NBC Sunday School Manual For September 18, 2022 :Topic – Jacob Called Israel
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NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
Sunday, September 18, 2022
TOPIC: JACOB CALLED ISRAEL
Devotional Reading: Romans 11:25-32
Background/Lesson Scripture: Genesis 32:22-32
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome. Genesis 32:28
Objectives: By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
i. Narrate Jacob’s encounter with God and the lesson it teaches.
ii. Explain why the descendants of Israel do not eat the muscle on the hip joint.
iii. Present their daily struggles of life before God trusting that He will give them victory.
Some people often ask the significance of names and what makes good names. While some people attach importance to the names they give to their children, others assume that names are simply appellations, titles and means of identification. But Africans attach more importance to the names they bear or give to their children. In some cases, such names are determined by the circumstances that surround the birth of children. Biblical accounts also show that name giving is attached to meaning and circumstances. For instance, Joseph named his first-born son Manasseh which means ‘God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household’ (Genesis 41:51). He called the second son Ephraim with the interpretation that ‘God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering (Genesis 41:52). However, some people have had reasons to change their names as a result of change of faith or negative implications such names had on them. There are a few examples in the Bible of people who had their names changed by God and other individuals. It was generally done to establish a new identity that God wished them to embody. For example:
▪︎God changed Abram’s name to Abraham (Genesis 17:5).
▪︎God changed Sarai to Sarah (Genesis 17:15).
▪︎Jesus changed Simon to Cephas, which means Peter (John 1:42).
▪︎Pharaoh changed Joseph to ZaphenathPaneah (Genesis 41:45).
▪︎ Daniel had his name changed to Belshazzar by King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:7).
▪︎God changed the name of Jacob, after wrestling with him throughout the night to Israel. The name Jacob means a cheater or a deceiver; and Israel means God’s people.
The focus of today’s lesson is the story of Jacob’s reconciliation with Esau his brother. In the process, he had traumatic encounter with God and his name was changed to Israel. It was an experience that resulted to a new relationship with God before he eventually met and reconciled with his brother, Jacob.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. Jacob’s Encounter with God. Genesis 32:22-26
After being a fugitive for sometime, Jacob finally prepared to meet his brother Esau for reconciliation. The news that Esau was coming with speed and force caused Jacob to be fearful. He was overwhelmed with the guilt of usurping his brother. Quickly, he sent messengers ahead with gifts to his brother in order to pacify him for the wrong done to him (Genesis 32:20). He took his family members, two maidservants and all his possessions across the Jabbok that night. He was at the camp alone when suddenly a man came and wrestled with him till daybreak. The struggle was fierce such that the man touched the hollow of his thigh and it dislocated. The man desired to leave because the sun has risen, Jacob resisted him. Rather, he said to him, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” This statement suggests two things about Jacob: (1) His persistent struggle with the man lasted the whole night. (2) He recognised the man as a heavenly being probably sent by God hence he demanded for his blessing before he returned.
Whenever we have an encounter with God, new things are bound to happen. Without doubt, Jacob’s encounter with the man suggests God’s presence with him even though he was not immediately conscious of it. The experience made him broken; he became a new man with a new name and a new relationship with God. Jacob’s response to the unusual visitation is amazing. He built a memorial altar to the God of Israel. Christians should be reminded that irrespective of the situations and circumstances surrounding us, God’s presence is constantly with us and so, we will always prevail. We should daily lay our struggles before God, trusting in His wisdom and power to give us victory over the challenges of life.
1. Why did the man dislocate Jacob’s joints?
2. Discuss what gave strength to Jacob to persevere in the struggle for so long a time.
B. Jacob’s Name Changed Genesis 32:27-32
The dialogue between Jacob and the man whom he wrestled with in the passage is quite interesting. He tenaciously held on to the man and refused to let him go having struck him on his hip. The man asked him, What is your name? Of course, his answer was quick and concise. ‘Jacob’, he said. In response, the man changed his name and said to him, Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have wrestled with God and with men and have overcome. The new name Israel is a Hebrew word meaning”He struggles with God” or “God struggles.” Though Jacob wished to know the name of the man with whom he had struggled, his request was not granted but he blessed him. So, Jacob called the name of the place ‘Peniel’ which means I saw God face to face, and yet, my life was spared. As Jacob passed through Peniel, he began to limp as a result of his disjointed hip. The experience Jacob had with the angelic being was a ‘benchmark’ in his life. It shows that no one can wrestle with God and conquer. Till this day, the descendants of Israel forbid the eating of the muscle on the hip because Jacob was struck there (v.32). The man refused to tell Jacob his name because a messenger’s identity was considered very important but a fulfilled prophesy was a sign of the authenticity of a prophet or messenger Judges 13:17). The names we bear have both positive and negative implications in our lives. Some names are derived from idols, demonic powers, some powerful individuals whose lifestyle do not glorify God. Christians should always allow the Holy Spirit to guide them in the names they give to their children because the names we bear are capable of influencing our lives positively or negatively. and
1. Discuss the extent to which the family names some people bear affect their achievements in life.
2. The name of a child is the caution of his/her attitudes. How true is this saying?
Commitment: Make a commitment to always present your daily challenges to God in prayers.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity
Let class members form pairs, share their struggles with each other and pray for each other.
1. Pray that you will have a peculiar encounter with God this week.
2. Lord, change everything in me that is hitherto not giving glory to You.
State at least three main lessons you are taking home based on today’s lesson