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Worship Services

Leah's Joy

March 15, 2020
Genesis 29:31-35
preached by
Pastor Jon Needham

Sermon text

Genesis 29:31–35

Jacob's Children

When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.

Understanding the text

One of the reasons that Leviticus forbids men from marrying more than one woman is the inevitable contempt, strife, and jealousy that it creates. This is powerfully and tragically demonstrated in this text. Leah and Rachel were sisters and shared the same husband, Jacob. Leah had not yet had any children. This was a matter of great shame for her and she believed that if she could just produce children that her husband would certainly and finally love her.

This is a tragic and heartbreaking story to read. Leah believes that having children will secure her identity and value as a woman and finally win over Jacob’s greatest love. However, the text tells us that though Leah did have children, her heart was not satisfied. For Leah, children had become an idol of sorts. Through her disappointment, God gently taught her that only He could ultimately satisfy her heart. Then and only then could she enjoy the gifts that God had blessed her with.

Additional scripture

  1. Jeremiah 2:13
  2. Exodus 20:1-3
  3. 1 Peter 1:3-5

Applying the text

  1. The circumstances of Leah’s life led her to feel as if she were an utter disaster and failure. What things in your life can cause you to feel empty and worthless?
  2. Leah had to learn that good things cannot ultimately satisfy. Good things can become idols as easily as bad things. What good things are you tempted to cherish as ultimate in your own life?
  3. Read Genesis 29:35. What did Leah learn was the antidote to empty idolatry? How can you guard your own heart against the good things you tend to elevate to the place of God? In what ways is God superior to the gifts He gives?

Call to Worship

Psalm 41:1–3

Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health.

Prayer of Confession

Heavenly Father, we come before You today with troubled hearts and minds. We are fearful about our health, our finances, our families, our futures, and many other things. We doubt your love and concern for us. Father, forgive our unbelief. Jesus, thank You for Your fearless faith. Thank You that for the joy that was set before You, You persevered through far greater pain and suffering than we can even imagine. Holy Spirit, help us to believe in Christ. Help us to believe that in His death we died, and that in His resurrection we are raised to new life. Give us the joy and peace that should flow from that reality, as we continue to face the broken world in which we live, even as we face the last enemy, death itself. Lord, thank You that You will return to be with us forever, wiping away all our tears and comforting our hearts. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

March Memory Verse

Romans 12:1–2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Resources for Parents

Every Sunday, the children's ministry team creates lessons that cover the scripture and concepts from a recent sermon. The teachers ask simple questions to help the kids learn to understand and apply what God says in the Bible.

We want to equip parents to talk to their kids about what they're learning. The following is the content that the children's classes taught this week. We encourage parents to use this resource at home to help you and your kids grow as you learn from God's word together.

Children's Lesson from Sunday, March 15

1 Peter 4:12-19

The Main Point:
Suffering is part of being a follower of Jesus.

Vocabulary Word for PreK and Elementary 1 Classes:
- A person who loves Jesus and believes He died on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins.

Q: Why does Peter tell us we will have bad days sometimes?
A: Because we love Jesus.

Q: Should we worry about people being mean to us for loving Jesus?
A: No! Jesus never leaves us alone!

Q: What happens when we have bad days because we love Jesus?
A: We learn to love Jesus more, trust Him more, and our faith grows.

Q: What is a Christian?
A: A person who loves Jesus and believes He died on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins.

New City Catechism Question #50

What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?

Christ triumphed over sin and death so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come.

(Note: All of our classes work through one question per month from the New City Catechism. You can download the New City Catechism app with all the questions and children's songs for free.)


Beginning this month, our children's classes are singing in their classrooms as part of their time together.

Jon Needham is the lead pastor and founding pastor of Coram Deo Church. He and his wife live in Bremerton with their three kids. He loves spending time with his family and riding motorcycles.


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