!

  2. Moving on, the boys were finally born (Genesis 25:24-26).

    1. Esau was born red and hairy. 

      1. His name means “hairy” in Hebrew.

      2. He was the first born son.

    2. Jacob was born next and he came out holding the heel of Esau.

      1. Jacob’s name means “supplanter” in Hebrew.

        1. It means to replace someone by trickery or force.

        2. This shows us that Jacob’s nature was one of tricking others from his birth into this world.

        3. This trickery nature would hurt him the future, because we will find out that the old saying is true, “What comes around, goes around!”

  3. Moving on, just like brothers in our day and age, Jacob and Esau were completely different from each other (Genesis 25:27-28).

    1. The Bible is showing that Esau was an outdoors man. 

      1. He was a hunter. 

      2. His father, Isaac, favored him, because he loved to eat of Esau’s meat he brought home from his kills.

    2. The Bible is also showing us something about Jacob.

      1. He was a man who loved being within the tents.

      2. This means that hunting was not his interest.

      3. Instead, he seemed to be more of a social type of person who liked being around people more.

    3. Notice, even though these two boys were twins, they had different personalities.

      1. This shows us that God makes us all different from each other within our own families.

      2. We should accept our differences instead of making them grounds to hate each other.

      3. As the Bible tells us, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves and this includes our family members (James 2:8; Titus 2:3-5).

      4. We are also to treat everyone like we want to be treated and this includes our brothers and sisters (Matthew 7:12).

      5. So, do not try to make your brother or sister into another version of you!

      6. They were not created to be another version of you!

      7. Let them be themselves and you will get along a lot better in the future.

  4. Unfortunately, the Bible speaks about a negative story between the two brothers which would cause hatred between them (Genesis 25:29-34).

    1. The Bible says that Esau was terribly hungry one day.

    2. He was offered some stew from Jacob.

      1. However, Jacob had an ulterior motive.

      2. In other words, Jacob was not going to give his own brother something for nothing.

      3. So, he fed Esau only in exchange for the family birth right.

      4. The family birth right was a special gift to the oldest child which was Esau.

      5. However, Jacob conned Esau out of this special privilege.

      6. If Esau would not have traded his birth right, he would have received the promise of Deuteronomy 21:17, which reads, “17 He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him” (New International Version).

        1. So, Esau traded an abundance in an inheritance for one meal!

        2. Not a very wise decision at all.

        3. He was supposed to get an inheritance twice the size of Jacob’s inheritance.

        4. Now, Jacob is getting the double inheritance instead.

        5. We learn from Esau not to live in the moment but to think about how our decisions affect our future!

        6. Making hasty decisions always leads to disaster.

        7. Thus, we need to step back and think about some things before we do them to avoid making mistakes.

        8. What feels good now can really make your life in the future difficult.

        9. This is especially true when it comes to peer pressure.

        10. For example, sometimes, teens are talked into drinking parties, get into a car with an intoxicated driver, and then lose their lives in an automobile accident or end up paralyzed if they live!

        11. Sometimes, teens are talked into premarital sex and pregnancy occurs causing financial difficulties for the single mother and the child.

        12. Sometimes, teens are talked into doing drugs and become slaves to an addiction that lasts for decades in one’s life!

        13. So, make the sacrifice to say “no” to short term pleasures that negatively affect your future.

        14. Learn a lesson from Esau!

  5. Moving on, we see Isaac, Jacob’s and Esau’s father, as an old man and ready to turn over the final family blessing to them (Genesis 27:1-45).

    1. Jacob’s eyesight had started to go bad.

    2. Isaac’s plan was to bless Esau.

      1. He asked Esau to go hunting for him and bring him back some meat (Genesis 27:1-4).

    3. Unfortunately, Rebekah overheard the conversation between Isaac and Esau (Genesis 27:5-14).

      1. Since, Jacob was her favorite son, she wanted him to get the greater blessing which would have belonged to Esau.

      2. So, she prepared two goats and disguised Jacob as Esau!

      3. This would have worked, because Isaac’s eye sight was weak at the time.

    4. Jacob followed his mother’s devious plan (Genesis 27:15-29).

      1. Jacob fooled Isaac into believing he was Esau.

      2. As a result, Jacob was given the blessing of material prosperity and leadership of the family.

      3. This was something normally reserved for the older brother.

      4. Unfortunately, Jacob stole another blessing from Esau.

      5. Not only did he steal the birth right, but now, he stole leadership of the family.

      6. Now, Esau would have to answer to him instead of the other way around.

      7. Do not try to imitate the trickery of Jacob.

      8. You must remember, the Bible is honest about Bible characters.

      9. It presents their good and bad sides.

      10. Unfortunately, the trickery of Jacob would come back to haunt him in the future.

      11. The Bible teaches that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

        1. In other words, the evil that we do comes back to us eventually.

        2. It will certainly come back to Jacob in the near future.

    5. Esau was obviously angered by Jacob’s trickery again (Genesis 27:30-41).

      1. Esau’s blessing was far less than Jacob’s.

      2. His descendents would end up being the servants of Jacob.

      3. He and his descendants would also not be rich like Jacob and his descendents.

      4. However, the hope given to Jacob is that somewhere in time, his decedents would break free from the oppression applied by Jacob’s descendents.

