Welcome to 2017! We’re starting off the new year by teaching kids that God has a perfect plan to save his creation. Take a look at what we’ll be learning this month!
Big Picture Question: What can stop God’s plan? Nothing can stop God’s perfect plan.
Key Passage: “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.” (Genesis 26:24)
The Stolen Blessing • Genesis 25:27-34; 27:1-45 | Jacob stole Esau’s blessing.
God told Rebekah while she was pregnant that her older son (Esau) would serve her younger son (Jacob). This was unheard of! Typically, upon the death of his father, the older brother would receive for his birthright twice as much property and goods as the younger. But Esau gave it to Jacob for a hot bowl of stew. Later, Jacob wore his brother’s clothes and lied to his father to receive a special blessing Isaac meant to bestow on Esau, which made Jacob master over Esau—just as God had said. This story points forward to Jesus—Jesus is the firstborn over all creation (Col. 1:15), and He deserves all the privileges afforded to Him. But when Jesus hung on the cross, He gave up His blessing for us. Jesus took the punishment we deserve so that the Father would give us the blessing Jesus deserves.
Jacob’s New Name • Genesis 32–33 | God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, the name of God’s covenant people.
After Jacob ran away from Esau, he lived with his uncle Laban for many years. God kept His promise to bless Jacob with a large family and riches, but now God said it was time for Jacob to return home. Jacob was uncertain because the last time he had seen Esau, Esau wanted to kill Jacob. So Jacob prepared for the meeting with Esau; he strategically divided his family into separate groups and sent gifts ahead of them to appease Esau. That night, Jacob anxiously awaited word from Esau. He then encountered the Lord and wrestled with him. Jacob didn’t win by strength, but by confessing his dependence on God’s blessing. Jacob knew his own strength wasn’t enough; he held onto God and would not let go. God graciously blessed Jacob and gave him a new name, Israel. From Jacob’s descendants—from the nation of Israel—God would bring into the world His Son, Jesus.
Joseph Sent to Egypt • Genesis 37:1-36; 39:1–41:57 | God used Joseph’s suffering for good.
When Jacob grew up, he had 12 sons, but his favorite son was Joseph. Jacob didn’t hide his favoritism and Joseph’s brothers were jealous. When Joseph told his brothers about the dream he had that they would one day bow down to him, they hated him so much they threw him into a pit with the intent to kill him. Then they figured they’d make a profit by selling him to people taking slaves to Egypt, where he was sold into Potiphar’s house. But God was with him—even when Potiphar’s wife had Joseph thrown into prison for something he didn’t do. God had a great plan that included raising Joseph into a position of power in Egypt. Remind your kids that nothing could stop God’s perfect plan to send Jesus through the family of Israel.
Joseph’s Dreams Came True • Genesis 42:1–46:34; 50:15-21 | God sent Joseph to Egypt to establish a remnant.
After Joseph became second-in-command of Egypt, the seven years of plenty had passed and the people were two years into a time of famine. Even Jacob’s family in Canaan needed food, so ten of Jacob’s sons went to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph was in charge of distributing the food and he recognized his brothers immediately, but they didn’t recognize him. Joseph put his brothers through a series of tests, accusing them of being spies and ordering them to return with their youngest brother, Benjamin. Finally, he revealed his identity, and they were terrified. Joseph was in position to exact revenge, but instead Joseph showed them grace. Joseph explained that even though his brothers intended harm, God intended his good. Joseph invited his family to come to Egypt where they could thrive—and they did! God kept His promise, and through the nation of Israel, He worked out His plan of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ.
What a wise and good God we have! For more about Sunday morning lessons and at-home conversations, check out the Big Picture Cards for Families and other resources from The Gospel Project Blog. Happy New Year!