April 28–29 Three Encounters

Apr 28-29 Three Encounters

Welcome to week four of our sermon series called Finding Hope in Family Conflict. This week our conversation revolves around how family conflict can help us see, know and trust God in a way we have never before. We see God working in, through and around a series of conflicts that almost breaks Jacob.


Building healthy and life-giving relationships.


What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.

Share Part of Your Story

As a kid, what was your favorite thing to do outside?


What are some things you have prayed about so far this year as a group that God has answered?


Taking next steps toward Christ together.

Have someone retell the three encounters in Genesis 31-33. Who are the main characters in each of the encounters? Where is the setting? What are the big issues? What stands out to you as interesting?

The Embittered Father-in-Law

Who is Laban and what’s Jacob’s history with him?

God delivers Jacob a specific message. What does God tell Jacob in Genesis 31:3? How is this similar to the message God gave to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham in Genesis 12?

God tells Jacob,”It’s time for a move.” It is an opportunity for Jacob to trust God just like his grandfather Abraham trusted God. How is movement, whether a physical act or an attitudinal shift, an opportunity to trust God?

Jacob could’ve come up with some reasons for not moving, but instead he obeys. Throughout the Bible, God often tells people, “It’s time for a move.” What are some reasons it is hard or scary for us to make moves, whether physically or in our heart?

Jacob trusts God and moves. What are some ways God asks people to move today (either a physical move or a changed attitude)? What is an area you think God is saying to you “It’s time for a move?”

When Laban confronts Jacob, Jacob says, “If God hadn’t been with me…” Where can you look back on your life and say, “If God hadn’t been with me…”

The Homicidal Brother

Jacob is headed back to his homeland and knows his brother is waiting for him. What report does Jacob get about Esau and the people coming with him? What emotions do you think Jacob is feeling?

Jacob responds with prayer. Have someone read Genesis 32:9-12 aloud. What are some of the elements of Jacob’s prayer?

God had promised Jacob he would bless him. Jacob holds onto that promise. What are some of the promises of God that we can hold onto? Is there one that really resonates with you?

The Pursuing God

God meets Jacob and they wrestle. Jacob comes away with a limp, a blessing and a new name. What do you think could be the significance of those three things?

Jacob had struggled with his brother and with his father-in-law. But, it seems his struggles had really been with God. As he learns to see, know and trust God, God gives him a new name—a new identity. What new identity has God given you?

Jacob had to admit his name was conniver or deceiver before he got his new identity. What do you think is the significance of this? How does admitting something is a problem help us partner with God to overcome it?

Have someone read Genesis 12:6-7 and Genesis 33:18-20. How are the two connected?

Jacob builds an altar and calls it El Elohe Israel, which means God, the God of Israel. What is Jacob saying? When Jacob stole the blessing, how did he refer to God (Genesis 27:20)? What shift has happened now?

Do you feel like many of the people around us view God as Jacob did in Genesis 27 or as he does in Genesis 33? Do you think you are closer to Jacob in Genesis 27:20 or Genesis 33:20?

This week’s conversation was about three encounters Jacob experienced. Through the three encounters, we see how God worked to draw Jacob closer to him. Jacob trusts God. What’s one step you can take this week to see, know and trust God more in a difficult situation in your life?


Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.


A small group can be a great place to encourage service both as a group and individually. God has created us with unique gifts and talents we can use for him. As a group, discuss some of the ways God has gifted you and where you can each use those gifts and talents for him.

Download a printable PDF here.