READ: Genesis 29-30
THINK: Do you happen to know a dysfunctional family? Perhaps your own clan has a few quirks. Then again, no family is perfect, although some seem to bring more problems on themselves than others. Yet, it's God's intention that family members get along-that they be there for each other and encourage one another to pursue God's purpose for their lives. But in too many families this is not the case. Even families that follow God can get caught up in petty squabbles and misguided pursuits that threaten to rob them of God's best intentions. Thankfully, God is able to accomplish His purposes despite our problems. As individuals and families rely on the Lord, He is faithful to guide, direct and use them-imperfect as they may be-to fulfill His perfect plans.
RESPOND: Why do you think Laban deceived Jacob into marrying Leah first? What might God have been trying to teach Jacob through these difficulties? (See 29:25 note.) In what ways did Jacob's marriage relationships violate God principles and intentions? (See 29:28 note.) How and why did Jacob get himself into this predicament? Why do you think God blessed Leah and gave her several children? (See 29:31 note.) Though Leah was desperate to gain Jacob's love and attention, what had she learned by the time she had her fourth child (cf. 29:35)? Who are Jacob's descendants? (See 30:1-24 note.) Why was Rachel desperate to have children and why was she willing to pursue this desire the wrong way? (See 30:1 note.) How did the petty conflict between Rachel and Leah escalate into what appeared to be spiritual conflict and moral compromise (cf. 30:1-16)? Why do you think God still worked through this dysfunctional situation? (See 30:18 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you learn from your mistakes and thank Him for providing discipline when you need it.
ACT: Have you persisted in doing something that you know is wrong? Are you making the same questionable choices and expecting different results? End that cycle of sin and foolishness by making the right choice-the one that honors God-even though it may seem more difficult. The benefits of a clear conscience will be worth it.
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