When Family Becomes an Idol (Part 2 of Rachel and Leah)
What is the difference between cherishing our husband and children and making idols of them? We know both marriage and children are gifts from God and God absolutely delights in harmonious families (Psalm 133). Many of you are too young to know about the television show “Father Knows Best,” but in many ways it did illustrate the beauty of a harmonious family. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE WRONG WITH THAT?
Nothing. Families are God’s plan, God’s gift, and can reflect God’s beauty. Psalm 133 sings of the beauty of a harmonious family.
But even good things, when they become more important than God, when seen as the ultimate, can become sin. How clearly this can be seen in the lives of Leah and Rachel.
This is a challenging study, but this group is definitely up to it!
1. Read Genesis 29:21-30.
A. How is this incident a “deja vu” for the trickster Jacob? (See Genesis 27)
B. Put yourself in Leah’s place. How do you think she felt about her wedding night with Jacob? Did Jacob murmur Rachel’s name?
C. How do you think she felt about Jacob’s response in the morning?
D. Tim Keller said, “When you long for Rachel (something other than God to fulfill you), you always wake up with Leah.” Share a time when you were sure something would fulfill you, you got it, and you were disappointed.
2. Read Genesis 29:31-35.
A. Meditate on verse 31. What does this tell you about God and His mercy? What does this mean to you? (Don’t go too fast through this one.)
B. List the names Leah gave her children and how the fourth son shows a change in her heart. Some of the godliest women I know have had hard marriages — unbelieving and difficult husbands. Like Leah, they woke up to realize that their hope was in God. And they pressed into Him, experiencing greater intimacy with Him.
C. Some of you have already seen that Judah was the son that was in the line to the Messiah. Reflect upon this.
3. Read Genesis 30.
A. What was Rachel’s “Rachel?” (What did she think she had to have to be fulfilled?)
B. Meditate on the name of her second son. What are some wrong reasons for having children? What are right reasons?
C. How can you know if you are too enmeshed with your children? What are some red flags?
D. What are some signs that you have a healthy relationship with your children?
E. What are some red flags that a local church may have elevated the family over Christ?
F. How do you see God’s mercy with Leah? With Rachel? What does this mean to you?
4. Meditate on Luke 14:25-27.
A. Is there a paraphrase or translation that helps you with this hard saying? If so, share it.
B. What do you think Jesus means by this?
C. How might this apply to your life?
5. Explain the difference between cherishing your husband and children and making idols of them. If you get this right, in practical ways, what would it look like?
6. Consider Genesis 31:19 and 31:33-35.
A. What happened here?
B. Leslie Williams writes: “Like Rachel, we hide our gods under our skirts, wondering why we are not whole, why we are not reconciled to the God we profess.” Write a prayer here, confessing sin, asking for His power to have Christ, and Christ alone be your God.
See "What is Your Rachel?" - Part 1 of Rachel and Leah
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