Lesson: God’s Promise to Jacob (Genesis 28)

God's promise to Jacob Bible Lesson

This children’s Bible lesson will help kids understand the promises of God. Specifically, it deals with the promise that the LORD makes to Jacob in Genesis 28. After this lesson, children will be challenged to respond to all of God’s promises by trusting in Him.

This lesson is ideal for a lower elementary Sunday School class, but could be used in children’s church or other ministry settings.

Bible Story: Jacob Had a Dream
Bible Reference: Genesis 28:10-22
Target Age Group: K4-3rd
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 45 minutes
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Memory Verse: There above it stood the Lord and He said: ‘I am the Lord, the God of you Father Abraham and the God of Isaac.  I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.’”  Genesis 28:13

Gospel Connection: Previously, God made a promise to Abraham that he would be the Father of a great nation.  Now, God is reminding Jacob, a descendant of Abraham, that this will happen.  God is faithful to fulfill His promises and is reminding Jacob of that.  Also, we can learn from Jacob’s response to his dream, which was to worship God.

Learning Aim: Children will learn that God made a promise to Jacob and that he is faithful to keep His promises.  Children will learn the appropriate way to respond to God.

Target Age: K4-3rd

Basic Supply List:

  1. Q-tips
  2. Construction Paper
  3. Markers/crayons
  4. Glue
  5. Newspaper

Note: In the teaching plan below the words in italics are meant to be read aloud. The regular text is simply directions for the teacher.

> > > > Basic Teaching Plan < < < <

Open the Lesson:  Welcome the children and get them interested in the lesson by playing the game sleepy bears.  To play this game have all children lay down on the floor while the teacher sings, Sleepy bears, Oh sleepy bears are falling fast asleep, Sleepy bears, oh sleepy bears are falling fast asleep.  SHHHHH……. You must be very quiet because if you shake them you will wake them and they will start to dance.  At this point all the ‘sleeping bears’ will wake up and begin dancing.  The teacher says Dance bears, dance bears, dance bears DANCE! As the children dance.  Continue the game with sleepy crocodiles who snap, sleepy fish that swim, sleeping elephants who stomp and whatever else you think of.

When you are finished playing the game say, Today we had a lot of fun while we were pretending to sleep, but what do we do when we sleep for real? Allow children to respond until they guess dream.  At this point tell them that today we will be learning about dreams and a very special dream that a man named Jacob had.

Biblical Evidence: First let’s take a look at Genesis chapter 28:10-22.  The teacher should read this passage from a children’s bible or in his/her own words.

Read verses 10-12.  Jacob was taking a journey through the wilderness when something amazing happened to him.  He laid down to sleep and had a dream, just like many of you have had dreams before but this was a special dream.  Jacob dreamed that he saw a ladder reaching from the Earth all the up to Heaven.  He saw Angels going up and down the ladder.  How would you feel if you had a dream like this?

Read verse 13.  God made a promise to Jacob.  The first promise that He made was that Jacob and his children would someday own the land that he was sleeping on. 

Read verse 14:  God promised that Jacob’s seed will be like the dust of the Earth, that is like saying that Jacob will have many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  There will be as many people in Jacob’s family as there are stars in the sky.

Read verse 15:  The third and final promise that God made to Jacob was that He would be with Joseph wherever he goes.  Isn’t that cool?  God is with wherever we go as well. 

Read verses 16-17:  When Jacob woke up from his dream he realized that he didn’t just have a regular dream, but that God really did speak to him.  He was so excited to find out that God spoke to him in his dream!  How would you feel if God spoke to you in a dream?

Read verses 18-19: When Jacob woke up the next morning he wanted to do something special that would show God has happy he was because of the promises that God made to him.  Jacob said thank you by making a pillar, or statue, out of the stone that he used as a pillow that night and poured precious oil on it. 

Read verses 20-22: Jacob left the place where he was sleeping and his newly built pillar but he knew that he would come back to this place someday and that God would be with him wherever he went.  He thanked God be promising to give God a tenth of everything that he had. 

Three Promises: Remind the children that God made three promises to Jacob.  Have the children act out each promise as a way to help them remember the three promises.  The teacher will say ‘promise 1’and the children will do the action.

Promise 1 (God said that he will give Jacob the land that he is sleeping on): Have the children and act like they are scooping up a handful of dirt and then hug it to their chest.

Promise 2 (That Jacob’s descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the Earth): Children will move their hands from their chests to above their heads, like they are throwing dust from their hands.

Promise 3 (That God will not leave Jacob):  Children will drop their hand and grab the hand of a friend.

Repeat the promises several times until the children tire of the activity.

Building Jacob’s ladder:  Give each child a piece of construction paper with the words, ‘God makes a promise to Jacob,’ written or typed at the top of the page.  Give the children a handful of Q-tips and allow them to dip the Q-tips in glue and then stick them to the construction paper in the formation of a ladder.  Make sure the Q-tips dry before they take their picture home.

Building a Pillar: Say, After Jacob woke up, he responded to God by thanking him. One of the ways that he thanked God was by building a pillar to honor God.  Let’s build our own pillar to help us remember to thank God for his faithfulness.  Crinkle up pieces of newspaper to make stones.  Give them to the kids and let them build with the paper.

Closing the lesson:  Have the children sit down and use the following questions to review the lesson.  Ask, where did Jacob lay down to rest? He laid on the group with a stone as a pillar. What did he dream of?  He dreamed that there was a ladder stretching from the Earth to the Heavens with angels on it and God at the top of the ladder speaking to him.  God made 3 promises to Jacob as he was sleeping.  What three promises did God make to Jacob? God promised Jacob that he would return to the land where he slept, that his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the Earth, and that he would stay with Jacob wherever he went.  How did Jacob respond to God’s faithfulness? Jacob showed that he was thankful by building a pillar to the Lord and pouring oil over it and promising to give a tenth of everything he was given to the Lord.

Closing Prayer: Say, Lord we are thankful that you revealed yourself to Jacob and that you are faithful and kept the promises that you made.  Thank you Lord. Amen.