It is vital that we spend time in God’s Word.
But it’s not always easy.
We read a chapter and we don’t know what to get out of it or even how to start to understand it.
I thought I could try to help you get a little something out of what you are reading by providing you with some questions to ask as you look at the text. Good questions are a good start to understanding. Sometimes there will be more questions, sometimes less.
You can do this!
So, get a notebook, a pen, your Bible, and if you would like some help, take some time to answer the questions, and you may be surprised by all God teaches you.
- God tells Jacob to go to Bethel in verse 1. Why does this verse say Jacob had gone there before?
- In spite of his failures and his family’s sin, God had not abandoned Jacob but was still acting to protect him.
- Jacob takes action finally, and tells his family to do what? Why does the fact that he has to do this so sad?
- How does he describe God in verse 4?
- How do the cities feel about Jacob as Jacob and his family journey to Bethel? Think about the chapter before this one, why do you think they felt this way?
- At Bethele, God appears to Jacob and he does what? Now, he’s already said this to Jacob in Genesis 32:28. So often God has to repeat himself as he’s working with us. Why do you think that is?
- This is all grace. Think about what Jacob’s sons had just done, think about all Jacob’s lying, think about his passivity as a father, and yet God is going to be faithful to His promises. In verse 11, what does he say will come from Jacob? This is key. The promise keeps expanding. God will be them. Nations will come from them. They will receive the land. And there will be kings!
- From Bethel, they journey on and what happens to Rachel?
- What terrible thing does Reuben do at this point? This is important to know as it will come up later, and because of the question, we have as we finish this chapter.
- The chapter ends with a listing of Jacob/Israel’s sons. This is important, because we are wondering at this point, who specifically will be the one through whom the Promised Seed comes? With Abraham who had two sons, it was clear it was not Ishmael but Isaac. With Jacob who has twelve sons, we are still wondering, who is going to be the chosen one? Knowing what we know about Jacob’s first born, Reuben, we have some good reason to think it will not be him. But if not him, then who?