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5. Israel

Isaac had two sons. One was Esau. The other was Jacob. They were brothers. Esau was oldest. Jacob cheated him out of his rights. Esau wanted to kill Jacob. Jacob ran away. He went to visit his mother’s family.

Jacob stopped to rest on the way. He had to sleep outdoors. He lay on the rocks. He had a dream. He saw a ladder in the dream. The ladder went up to Heaven. Angels went up and down the ladder. God was at the top of the ladder. God spoke. He made the same promise to Jacob He made to Abraham.

Jacob had been bad. God did not have to love him. God chose to love him anyway. The ladder in the dream was special. It was a way to get to God. God meant He would make a way for bad people to know Him again. God gave bad Jacob another chance.

Jacob woke up in the morning. He remembered his dream. He knew God had spoken to him. He was afraid. He needed God to take care of him. He needed God to keep him safe. He needed God to bring him home one day. He made a promise. If God helped him, he would belong to God.

Jacob went on. He lived in a far country many years. He married. He had thirteen children. He went home to his father. Esau met him. They chose to be friends.

God spoke to Jacob again. God gave him a new name. The new name was Israel. Israel means prince with God.

Israel’s sons grew up. They stayed together and worked for Israel. They were sheep farmers. The family had trouble. Israel loved his son Joseph most. His other sons were jealous. They sold Joseph for a slave. They told their father a wild animal killed him.

Years went by. Israel missed Joseph. Joseph was a slave. He lived in Egypt. But God helped him. God told him what people’s dreams meant. God gave the king of Egypt a dream. God told Joseph what the dream meant. It meant there would not be enough food. There would not be enough food for seven years. God wanted the king to get food ready. The people could eat then.

The king said God made Joseph wise. He made Joseph the boss of Egypt. He was not a slave any more.

Joseph saved all the extra food. The time came when there was no food. Joseph sold the food he saved. The people could eat then.

Israel’s family came to buy food. Joseph told his brothers not to be afraid. He made them come live in Egypt. They brought their families. They brought Israel. Joseph and his father were happy to see each other.

Joseph said God sent him to Egypt. God did it to save the lives of his family. His family needed to live. They would be the family of the promised Son.

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