|Jacob and the Angel, Gustave Moreau|
Jacob's life had four stages, each marked by a personal encounter with God. In the first stage, Jacob lived up to his name, which means "he grasps the heel" (figuratively "he deceives")... In the second stage, Jacob experienced life from the other side, being manipulated and deceived by Laban. But there is a curious change: the Jacob of stage one would simply have left Laban, whereas the Jacob of stage two, after deciding to leave, waited six years for God's permission. In the third stage, Jacob was in a new role as grabber. This time, by the Jordan River, he grabbed on to God and wouldn't let go... Jacob's last stage of life was to be grabbed -- God achieved a firm hold on him. In responding to Joseph's invitation to come to Egypt, Jacob was clearly unwilling to make a move without God's approval.All material quoted is from the Life Application Study Bible. This series first ran in 2004 and 2005. I'm refreshing it as I go. For links to the whole study, go to the Genesis Index. For more about the resources used, go here.
Strengths and accomplishments:
Weaknesses and mistakes:
- Father of the twelve tribes of Israel
- Third in the Abrahamic line of God's plan
- Determined, willing to work long and hard for what he wanted
- Good businessman
Lessons from his life:
- When faced with conflict, relied on his own resources rather than going to God for help
- Tended to accumulate wealth for its own sake
- Security does not lie in the accumulation of goods
- All human intentions and actions -- for good or evil -- are woven by God into his ongoing plan
- Where: Canaan
- Occupation: Shepherd, livestock owner
- Relatives: Parents - Isaac and Rebekah. Brother - Esau. Father-in-law - Laban. Wives: Rachel and Leah. Twelve sons and one daughter are mentioned in the Bible.
"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" (Genesis 28:15).
Jacob's story is told in Genesis 25-50. He also is mentioned in Hosea 12:2-5; Matthew 1:2; 22:32; Acts 3:13; 7:46; Romans 9:11-13; 11:26; Hebrews 11:9, 20, 21.