      5. Esau vowed to kill Jacob for stealing his blessing after the days of mourning Isaac’s death in the future was over!

    6. Rebekah heard of Esau’s plot to kill Jacob (Genesis 27:42-45).

      1. She sent him away to live with her brother, Laban, for his protection.

  6. Moving forward in Jacob’s story, we find Isaac sending Jacob to Haran to marry a Hebrew woman because he did not want his son marrying a woman of Canaan (Genesis 28:1-17).

    1. So, Jacob obeyed his father and set out for the land of Haran which was their grandfather Abraham’s homeland (Genesis 28:1-6).

    2. The Bible describes an awesome event that happened to Jacob while on his way to Haran and reads, “10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 28:10-17 New King James Version).

    3. This dream given from God talks about many things we can learn from today.

      1. First, Jacob saw a ladder to heaven which was symbolic of the way to heaven (Genesis 28:10-12)!

        1. This is symbolic of Jesus, Himself.

        2. He is the ladder to heaven, because He is the only one that can save us (John 1:51; Acts 4:12) (Burton Coffman, n.d.)!

        3. Jesus used the example of Jacob’s latter hundreds of years later to show He is the connection to heaven (John 1:51)!

      2. Second, as God promised to Jacob’s forefathers, Abraham and Isaac, He would give the land of Canaan to Jacob’s descendents.

        1. He would also give Jacob numerous decedents.

        2. Again all families of the earth would be blessed through him, because He would be the ancestor of a very special Person.

        3. Jacob is one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1; Luke 3).

        4. All families of the earth are blessed through Jesus, because He saves people from all nations of the world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).

  7. Jacob made it safely to his uncle Laban’s home in Haran (Genesis 29:14-30).

    1. The Bible says that Jacob agreed to work on Laban’s farm.

      1. The Bible says Jacob proposed and agreed to work seven years for the hand of Rachel in marriage.

        1. In those days, the father could arrange the marriage of the daughter.

        2. So Laban gave Jacob permission to marry Rachel after his seven years of work was completed.

      2. The Bible says the time flew by for Jacob, because he loved her so much (Genesis 29:14-20)!

      3. However, a problem happened when Jacob went to take Rachel’s hand in marriage after seven years.

        1. The Bible says that Laban deceived Jacob by giving him Rachel’s sister, Leah, instead.

        2. So, Jacob was married to the one he did not want.

        3. This obviously upset Jacob and he confronted Laban about it.

          1. Laban’s excuse was that it was not the custom of his land to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one.

          2. As a result, he gave Leah to Jacob instead.

          3. However, Laban said that if he remained with Leah for the duration of her bridal week, then he would give Rachel to be Jacob’s second wife.

          4. Jacob did so and Rachel became his wife as well.

          5. However, Jacob also had to do another seven years for Rachel’s hand in marriage.

          6. So, in all, Jacob had to put in 14 years of service for Rachel’s hand.

            1. The good news is that he only waited seven years to get her and was really indebted to Laban another seven years of labor (Genesis  29:21-28).

