Family History Repeats Itself

Family History Repeats Itself

Genesis 29:15-28 (NRSVue)

Jacob is finding himself in some hot water this week in Genesis. Jacob the trickster’s antics finally catch up with him when he meets his match: Uncle Laban. This week we’ll look at how the tables got turned on Jacob when Laban tricked the trickster into marrying the wrong daughter. Evidently the apple doesn’t fall far from the family tree. One of the lessons that can be gleaned from this eyebrow raising story is you reap what you sow. Jesus put it this way: the measure you use, will be used on you. We hear it put other ways: what comes around goes around, poetic justice, karma, etc. This principle doesn’t always work in the real world, but it sure is a good motivator for us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, not only to be a blessing to them, but because it is in our own self-interest.


July 30, 2023 — Worship Service Bulletin (click)

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Bible Study Questions for Genesis 29:15-28:

  1. Read Genesis 29: 1-14 for background on how Jacob met Rachel.
  2. What similarities do you see between how Isaac meets his wife Rebekah and how Jacob meets his wife Rachel? What differences are there? How is Jacob different from his father Isaac?
  3. How would you describe Laban (Jacob’s uncle) by his actions?
  4. Jacob the trickster got tricked. How was the way he got tricked into marrying Leah similar to the way that he tricked his father into giving him Esau’s blessing? Why do you think Laban did this?
  5. One of the themes in Scripture is “you reap what you sow.” Do you think this general principle “we will be treated as we treat others” is at work in this unusual story?
  6. Genesis 29:31-30:24 tells of the birth of the twelve tribes of Israel, which came out of much family dysfunction and messiness (sibling rivalry between Leah and Rachel, among many other things). Why do you think sibling rivalry is a constant theme in Genesis?
  7. The entire book of Genesis depicts the flaws of its characters with unflinching honesty. How might this encourage us and also teach us a different way to live our lives?
  8. Jacob’s life is defined by conflict that either he initiates or comes to him. Can you think of examples? How does this communicate Jacob’s strengths? His shadow side?
  9. How do we see God at work in the midst of all of the problems going on in Jacob’s family?




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