Sunday School Material 1-3-16: A Bride Worth Waiting For

(Genesis 29:15-30; 1/3/16)

Introduction:: A key idea of today’s Sunday School material is that Jacob worked a total of 14 years to have Rachel as his wife. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to trust God to see us through the twists and turns of our lives.

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Read Genesis 29:15-20

I. Contract Agreed. In our Sunday School material Jacob entered into an agreement with his uncle. Jacob agreed to work seven years, in exchange for being married to Rachel (i.e., Laban’s daughter and Jacob’s cousin). He loved Rachel so much that the seven years seemed like only a few days.

Applications –

- Description vs. prescription. Notice that this entire passage describes “what was,” instead prescribe what “should have been.” In other words, the fact that Jacob married his cousins and had their servants as his concubines was a description of what happened.

It was not a prescription of what should have happened or what we should do today. Let’s make sure that we seek God’s wisdom about which examples to follow and which examples we should not.

Further notice that in spite of all that we see going on in this text, including slavery/servanthood, God used this situation for His glory. Jacob will go on to have sons from all four of the women mentioned in this passage. The sons will become the ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Let’s live like we believe that God can work all things out for His glory and the good of His people. Such living should be known for trusting obedience and expectation that God will not abandon us to the negative circumstances before us.

- Loving our way through tough spots. Notice in vs. 20 that the seven years that Jacob worked for Rachel seemed like a few days. This is because vs. 18 says that he was “in love” with Rachel. Let’s remember that love has a way of helping us get through some rough times.

The reason people should make sure they have real and enduring love, before they get married, is because there is no telling what is going to happen after the marriage.

Sickness, poverty, and bad situations can all be endured with real and enduring love. The church would do well to offer not only education but support aimed at helping people discern and develop this kind of marital love.

Read Genesis 29:21-26

II. Deception Rationalized. When the seven years of service were complete, in our Sunday School material, Jacob called for Rachel. Laban gave Jacob Leah, instead of Rachel.

The modern reader finds it difficult to understand how Jacob could have sex with Leah and not know that she was not Rachel. Laban rationalized his actions, by saying that the custom of the day was for the oldest daughter to marry first.

Applications –

- Celebrating marriage. Notice in vs. 21 that marriage was celebrated and included marital sex. First, we see in our text and in Jesus’ first public miracle the celebration of marriage.

Those who love those who are getting married would do well to show their love and support of the marriage. For many, this includes dancing, drinking, eating, and socializing.

Believers should seek wisdom about the dancing and drinking parts. The Pastor believes that believers can partake in some tasteful and controlled dancing and drinking.

However, there are times when believers should refrain from all dancing and drinking because of the weaker people around them (i.e., those with weaker conscious, see I Cor. 8:7).

Second, in spite of what modern culture may say about sex, sex is designed for marriage. Husbands and wives ought to work on being sexually satisfying to one another. Let’s work on celebrating marriage and understanding the role of sex in marriage.

- Being prudent with people. Notice in vs. 23 that Laban was deceptive with Jacob. The Pastor is not sure that Leah was absolutely innocent in the situation. We should remember that all have sinned, and there is none righteous.

Let’s work on keeping our ultimate trust in God and exercising prudence with all people. “Exercising prudence with all people” calls for wisdom and courage, so we don’t become extra paranoid or extra vulnerable.

Read Genesis 29:27-30

III. Contract Modified. There is another agreement in our Sunday School material. Laban offers Rachel in exchange for another seven years of service.

However, Jacob must keep Leah as well. Jacob agrees to the terms, works the seven years, and has both sisters as his wives. He loved Rachel more than Leah, however.

Applications –

- Making the best of a bad situation. Notice in vss. 27-29 that Jacob and Laban gave effort to working through the tension. There are too many people who experience tension and simply shut down.

They act as if they can only be a victim of how bad things are, instead of giving effort to making the best out of a bad situation.

Let’s seek the wisdom and courage to make the best of the situations that we find ourselves in. None of our lives are perfect. We can either complain about the imperfections, or we can do the best that we can with what we have.

- Favoritism. Notice in vs. 30 that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, his first wife. On one hand, there may be merit to the idea that you cannot control who you love more than the others. But on the other hand, we should be careful about how we behave.

As parents, we should behave as if we love all of our children, even if we love one more than the other. We should behave as if we love all of our siblings, even if we love one more than the other.

Let’s work on being careful with showing favoritism. Showing favoritism led to problems for Jacob’s family, as it often does today.

Conclusion: Let’s work on trusting God to see us through the twists and turns of our lives. God has much for those who obey His will.

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