Jacob and Rachel – Genesis 29 - 31
Do you know what it feels like to be the Unloved One, the Rejected One, the One Who Doesn’t Measure Up? Leah did. Her father apparently didn’t think she had enough merits of her own to attract a husband, so he tricked his nephew and soon-to-be son-in-law into marrying her instead of her younger sister. I imagine Leah never forgot the look of surprise and horror on Jacob’s face when he realized he had married Leah instead of the one he really loved - Rachel.
Leah spent most of her adult life trying to win over her husband, trying to get him to love her, too. But God never meant for marital love to be shared, and Jacob never loved Leah like he did Rachel. What a wretched life Leah must have led! But God saw her misery, and He chose Leah, not Rachel, to be the one from whom the King of kings would come.
God’s promise to bless the entire world came true through Leah and her fourth son, Judah. God sees us our misery, our fears, our tears, our heartache, and none of it is wasted with HIm. Our God can bring good out of hardship and pain!
1. REVIEW THE STORY
- • Activity – Broken Heart Art – give child a paper heart. Let kids tear hearts in half, glue them onto paper, and decorate their pages. Tell kids this art can remind them that when their hearts (or others’) are broken, God can put the pieces back together and bring good from anything. As kids work, discuss the story (below).
2. DISCUSS THE STORY (some possible answers in italics)
- • What did you like about this passage?
- • What didn’t you like about this passage?
- • What do you learn about God from this passage?
- God always keeps His promises. He faithfully cared for Jacob; He was with him, watched over him, gave him food to eat and clothes to wear, and brought him back home. (See Gen. 28:20-22).
- God sees when our hearts are broken, and He cares.
- God can bring good from the worst of situations.
- God has good plans for His people, even those who fail Him, even those who are sinners, even those who are imperfect.
- God works especially in situations where people praise Him in the midst of their pain.
- God works through families - even dysfunctional ones.
- • What do you learn about people from this passage?
- People are often mean and hurtful to one another. (Perhaps Laban had good intentions for Leah when he passed her off as Jacob’s bride, but he wreaked incredible havoc on both daughters, Jacob and their children).
- People can learn to praise God in the middle of very difficult circumstances. (Notice that as Leah names her first 3 sons, she observes with Reuben, “the Lord has seen my misery;” with Simeon, “I am not loved;” and with Levi, “at last my husband is attached to me.” All these names reflect her agony and loneliness. BUT when Judah is born, she notes, “This time I will praise the Lord!”)
- Sometimes people cannot be trusted.
- • What do you learn about yourself from this story?
- God loves me - even when I sin; even when I disappoint; even when my family is a mess.
- God can use me in the midst of my mess to bring glory to Himself.
- God’s plans for me will prevail.
- All blessings in my life are from God.