Wednesday, September 5, 2018

2018.09.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:31-30:24

Questions for Littles: Who opened Leah’s womb (v31)? Why? What does Leah call her first son (v32)? Why? What does she call her second son (v33)? Why? What does she call her third son (v34)? Why? What does she call her fourth son (v35)? Why? What is different about this fourth name? Whom does Rachel blame for her having no children (30:1)? Whom does Jacob point out is actually in charge of whether she bears children (v2)? What plan does Rachel come up with in v3? Where have we seen this before? Who goes along with it (v4)? What is the result in v5? What does Rachel claim about this son in v6? What does she name the son? What does she name the second son (v8)? Why? Now who is coming up with the same sinful plan (v9)? What does she name the son in v11? Why? What does she name the son in v13? Why? What had Rachel apparently been able to prevent Leah from doing (v15)? How did Leah get her to relent? Who obediently went along with the arrangement in v16? Why/how did Leah conceive (v17)? What does she name this son (v18)? Why? What does she name her sixth son (v20)? Why? What is different about her next child (v21)? Who acts in v22? What does she say in v23? What name does she give the son in v24? Why—what did she say?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we find something of an arms race. Sons were very valuable for their labor/productivity/earning, for their military worth, and especially for carrying on the family line—especially when the salvation of the world depends upon that family line!

Here we are in the third generation of the Abrahamic covenant, and we’ve just had one son that remained in the covenant, and then again one son that remained in the covenant, and now BOOM—in just a handful of verses (and wives?!?!!) 11 covenant sons (with one more to come).

The whole thing is deeply sad, starting with an unloved wife, and the handmaid method of increased fertility, and the passive husband who just does whatever his wives say—right down to allowing Rachel to control the bedroom rotation roster. We feel badly for Leah on the names of the first three, and maybe a little bit proud of her for Judah. But names like Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Issachar just seem so out of line! In fact, the passage as a whole is almost enough to make us sick.

But the astonishing thing is that despite the wickedness of man than fills the passage up, there is a thread of God’s grace running all the way through it. He is noticing who is unloved. He is answering Leah’s prayers, and then Rachel’s.

How can the holy, holy, holy God do so for such sinners as we see them to be here? The answer is in the purpose of multiplying these sons to begin with: to form the nation into which God’s own Son can be born as the Son of Man. God can be merciful to sinners, because He is so lovingly determined to be merciful that He Himself is preparing to enter into the world to bear their sin!

Dear believer, this is exactly what He has done for us! If we could honestly see our sin as it really is, we would find it as ugly and sick as the arms race in the passage. Shall we not then also see the wonderful grace of God that is the great thread that runs through our life?
What are some good things God has done for you lately? Why would/did He?
Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, From the Depths” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

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