Opening Prayer Led by Group Facilitator

Psalm 56

Pray the Psalm together aloud, alternating verses between two sides.  When finished, share reflections on the Psalm as a group

1  Have mercy on me, O God, for men trample upon me; all day long foes oppress me;

2  my enemies trample upon me all day long, for many fight against me proudly.

3  When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

4  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

5  All day long they seek to injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil.

6  They band themselves together, they lurk, they watch my steps.

7  As they have waited for my life, so recompense them for their crime; in wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

8  You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle! Are they not in your book?

9  Then my enemies will be turned back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.

10  In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise,

11  in God I trust without a fear. What can man do to me?

12  My vows to you I must perform, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.

13  For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

The Deaths of Rachel & Isaac

Genesis 35

1.       What is the significance of Bethel in Jacob’s past?  How does Jacob fulfill his past vows?  What are the exterior symbols of the change in gods?

2.       Upon Jacob’s obedience to God, there is a death in the community.  What relationship did Jacob have to Deborah?  How was her death commemorated?

3.       What elements of Jacob’s encounter with God (vv. 9-15) have already been recorded previously in Genesis?

4.       Rachel’s barrenness was healed with the birth of Joseph.  However, Rachel dies during the birth of Benjamin.  How does Jacob commemorate Rachel’s death?  How does a Patriarch respond to the death of his wife?  How does he honor her after her death?

5.       Rachel gives her son the name “Ben-o’ni” which means “Son of my sorrow”.  Despite Jacob’s love for Rachel, he instead names his son “Benajmin” meaning, “Son of the right hand.”  What is the Patriarchal significance of Jacob intervening in his son’s name?  When might a Patriarch today intervene and go against his wife’s wishes?

6.       How does Genesis describe the end of Isaac’s life?  What kind of transitions are there for a Patriarch when his father dies?

Prayer Partners

Discuss with your prayer partner the success/failure of your previous resolution & offer a vocal prayer for one another.