December 27, 2020 – Genesis 29:1-30
Lesson Date: December 27, 2020
Focal Scripture Passage: Genesis 29:1-30
AIM: To lead students to contrast the patient love of Jacob with the selfish deceit of Laban, and to examine themselves to see which character trait is most prominent in their lives.
Before class: Read the notes on Genesis 29 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the following scripture references on some index cards or small pieces of paper: Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 Peter 1:22. Enlist some volunteers to look up the verses and be prepared to read them when called upon. Write the following two phrases on the marker board or chalkboard: “True Love Waits,” and “Bait and Switch.”
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the phrase, “True Love Waits.” Tell them this is the motto of a movement that has been popular among Christian teenagers and young adults for many years. Ask: “What does ‘True Love Waits” mean?” (genuine love will wait until marriage to have sexual relations). Stress the fact that this belief runs counter to modern behavior, in which casual sex is common and waiting until marriage is a rarity. Tell the students today we will learn about a man whose true love for the woman he wanted to marry enabled him to happily wait seven years for her hand.
Direct the class’ attention to the other phrase, “Bait and Switch.” Tell them this expression has been applied to unscrupulous business practices. Ask: “What does ‘Bait and Switch’ mean?” (it refers to drawing a potential customer into a store with the promise of a very good price for a particular item, but then selling them an inferior item or a higher priced item instead). It is a deceptive business practice used by merchants who are more concerned with profits than with honesty. Tell the students today we will learn about another man who played a very deceptive and hurtful game of bait and switch with his own family.
Today’s lesson from Genesis 29 is titled Love and Trickery.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the class that we are studying the Old Testament book of Genesis.
- Last week we had a Christmas lesson from Luke 1 and 2.
- Two weeks ago in Genesis 27 – 28 we learned that Jacob stole the blessing Isaac intended to give to Esau.
- When Esau threatened to kill Jacob, Rachel arranged to send Jacob back to her home to find a bride.
- Jacob Arrived in Haran and Met Rachel.
- Read Genesis 29:1-8.
- Refer to the Map of the Ancient World to show the students the 450-mile distance Jacob had traveled from Canaan to Haran.
- Explain the following:
- Jacob came to a well covered by a great stone.
- Surrounding the well were three flocks of sheep.
- Jacob learned that the men were from Haran and they knew his uncle Laban.
- The men told him Laban’s daughter Rachel would soon come out to water her sheep.
- Jacob tried to get the men to water their flocks and leave so he could meet his cousin privately, but they refused, saying it was custom to wait for all the flocks to arrive before watering any of them.
- Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 29:9-10.
- Ask: “What did Jacob do when he saw Rachel and the sheep belonging to Laban?” (he removed the stone and watered Laban’s flock).
- Read Genesis 29:11-14.
- Tell the students that Jacob kissed Rachel, which was an appropriate greeting between relatives. Jacob told Rachel who he was.
- Ask: “Why do you think Jacob was overcome with emotion?” (he had come a long way, found his mother’s family, and met his beautiful cousin whom he hoped to marry).
- Explain the following:
- Rachel ran and told all this to her father Laban.
- Laban ran out to meet Jacob (note that they, too, kissed, just as Middle Eastern people still do today).
- Laban welcomed Jacob into his house, and Jacob told him why he had come.
- Jacob remained in Laban’s house for a month.
- Summarize: Jacob arrived in Haran, where he met his beautiful cousin Rachel and his uncle Laban. He remained in Laban’s house for a month.
- Jacob Loved Rachel and Agreed to Work Seven Years to Marry Her.
- Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 29:15.
- Ask: “What did Laban propose to Jacob?” (he offered to pay him for his work and asked Jacob to set his wages).
- Tell the class Jacob was evidently already working with the flocks, which was a good way to spend time with Rachel.
- Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 29:16-17.
- Ask: “What does the Bible tell us about Laban’s two daughters?” (the older was named Leah and the younger was named Rachel; Rachel was beautiful but Leah was not).
- Read Genesis 29:18-20.
- Ask: “How did Jacob feel about Rachel?” (he loved her).
- Ask: “What did he offer to do?” (work seven years for the privilege of marrying Rachel).
