Jacob Lesson 15 – Obedience is better than Sacrifice

(Read Genesis 33:11-20)

Discussion points

      1. Jacob insisted and saw to it that Esau accepted his elaborate gifts, it was a matter of custom that you didn’t accept a gift from an enemy, so Jacob wanted to make sure that Esau was not still at odds with him. He was really trusting the gifts to appease Esau instead of trusting God alone. (v.11).
      2. In good relationships, the individuals seek to assist one another. Esau expresses two desires for Jacob and his party. Esau offered to travel with Jacob and his family and also to give them an armed escort. (v12,15)
      3. Jacob was glad to be reconciled with his brother but didn’t want to be too close to him. It was clear that he was still afraid of Esau (v12-13).
      4. Jacob was right to refuse Esau’s offer but he was wrong in the way he went about it. He makes up an excuse about his children and flocks being too weak to travel at Esau’s pace(v14).
      5. Jacob declines the offer of some of the men that Esau had with him. He now relied more than ever on the protection of God who had ever proved himself a faithful and effectual guardian (v15).
      6. Jacob came safely to Succoth and Shechem, under God’s protection. But he failed to seek God’s direction, and wrongly settled where he shouldn’t.
      7. Jacob failed to carry on through in complete obedience. First, he stopped in Succoth. He built booths, he built shelters there for his flocks, and then he moved on a little bit further to Shechem. (v17-18)

      (God had appointed Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to live in the land, but in tents as sojourners. Here was a disobedient and unwise settling down.)

      1. Succoth was a backward step, spiritually as well as geographically”. It lies to the east of the Jordan River, thus outside the boundary of Canaan. Thus, Succoth represents incomplete obedience on Jacob’s part. (v17-18)

      (In Genesis 31:3, the Lord had told Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you)

      1. A center of worship was established for the true God of Israel. Though Jacob built an altar to the Lord, it was obedience God wanted first, not sacrifice. (v20)

      10. Jacob in raising the altar was recognizing this mighty God that protected him and blessed him throughout his journeys


God’s Protection is not his approval

    1. It is vital that Esau accept Jacob’s peace gifts to him. To accept them puts Esau under obligation to Jacob. Jacob was generous in giving and Esau was generous in forgiving. God had equally blessed them both, none of them was lacking. (Genesis 33:11) God is always generous in forgiving us when we make peace with him. (Psalm 66:18)
    2. Jacob has now come to realize that what he needed was God’s blessings and not any blessings he could manipulate on his own. It is only the blessing of God that enriches without adding any sorrow. (Proverbs 10:22)
    3. A person transformed by the grace of God will grow in their desire to bless others with the blessings God has given unto them . (2 Corinthians 9:8, 2 Corinthians 8:7))
    4. A broken relationship is difficult to heal in one encounter. Once again Jacob lied to Esau when he said that he would catch up with Esau’s tribe in Seir; but instead, he turned and went to another place – Succoth (Genesis 33:17)
    5. Jacob’s care and tender attention to his family and flocks remind us of the qualities of the good Shepherd (Isaiah 40:11).
    6. God’s protection is not God’s approval. As believers, though we enjoy God’s protection, we must constantly seek his direction. Jacob came safely to Succoth and Shechem, under God’s protection but he failed to seek God’s direction and wrongly settled where he shouldn’t. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
    7. As Christians we should always be careful of justifying partial obedience. Our little compromise becomes our flagrant disobedience to the commandments of God. God had not commanded Jacob to go to Shechem. Bethel rather than shechem was his appointed goal (1 Samuel 15:22).
    8. As Christians we should be alert to spiritual dangers, especially as it affects our families. Jacob’s choice of settling in Shechem as we would see later had tragic consequences on his family. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
    9. Believers need to recognize God’s blessings and honour him as the giver of every good gift. (James 1:17)
    10. God is fully capable of carrying out His promises despite our shortcomings. Jacob has many faults but he is committed to serving the lord. He does sets up a place of worship as soon as he enters shechem showing his commitment to make God the center of his home. It is also wise for us as believers to erect an Altar of worship and prayers in our homes. We must set aside time for devotions with our spouses and children. (Proverbs 22:6, Deut. 6:6-7, Genesis 18:19 and 2 Timothy 3:16)


  1. Father in heaven, please be gracious to us all in FA, and bless us with the blessings of heaven on earth.
  2. Lord, please do not let me end my journey on the way without fulfilling destiny.
  3. Father keep me and my family safe and protect us in all of our journeys in life. Let your peace be in our dwellings forever, Oh Lord.
  4. Father lead and guide me in the journey of life, do not allow me to make costly mistakes that cannot be rectified because of disobedience.
  5. O Lord take away every hindrance /obstacles causing me to be stagnated at a point in Jesus name.
  6. Every arrow of backwardness operating in my life, backfire today in Jesus name.
  7. O Lord, if I have been wrongly located, relocate me to the right place, that place where my blessings are waiting for me in the name of Jesus
  8. Father fill us daily with your divine wisdom needed to raise our children in your ways amidst this crooked and perverse generation.
  9. Father, help us to build living altars for you in our homes. Keep us burning for you always Lord.
  10. Lord please grant all our silent petitions in FA. Help us all to grow in spiritual stature and in grace. As from today, let every difficult problem brought to the Altar of FA receive your mighty touch for supernatural solutions, healings, deliverance and breakthrough IJN.

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