When you look at the relationship between Leah and Rachel, on the surface you may feel bad for Leah because you read of Jacob’s great love for Rachel. Read Genesis 29. Rachel was younger, “had a lovely figure and was beautiful,” while Leah “had weak eyes” (v. 17 NIV). Plainly put, “Jacob was in love with Rachel” (v. 18 NIV).
Despite her love of Jacob, Rachel sacrificially remains silent so that Jacob would marry her sister Leah first. It was not a custom to have the younger child marry off before the eldest. Though Leah was “not loved” by Jacob as she desired, God soon blesses her with Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Note, Judah is the line that leads to Jesus.
These two sisters certainly had their moments, and more children followed to form the twelve tribes of Israel; Leah bore six of the twelve. Though Leah lacked the love of Jacob that she desired, God provided her a huge family and wealth. She is mentioned in Ruth 4, along with her sister, as building the house of Israel. Eventually she would be buried beside the man she adored, in the cave with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah (see Genesis 49:29-33). God was with her and her children. She was loved by Him. She was not for lack. God loves you too. Today, rest in His love. You, too, are not for lack.
“When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, He enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.” Genesis 29:31 [NIV]
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 [NASB]
When I woke up, the day didn’t start out well. I allowed myself to get in a bad mood. A broken down system at work. Getting parked in by landscapers. Having my privacy invaded. The list of issues that rained down on me that morning brought the perfect storm. If you must know, yes, it was a Monday! I don’t have problems with Mondays though. Everything just seemed to fall upon me though on this particular Monday.
Keeping one’s attitude in check is hard, but it’s even more difficult when multiple things go wrong. We may brush off a few things, but as the bullets keep flying, we often lose it. We are in control of our attitude. We are responsible for our reactions. That day, since the system was down, I left work early to head home. I desired the opportunity to just lay on the sofa with the pups and read my Bible. I needed to just hide under the covers with Him and get away from this heaping mess. I needed to rest with Him and fix my attitude.
On the way home, it was raining. There was a slick spot where there must have been oil on the ground. When some fellow jumped into our lane without following proper driving rules, we all had to stop. The space was there. The time was there. But the oil was also there. My van slid right into the truck in front of me. I closed my eyes. Not something else. I didn’t even want to get out and look, but when I did, I praised the Lord. No injuries, and little damage. Why? Because of the hitch. The man had a hitch on his truck. It kept our vehicles separated. Despite all the craziness of the day, despite being pelted with many things that day, the hitch was there—just like the ram in the bush. God provided a hedge around me and reminded me things would be just fine. Look around today. Perhaps there’s a hitch in your path—something to help to refocus your eyes on God.
“Abraham answered, ‘God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ Then the two of them walked on together.” – Genesis 22:8 [HCSB]
Waiting is hard. We are not patient people. I know I am the kind of person that wants to get things done right away. When I see something that needs done, I do it. When I see a problem, I dive in to try to fix it. I don’t like to dilly dally around.
The Lord is showing me that waiting is crucial in life. God created the earth with rhythm and balance. We cannot do everything. We shouldn’t try everything. We need to instead rest in Him and trust that at just the time, He will move and things will come to be just as He has planned and promised. Never in the Bible do you see Jesus rushing around like a chicken with His head cut off. Yet, when we closely examine our own lives, we often note we are too much action and not enough wait. We are too much noise, not enough silent moments with Him.
With Abraham and Sarah, they were promised a child but they didn’t wait. Sound like anyone you know? Then God revealed more of His plan to them, letting the two know that the promised line would come through their soon-to-be child Isaac who would soon make an appearance. Sarah laughed, but “this happened at just the time God had said it would.” Patience allows us to experience the peace God always meant for us to enjoy. Patience stretches our faith. Patience allows us to see God move in awesome ways. Today, remind yourself that God’s Word tells us there is a time for everything. Trust His timing.
“She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.” – Genesis 21:2 [NLT]
Getting Started: Discussion of Count the Stars Simile
First tell children about some similes – brave as a lion, crazy like a fox, slow as molasses. Visual illustration: molasses poured out slowly.
Genesis 15 says “look up at the sky and count the stars… so shall your offspring be.” – As many people as stars.
Can you count the stars? Do you know how many stars there are in the sky? What does this mean? (You can also show your favorite constellation to intro to these questions).
Craft / Activity
Watered down glue / glitter / black or dark blue construction paper / brown or beige construction paper
Cut the brown / beige construction paper as a small land mass before class.
Spread the watered down glue on the papers. Put the land mass at the bottom of the paper. Sprinkle glitter on the paper. Be sure to have a small box to catch the glitter that falls from the paper.
On the land mass, write “Count the Stars” – Genesis 15:5
After doing the activity, begin digging deeper into the lesson (this allows for the papers to dry and for children to have another visual learning experience).
Genesis 12:1-5 – God’s promise to Abram
I will make you into a GREAT NATION
I will make your NAME GREAT
You will be A BLESSING
… ALL PEOPLES ON EARTH WILL BE BLESSED THROUGH YOU.
(New Home – Great Name – Family)
Abram (75 years old) – left Haran with Sarai and Lot.
Genesis 15:2-6 – Count the Stars
Abram asked what the Lord could give. He had no children. The Lord said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars –if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 18:10-14 – Sarah Laughs
Three men visit Abraham and food is prepared. They explain that Sarah would have a son. Sarah laughed. Is anything too hard for the LORD?
Genesis 21:1-7 –Isaac born
The Lord did as He promised. Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, God has brought me laughter. Abraham was 100 years old.
Discuss what this means to us. Discuss blessing. Discuss abundance.
Closing Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:8
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
What does this mean? What are we promised?
We do not always know where God is leading us and we certainly cannot predict the future. We are to walk in faith, trusting that God is faithful. When Abraham was tested, he was told to sacrifice his son Isaac, and Abraham went forward guided by his faith. God had promised Abraham many descendents. God had promised Abraham blessing. Abraham trusted God and pressed forward.
When it was time to sacrifice Isaac, an angel of the Lord called out to Abraham, telling him not to go forward with the sacrifice. When Abraham looked up, he saw a ram in the bush. God had provided the sacrifice that Abraham needed. In verse 8, Abraham had told Isaac: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (NIV). God surely provided with this ram.
If you are going through something right now and you are wondering if things will be okay—remember that God always has a ram in the bush. You might be expecting something different. You might not know what to expect. You might be too exhausted to even look—but the ram is there. God always provides what we need to get done with what we are called to do for Him. Live expecting that ram.
“Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.” – Genesis 22:13 [NLT]
We all have issues with understanding the sacrifice of Isaac that was asked of God. We cannot imagine what was going through Abraham’s mind or how we would react in such a situation. Many of us cannot fathom the command.
I never realized the length that Abraham had to go to comply with the command of God to sacrifice his son. There is much focus on the command itself and the end result; however, there are about fifty miles equal probably to about 3 days of travel that separated the area where the command was given and the actual place of sacrifice. This means that Abraham continued to press forward on a journey that lasted miles and miles—days of travel time.
Do you have fifty miles of faith? God doesn’t always call us to simply do something right where we are at, something that is simply said and done. Sometimes we are called to journey fifty miles to trust that He will provide and that He has a great plan. Are you ready for the fifty miles?
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” – 1 Peter 1:7 [NLT]