Week 3: Isaac & Jacob

Progress After This Week

Reading & Summaries

READ: GENESIS 25:12-27:46

Isaac and Rebekah have twin boys: Esau and Jacob. Esau foolishly sells his birthright. God renews the covenant with Isaac. Isaac follows the example of his father and lies about his wife. Jacob deceived his father Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau.

Two Nations, One Chosen: Esau goes on to be the father of the nation of Edom. Jacob goes on to have twelve sons, who become the twelve tribes of Israel; Judah, one of the twelve sons, is the father of the Jews. Judah’s descendants include King David and Jesus. Most of the Old Testament is about God’s chosen people through Jacob. Romans 9 says that God chose Jacob and not Esau “in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls” (Ro. 9:11). God chose a people apart from their works so that he would receive all the glory for freely blessing them; in his sovereign wisdom, he chose for this people to come first through Abraham, then Isaac, and then Jacob.


Jacob is sent away to find a wife, but Esau marries two Canaanite women to spite his father. For the first time, God appears to Jacob and reaffirms the covenant with him. Jacob marries Leah and Rachel; they have children.


God causes Jacob to prosper. Jacob flees Laban.


On the night before he will confront his brother Esau, who he fears, Jacob wrestles with God. His name is changed to Israel. Jacob meets his brother in peace and makes an altar to God.

Wrestling With God: This mysterious event marks a significant change in Jacob’s life and relationship with God. Hosea explains, “He strove with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought his favor” (Hosea 12:4). Today, we must still wrestle with God in prayer, weeping, and seeking God’s favor. For God to use us, our stubborn will must be broken, and we must rise with a humble “limp.”


Jacob’s daughter Dinah is forcibly raped (a warning about intermingling with the wicked people of the land); her brothers Levi and Simeon take revenge. Jacob cleanses his household from idols and everything associated with the world and sin; God blesses Jacob and affirms that His name should be called Israel; Jacob worships God. Rachel and Isaac die and are buried. Esau’s descendants are listed (skim this portion).

Study Exercises

When exercises require a written response, record your answers in a journal or email them to a pastor or class leader who will provide you with feedback.

  1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?
  2. The name “Jacob” means “deceiver.” What are two instances in which Jacob lived up to his name?
  3. Isaac followed his father’s example of lying. Look up Ephesians 6:4 and Proverbs 22:6. How does it affect you to know that others (especially your children or future children, if any) are likely to follow your example?
  4. Read Romans 9:1-18. Why did God choose Jacob and not Esau, even “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad” (Ro. 9:11)?
  5. What does Hebrews 12:14-17 say about Esau? What can we learn from his example?
  6. In Genesis 26:3-5 and 26:24, the LORD reaffirms the Abrahamic covenant to Isaac. Highlight these verses in BLUE. (BLUE represents insights about God; these verses show us that God keeps his promises.)
  7. In Genesis 27:13-15, the LORD reaffirms the Abrahamic covenant to Jacob. Highlight these verses in BLUE.
  8. Read “A Genuine Encounter with God: The Answer to our Cosmic Loneliness.” Jacob had a godly father and grandfather, but his life was full of deception and selfishness until he had a personal encounter with God. Why is it crucial for us to experience God for ourselves?
  9. The rape of Dinah is an example of the wickedness of man’s heart since The Fall. In what ways does our culture pervert sexuality and take advantage of women?
  10. To worship God properly, Jacob had to purify his family from all their sinful associations with the world (Gen. 35:2). What is worldliness compared to in James 4:4? What are some things you might need to get rid of because they are closely tied to the world or present a temptation to you?
  11. Writing Assignment — Write a few paragraphs about the wisdom of God’s word concerning marriage. What does this week’s reading teach us about the importance of choosing a Christian spouse? Consider the marriages of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Esau. What is the basis on which 2 Corinthians 6:14 forbids Christians to marry non-Christians? What does 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 teach us about someone who is already married to a non-Christian? How does Ephesians 5:22-33 help us to understand the sacredness of marriage?