Jacob's Ladder Bible Studies

Part Three: Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study on Genesis 32

Why being defeated by God can lead to His blessings

Part Three – Studying God’s Word

Welcome to the third and last section of our Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study on Genesis 32 “Why being defeated by God can lead to His blessings”. 

In Part One, which we posted on Monday, we joined Jacob on his journey back to his homeland of Canaan. 20 years previously, Jacob had sought asylum with his uncle Laban, in order to escape the wrath of twin brother Esau, from whom he had stolen the latter’s birthright.  

On the eve of his reunification with his brother, Jacob wrestles with an angel, who is in fact God.  It is in the throes of combat that God breaks Jacob of his self-dependence and craftiness. Only when Jacob finally concedes defeat that God blesses Jacob with a new identity as well as a new name – Israel. 

In Part Two, which we posted on Wednesday, we explored the ways that we can apply our understanding of Genesis 32 to our everyday lives. 

Part Three of our Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study is intended as a study guide for those of you who would like to delve deeper into the biblical and life themes presented in Genesis 32. 

If you would like to know more about the benefits of studying the Bible, then l recommend that you read our page “Why study the Bible?” 

The aim of this study section

This study section of our Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study series is intended as a guide to promote discussion and reflection on Genesis 32.  

As a start, I suggest that you read Part One and Part Two of the Bible Study on Genesis 32 that l posted this week, in order to fully appreciate the lesson portrayed in this biblical account and to consider the chapter’s themes.  

Photo credit:  Ben White on Unsplash

For whom is this study section intended?

You can apply this section within a group setting, such as a house group, a Bible Study group, or a prayer group. 

Alternatively, you can also study on your own. If this may be the case, l have written some suggestions below in the section “If you are studying on your own” to assist you in your learning.  

I encourage you to customize this study preparation by taking out of it what you wish and adding your own ideas and insight. Have fun with it! 

What you will need:

  • A Bible, preferable a study Bible. I personally use the  “The Everyday Life Bible” from Joyce Meyer Ministries 
  • An exercise book or journal and a pen 
  • As an alternative to pen and paper, you could use a tablet or a similiar electronic device 

This study section composes of five parts: 

1. Discussion questions 

2. Testimony 

3. Suggested reading  

4. Journal writing 

5. Prayer 

These are just guidelines to help you structure your group time. Feel free to add or take out elements as you see fit!

Additionally, talk with your group and ask them for suggestions about what they would like to do. The more ideas, the merrier! 

If you are studying on your own 

If you are not in a group and you would still like to apply this study section of Genesis 32 to your own private study of the Bible, that is also great! Quiet time with God is valuable time, and you can learn a lot about Him during it.  

The following are a few suggestions of how you can adapt the 5 sections of this study guide for private study purposes: 

  1. Discussion questions: 

You could start a journal and write down your thoughts to the listed discussion questions.  

  1. Testimony 

You could use our suggested topics in the Testimony section as stimulation to write down all the wonderful things God has done in your life by starting a testimony journal or a blessings jar

 3. Suggested reading  

Applicable in a group setting as well as for private study purposes. 

4. Journal writing 

Applicable in a group setting as well as for private study purposes. 

5.Prayer 

You can speak the prayer at the end of this section over yourself. Your words have power, especially if you speak them over yourself: 

“ So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; 
    it shall not return to me empty, 
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, 
    and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” 

Isaiah 55:11 

Let’s look at the 5 sections of our study guide. 

1.Discussions questions

The following are some discussion topics l have thought of to assist you in delving deeper into the themes of Genesis 32. There is no right or wrong answer; these topics are merely suggestions to stimulate conversation and an exchange of views within your group. Also, feel free to ask others if they have themes regarding this topic that they would like to discuss and go with it! 

As each person experiences a different walk with God, it is interesting to hear other people’s perspectives and thereby learn from each other and grow together as a Christian community. Happy talking! 

Possible discussion topics on Genesis 32

  1. Have you experienced a situation in your life where you tried to fix it yourself, yet only made it worse? Did you finally ask God for help? How did His intervention make your situation easier? 
  1. Are there areas in your life that aren’t serving you, such as fear, pride, or unforgiveness that you are finding difficult to let go of? Why do you think you are holding on to them (e.g. fear of change, conflict aversion). 

Note: This might a be sensitive topic for people to address, so introduce it into a group situation at your discretion. 

Photo credit: mentatdgt from Pexels

2.Testimony

Sharing your life experiences and the victories that God has vouchsafed you, is a verbal expression of your gratitude. It gives not only our Father glory, but it encourages fellow Christians who may be going through the same trial that you have undergone.  

 I will declare your name to my people; 
    in the assembly I will praise you.” 