      4. We can learn a lesson from Jacob’s patience.

        1. Young people, when a person will wait for you, then he or she truly loves you.

        2. Love makes sacrifices and the one who truly loves you will wait on you!

          1. This is evident from Jacob waiting seven years just to marry Rachel!

        3. This also applies to premarital sex.

          1. If someone loves you, then he or she will wait for that moment until marriage as well.

          2. If one is really pushy in that area, then the person is not truly in love with you.

          3. That is someone trying to take advantage of you!

          4. Know the difference so you don’t make mistakes you will regret later on in life!

      5. Do you remember how Jacob fooled Esau out of his birth right and blessing?

        1. Well, now, the trickster has been tricked!

        2. This shows us that “what comes around, goes around.”

        3. Now, Jacob is the one who is deceived and must “taste a dose of his own medicine.”

        4. It is the same for us.

        5. The eternal law of God always stands.

          1. That is, what a man reaps, he will also sow (Galatians 6:7).

          2. We may think we are getting away with things, but God has a way to make bad things happen to us when we do wrong.

          3. So, why give God any reason to bring negative things on us?

          4. Let’s live righteously in his eyes so that our own trickery does not come back to haunt us later!

  8. Moving on, unfortunately, we see the heart ache of Leah (Genesis 29:31-35).

    1. Unfortunately, Jacob really loved Rachel and not Leah (Genesis 29:30).

    2. However, the mistake that Leah is going to make is the mistake many young women make today.

      1. Leah thought that by having children with Jacob, he would finally truly love her.

      2. She had four boys with Jacob in Genesis 29.

        1. She went on to have 2 more sons and a daughter with him in Genesis 30. 

        2. She gave him 7 children in all.

      3. However, this did not make him love her more than Rachel.

      4. Her wishful thinking was in vain.

      5. Jacob’s heart really belonged to Rachel no matter what.

        1. It is the same today.

        2. Young ladies make themselves the victim of abuse by trying to win the love of a man.

        3. This includes wishful thinking that a child with someone will make them loved!

        4. That is not the case.

        5. If someone loves you, then you do not have to force yourself upon him or her.

        6. Instead, that person will make sacrifices to be with you just like Jacob sacrificed 14 years of his life to obtain Rachel as his wife!

        7. Remember, true love is a mutual sacrifice!

  9. Jacob would have 2 children with Rachel (Genesis 30).

    1. Their names were Joseph and Benjamin.

    2. Jacob would favor these two boys above his other sons.

  10. Jacob would have 12 boys in all.

    1. He had 6 children with Leah.

    2. He had 2 children with Rachel (Genesis 35:24).

    3. He had 2 children with Rachel’s servant Bilhah (Genesis 35:25).

    4. He had 2 children with Leah’s servant Zilpah (Genesis 35:26).

      1. All of these boys would be the ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel!

  11. Moving on, it was beginning to become the time for Jacob to move out of Laban’s estate with his wives and children (Genesis 30:25-31:19).

    1. Laban had been wicked toward Jacob the entire time he lived with him.

    2. He had changed his wages 10 times to cheat him out of what he earned over the years.

    3. So, God was going to give Laban a little payback!

      1. Remember, “What comes around, goes around.”

    4. Jacob and Laban decided to split the animals between them.

      1. Jacob would take the speckled or spotted sheep, dark colored lambs and the speckled or spotted goats from the flock of animals.

      2. God revealed in a dream that the offspring of the herd would come out in these patterns which would make Jacob very rich!

      3. God allowed this to happen and the best animals were given to Jacob to Laban’s surprise!

        1. Laban was left with the weak animals.

      4. This should let us know that God can make us prosper over our enemies.

        1. God tells us to love our enemies instead of hate them.

        2. He tells us say good things about them instead of curse them.

        3. He tells us to be good to them and pray for them instead of taking revenge (Matthew 5:44).

          1. Remember, God says, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

          2. We, as human beings, are to never wish harm upon our enemies.

          3. However, God may decide to take vengeance as He did for Jacob over Laban.

          4. He may do so over our own enemies as well.

          5. This is for God to decide and not us!

      5. This is where God can come in and correct the situation Himself!

        1. When God steps in to solve an issue, He comes in with more power and ability to get things done for us!

      6. If He can bless Jacob, He can certainly bless you and me.

      7. Believe in the power of God!

    5. Of course, Laban was upset that Jacob was now a rich man and God had him flee back to the land of Canaan!

    6.           Jacob and his family fled from Laban just like God instructed them to do!  

  12. Laban does catch up with the fleeing Jacob and his family (Genesis 31:22-55).

    1. On the bright side, God had come to Laban in a dream to tell him not to harm Jacob before he caught up with him.

      1. This saved Jacob from being hurt by Laban!

      2. God was certainly looking out for Jacob!

      3. This shows God’s love for him!

      4. Although Jacob was not perfect, God still loved him and worked with him.

      5. This is the same thing He does for us.

      6. When we are sincere, despite making some mistakes, God will continue to forgive us if we are willing to correct them and ask the Lord to forgive us (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7-10).

