Lesson 31: Jacob Meets an Angel and Receives a New Name
Soon after Laban left Jacob and his family Jacob was met by the angels of God. Jacob was very glad to see the angels of God because it comforted him to know that God was protecting him by the angels. Do you remember that once before Jacob saw the angels of God in a dream? This time Jacob was awake and saw them. But whether we can see God's angels or not, we are told in the Bible that God's angels are always near us to guide us and watch over us, if we love God.
Now as Jacob got nearer to his home he became worried, or afraid. Jacob was afraid that Esau, his brother, might still be angry with him. We remember Esau was angry with Jacob many years before. Jacob spoke to several of his servants and told them to go ahead of the others to the country of Edom and speak to Esau. They were to tell Esau that Jacob had returned with all his family. Jacob wanted the servants to find out if Esau was still angry or not. Jacob's servants did as they were told but soon they returned and told Jacob that Esau was already on his way to meet Jacob. Esau also had four hundred men with him. This news made Jacob more afraid. Jacob thought that Esau might be coming to hurt them. Jacob divided his people into two groups. Jacob thought that if Esau should try to harm the first group that the other group could escape. This was not all that Jacod did. No, the best thing Jacob did was to pray to God. Jacob had learned that he must always depend on God. He must guide him. Jacob knew that God had blessed him but he knew that he could do nothing without God's help.
Jacob decided to send a large present of sheep and camels to Esau. He thought that perhaps a gift like this might make Esau more friendly. That night Jacob sent all of his servants and flocks and his wives and children across the river. Jacob was left alone. Then something very remarkable (unusual) happened to Jacob. That night when Jacob was alone an angel wrestled with Jacob. (Genesis 32:24-28) Jacob clung (held on to) the angel until the angel blessed Jacob. The angel told Jacob that his name would no longer be Jacob, but his name would now be ISRAEL, which means Prince With God.
- Are God's angels ever near us?
- Who was Jacob afraid of?
- Why did Jacob send several of his servants ahead to see Esau?
- When Jacob's servants returned what did they tell Jacob?
- Why did Jacob divide the people into two groups?
- What was the best thing that Jacob did at this time?
- What did Jacob decide to send to Esau?
- When Jacob was alone what unusual thing happened?
- What was Jacob's name changed to?
- What does the name Israel mean?