- Tell the students in ancient times it was customary to pay a price for a bride. Jacob had no money so he offered to work. Laban agreed to the plan.
- Ask: “According to verse 20, how could Jacob stand to wait seven years to marry Rachel?” (he loved her so much the seven years seemed like only a few days).
- Direct the students’ attention to the phrase “True Love Waits” written on the board. Jacob’s patience in waiting for the proper time to marry Rachel exhibits the spirit of True Love Waits.
- Summarize: Jacob loved Rachel so much that he was willing to work seven years for the privilege of marrying her.
- Laban Deceived Jacob.
- Tell the class that seven years passed.
- Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 29:21-22.
- Ask: “What did Jacob say to Laban after working seven years?” (“Give me Rachel so we can be married”).
- Tell the students Laban threw a big wedding feast, which was customary in that culture.
- Read Genesis 29:23-26.
- Ask: “According to verse 23, what did Laban do?” (secretly substituted Leah for Rachel).
- Explain that ancient brides were heavily veiled. That, along with the darkness of the night, prevented Jacob from realizing he was being deceived.
- Ask: “According to verse 25, how did Jacob feel about this deception?” (he was justifiably very angry).
- Ask: “According to verse 26, why did Laban do this?” (he said it was inappropriate in their culture for the younger daughter to marry before the older daughter).
- Direct the students’ attention to the words “Bait and Switch” written on the board. Laban played the ultimate bait and switch con – involving members of his own family.
- Lead the students to discuss the following questions:
- “How do you think Rachel felt about this deception?”
- “How do you think Leah felt about being the “substitute” bride, taken only because of a trick?”
- “How do you think this affected Jacob’s relationship with his father-in-law, Laban?”
- “How do you think this affected the relationship between Rachel and Leah?”
- Tell the class that this family, like the one Jacob came from, had a lot of troubles!
- Ask: “When Jacob was deceived and tricked, do you think he recalled another deception he took part in seven years earlier?” (undoubtedly so).
- Remind the class that in that deception the party being deceived could not see, either.
- Summarize: Laban tricked and deceived Jacob into marrying Leah instead of his beloved Rachel.
- Jacob Worked Seven More Years for Rachel.
- Tell the class that clever, scheming Laban had a plan to “fix” the problem.
- Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 29:27.
- Ask: “What did Laban propose?” (that Jacob go along with the seven-day wedding feast without causing a stir, after which Laban would give him Rachel, too).
- Read Genesis 29:28-30.
- Explain the following:
- As hard as it is for us to imagine, after the weeklong wedding feast was over Laban gave Rachel to Jacob to be his second wife!
- Stress the fact that God has never ordained or approved of polygamy, but sinful men have practiced it almost from the beginning of time (Gen. 4:19).
- Jacob agreed to work seven more years for Rachel.
- Ask: “What does verse 30 reveal about conditions in Jacob’s new family?” (it was tense and uncomfortable: he loved Rachel but only tolerated Leah).
- Summarize: After being tricked by Laban, Jacob agreed to work seven more years in return for getting to marry Rachel.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class that in today’s lesson Jacob and his uncle Laban were quite different. Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read Genesis 6:5 and Jeremiah 17:9. Lead the students to discuss what those verses reveal about man’s tendency to be selfish, deceitful, and uncaring about the feelings of others (like Laban was). Tell the class that Laban exhibited selfish deceit. Erase the board and write the following: Laban – Selfish Deceit.
Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and 1 Peter 1:22. Lead the students to discuss what those verses reveal about the nature of true love. Tell the class that Jacob exhibited patient love. Write the following on the board: Jacob – Patient Love.
Tell the students this lesson is about the great contrast between Jacob’s patient love and Laban’s selfish deceit. Ask: “Which one of those men are most like you: Jacob or Laban?”
Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask them in the privacy of their heart to examine themselves to see whether patient love or selfish deceit is most prominent in their lives. Encourage them to confess any sin God brings to mind, and urge them to make a commitment to live lives of patient love rather than selfish deceit. Voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Genesis 29:20. Encourage them to wait for God’s timing and to resist the temptation to practice deceit and trickery to get their way.
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