      7. God’s love is shown by the many second chances he gives us!

    2. Of course, Laban is upset that Jacob took his two daughters and grandchildren.

    3. Rachel had also stolen Laban’s false gods and hid them underneath them.

    4. Laban search for these false gods, but could not find them.

    5. He did not search under Rachel’s seat, because she told him that she was on her period and was able to deceive Laban.

    6. However, Jacob did tell Laban about how unjustly he was treated for the 20 years he worked for him.

    7. So, Jacob and Laban made an agreement to be peaceable one with another.

      1. Remember, it is always the goal of all Christians to be at peace with all people as much as possible (Romans 12:18).

      2. Sometimes, we have to make compromises so that everyone wins to make peace!

      3. Always, try to find the avenue of peace with all people you know.

      4. God will be pleased with your efforts.

      5. Jacob and Laban are good examples of settling their differences without bloodshed or revenge of any nature!

  13. While Jacob was traveling, Esau and 400 men were coming out to meet him (Genesis 32:1-21; 33:1-18).

    1. Remember, this is the same brother in years past who wanted to kill Jacob for stealing his birth right and his blessing when their father was dying.

    2. As with anything we do during times of fear, Jacob prayed that he would not be harmed.

      1. Remember, we must pray about everything.

      2. When we are fearful, we must pray and God can make anything happen for us (Luke 1:37).

      3. Not only can God make anything happen for us, but He has designed prayed to call us down (Philippians 4:6-7).

      4. So, instead of worrying, pray about a situation as much as needed until you calm down and God restore peace within your mind.

      5. No problem is too big or too small for God to handle.

      6. He welcomes all of our prayers and requests no matter how big or insignificant they may seem (Proverbs 15:8)!

      7. Jacob also sent hundreds of animals to Esau as a peacemaking gift.

      8. Fortunately, we find a happy ending to this meeting.

      9. Instead of wanting to kill Jacob, Esau runs up, hugs, and kisses him!

        1. This shows us the forgiveness in the heart of Esau.

          1. This should also show us a thing or two about forgiveness.

          2. In the church, we are all brothers and sisters (John 1:12).

          3. Yes, there will be times when we have to forgive each other.

          4. All people in the church are imperfect and will make mistakes (1 John 1:7-10).

          5. However, we all must forgive each other (Matthew 6:14-15).

          6. It is easy to forgive other Christians when we realize that we are all a part of God’s family.

          7. Just like earthly families that love each other and come back to peace with each other because they are family, we are to do the same things as members of the church!

  14. Before moving on, there is one event that we have to mention and this is Jacob’s wrestling with an angel (Genesis 32:22-31).

    1. This event happened when Jacob was traveling back to Canaan land.

    2. The Bible says that this was an angel who was also God (Hosea 12:2-5) (“Wresting with God,” 2011).

    3. This shows us that this was no ordinary angel.

      1. Instead, this was one of those appearances of the Pre-incarnate Christ that we have studied in previous lessons (Ball, n.d.).

      2. In other words, in the Old Testament days, Jesus would occasionally come to earth to guide mankind hundreds of years before He was born in Bethlehem.

      3. So, Jacob actually wrestled with Jesus in the form of an angel!

      4. The two wrestled for hours during the night until the morning.

      5. The angel could not overpower Jacob.

        1. However, the angel touched Jacob’s hip and miraculously caused it to slip out of joint.

      6. Even with a dislocated hip, Jacob still held on to the angel.

        1. He told the angel that he was not going to let go until he received a blessing!

      7. The angel was impressed with the determination of Jacob.

        1. He then renamed Jacob.

        2. He gave him the name “Israel” instead.

          1. This name, Israel, would come to describe his children after him, which is the children of Israel or also known as the Jewish people.

        3. The angel was impressed with Jacob because he had struggled with God and mankind throughout his life and won!

        4. The Bible does not say what the blessing was, but it does say that the angel released the blessing to Jacob!

        5. What does this struggling teach us?

          1. It shows us that there is always a struggle when it comes to requesting a blessing from the Lord.

          2. We must struggle to keep believing that we will receive anything we ask for that is according to God’s Wills.

          3. God releases things in His own timing and not ours.

          4. This is evident from Jacob struggling with the angel all night until the morning when the angel released the blessing.

          5. So, to receive a blessing, we have to fight to keep believing that we will receive it despite what seems to be a delay.

          6. If we stop believing, then God will not grant our request (James 1:5-7).


We have learned a lot from the story of Jacob.  We learn from his example how endurance of hardship along with faithfulness to God leads to the blessings of God upon our lives.  Even more, we are encouraged by the fact that God can still use imperfect people just like He continued to be with Jacob despite Jacob’s faults.  Stick to the Lord in continued faith and obedience and you will see a difference your life as well!




Ball, K. (n.d.).  Christ and the angel of the Lord.  Retrieved


Burton Coffman, J. (n.d.). Burton Coffman commentary

on the whole Bible. Retrieved December 7, 2012, from


Wrestling with God. (2011). Retrieved December 15, 2012, from

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