Questions to Consider
1. Briefly review lesson 22 (link above), recalling the events that transpired to bring Jacob, Leah, and Rachel into this marriage. In what ways did this marriage start off on the wrong foot?
2. Read these passages. Did God design marriage to be polygamous or monogamous? What do these passages tell us are the theological reasons for this? What are the practical and interrelational problems with polygamy that Jacob’s marriage to Leah and Rachel demonstrates in Genesis 29-30?
3. Compare Leah’s and Rachel’s experience with infertility, subsequent pregnancies, and use of surrogates with Sarah’s experience (see lesson 11, link above). How were their experiences similar? Different?
4. Consider how Abraham (see lesson 11, link above) and Jacob both responded to their wives’ giving their maidservants to them as surrogates. How could these men have responded to their wives in a godly way? How would this have been a good opportunity for Jacob to instruct Leah and Rachel in trusting the Lord, especially in light of 30:2? What are some examples of God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness in Jacob’s own life that he could have shared with his wives?
5. In Rachel’s and Leah’s culture, the main way women achieved status, and were viewed as blessed and successful by society, was by bearing children, particularly sons. How does this piece of cultural information help you understand the competitive attitude between Rachel and Leah and the emotional pressure of the situation? How would understanding God’s sovereignty over conception have helped both Rachel and Leah to be at peace in their hearts, with each other, and with Jacob?
6. Make a list of Leah’s comments after the birth of each of her sons, then make the same list of Rachel’s comments. What can we learn about the desires of their hearts from these comments? What can we learn about their relationships with each other, with Jacob, and with God? In what ways might each of them have been tempted to sin in their hearts (ex: coveting)? What Scriptures can you think of that address these sins?
7. Imagine that you’re working on a degree in biblical counseling and you’re assigned Jacob’s, Leah’s, and Rachel’s situation as a case study. Using what Scripture says about marriage, children, sin, the fruit of the Spirit, God’s attributes, etc., pinpoint at least two issues in this family that need biblical correction.
8. Now imagine you’ve graduated and are working as a biblical counselor. Jacob, Leah, and Rachel come to you for help in making their family more godly and getting along better. How do you advise each of them individually and/or as a family unit about the two issues you’ve pinpointed? What are some Scriptures that tell them what they should not be doing or believing? What are some Scriptures that tell them what they should be doing or believing?
9. Rachel and Leah were focused only on their own family and their personal desire to bear children, but what was God’s larger purpose for their sons? How does today’s passage demonstrate that God’s plans cannot be thwarted by the actions of man?
Go back to the lists you made for question 6. Do you have a heart attitude about something that’s similar to one Rachel or Leah had? For example: Are you coveting something? Envious of someone? Willing to use ungodly methods to get what you want? Resentful? Prideful? Unable to be peaceful and content where God has placed you? Write out some specific Scriptures that address this sin of the heart – both why you should not sin this way, and the godly action you should take or attitude you should have instead. Be sure to spend some time in prayer asking God to forgive you and to help you do what is right.
Suggested Memory Verse
Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.