Psalm 22:22  

Jacob’s testimony after his struggle with God was the acquirement of a new identity and a new name – Israel. With God by His side, Jacob could embrace a happy reunification with his brother (Genesis 33).  

Possible testimony topics on Genesis 32

  1. Do you have a testimony of how God wrestled you free of something that you were holding onto, like a poor mindset, a toxic relationship, or even an addiction? How has He blessed you since?  
  1. Have you learned to lean more and more on God in your life? How has your quality of life improved by relinquishing your self-dependence and instead, putting your trust and reliance in God’s hands? 
  1. Share a testimony with your group of a blessing that God has given you this week. 

Photo credit:  Jason Hogan on Unsplash

3. Suggested reading

Reading the Word of God teaches us about how much God loves us and gives us guidelines on how to live the life He wants us to live – a life of victory and joy.

Scriptures: 

Bible chapters about God blessing broken people 

  • Job 42 – God blessed Job twofold for what he had lost  
  • Acts 2 – Peter, who had renounced Jesus three times, was baptized in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and preached to the crowd, which commenced the movement of Christianity 
  • 2 Samuel 7 – After about 15 years of exile and persecution, God made David King of a united Israel and blessed him, his kingdom, and his progeny with love, rest from their enemies, and prosperity. 

Interesting online articles relating to Genesis 32: 

Crosswalk.com, “How wrestling with God will change you forever,” Dena Johnson Martin. 

Desiring God, “Will you wrestle with God?” Jon Bloom 

Inspirational quotes relating to Genesis 32: 

“God is not looking for brilliant men, is not depending upon eloquent men, is not shut up to the use of talented men in sending His Gospel out in the world. God is looking for the broken men who have judged themselves in the light of the Cross of Christ. When He wants anything done, He takes up men who have come to the end of themselves, whose confidence is not in themselves, but in God!” – H.A. Ironside 

“Whenever God means to make a man great, He always breaks him in pieces first.” – Charles Spurgeon 

“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.” Vance Havner 

Photo credit:  Bethany Laird on Unsplash

4. Journal writing

Writing down all the good things that God has done in your life is a very powerful tool for a Christian. Not only does it help us to remember what God has done for us; reading over God’s past victories and blessings over you provides encouragement and empowerment in times of trouble. All you need to start is an empty exercise book and a pen. Alternatively, you can keep a digital journal. 

There are a number of forms of journals, where regular writing in it will strengthen you in your walk with God: 

  •  A testimony journal 
  •  A dreams and visions journal 
  •  A blessings journal 
  •  My favourite –  a gratitude journal 

Try to write optimally once a day. All you need is 5-10 min to jot down everything good that has happened to you during the course of your day, no matter how trivial.  

Meditate upon what you wrote and acknowledge that it is God who was responsible for these good things happening today, and not you or your own works.  

 ‘”Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.’ 

Zechariah 4:6 (NIV) 

Journaling in your group: 

You can e.g. allot 10-15min for journaling in your group, and afterwards share your written thoughts with each other. 

An alternate suggestion is to incorporate journal writing as part of your quiet time with God, then discuss your results when you meet as a group. 

Journaling on the Bible Chapter Genesis 32

  1. Are there mindsets, people, or situations that you need to separate yourself from, but you can’t seem to do it? Write them all down in your journal, and pray for God to break you free of these things that are holding you back. 
  1. Write down in your journal three great ways that God has blessed you this week. 

As an extension, consider starting a gratitude journal, where you write down the great things God is doing in your life every day. I personally love using the Five Minute Journal from Intelligent Change.  

Photo credit:  Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

5.Prayer 

If you wish, you can read the following prayer aloud as a group, or one person can read it aloud on behalf of the others.  

Prayer: 

Sovereign Lord, thank you that we can come before You today with our imperfections and weakness and lay them before You at the Cross.  

Please expose the thoughts and purposes of our hearts to us.  Give us the humility to hand those things over to You which aren’t serving us in order that You can create a clean heart in us and renew a right spirit within us.  

For only then when our spirits are contrite and our entire being is reliant on You, can we walk in the fulfillment of Your wonderful purpose for our lives.  

Thank You Lord that Your ways are always good, for You are a good Father who will never fail us, nor forsake us.  

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen 

Photo credit:  Ben White on Unsplash

We hope that you enjoyed our first Bible study on Genesis 32 in our series Jacob’s Ladder Bible Studies

In July, we will be studying  Ephesians 1. We would love for you to join us! 

Until then, my friends, be safe and may God’s love and blessings be upon you! 

Madeline

Sources:

  1. Bible.org , “Lesson 59: Broken, But Blessed (Genesis 32:22-32).”
  2. Blue Letter Bible, “Study Guide for Genesis 32.”
  3. StudyLight.org, “Spurgeon’s Verse Expositions of the Bible – Genesis 32.”

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