Genesis 29:15-28 Psalm 105:1-11, 45b Romans 8:26-39 Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
I understand that here in Galax, there is a nice loop to drive. You start on Main Street and go south toward Horton’s. Then you go up the truck route towards US 58. Then you turn right and head towards Wal-Mart. After making the drive around the parking lot, you head back towards downtown Galax.
All the while you are driving around Galax, you have your windows down, and the radio up just a little bit. The girls will be cruising in their pick-up trucks. The guys will be knocking about in their tricked out cars.
Oh, phooey! I don’t know how young people court/date/play the field anymore! Somehow the guy has to impress the girl. Somehow the girl has to let the guy know that she is into him. And that is where we find Jacob. He has made it to Haran and he is on the prowl for his future wife. But the trickster Jacob gets tricked. Let’s get into the story and see what is going on.
A. Jacob gets to Haran (29:1-14)
The custom was to move the stone from the well when all the flocks were present. But Jacob does not know this custom. When he sees Rachel, and he moves the stone by himself! (See what I can do!) In just a short time, Jacob kisses Rachel and she takes him to meet her father, Laban. There at Laban’s house, Jacob told Laban all about how he got to Haran – including how he tricked Esau and Isaac? We now have uur setting for the rest of the story is set. Jacob loves Rachel. He has been hanging around Laban’s house. Now, how is Laban going to get Jacob out of his house?
B. After a month in Laban’s house, Jacob asks for Rachel (29:15-28)
Jacob wasn’t going to work for just any wages. He wanted Rachel. So, Laban says he can work 7 years for her – & Jacob did work 7 years for her. These years went by fast, for he loved Rachel. This marriage between Jacob and Rachel was going to happen even though Rachel is the younger sister! The description of the sisters is interesting. Leah is described her as “her eyes are lovely” and Rachel is described as graceful & beautiful. Was Rachel that much prettier than her sister? We don’t know. But the impression is there for us to pick up on. What Jacob does not take into consideration is the custom for the older daughter to be married before the younger. And this is where Laban tricks him! Jacob sleeps with Leah on the first night of the wedding week! The next morning he gets Laban to agree to give him Rachel, for another seven years of work from Jacob!
Jacob must have loved Rachel. He was willing to have Leah as his wife. Plus each of Laban’s daughters was given concubines by Laban, Zilpah & Bilhah). Jacob is going to have his hands full; he surely won’t be able to trick anyone now, will he? But he does. He ends up tricking Laban out of most of Laban’s flocks! This is such a good story. It should go down in history as a story of humans tricking one another. It should go down in history as a story of working to get the one you love. But I think there is something missing for Jacob. Through these 14 verses, Jacob has not mentioned the Lord. He loved Rachel. But what was God doing during this time?
C. God is loving his people, despite how they treat each other
Jacob has vowed that he would worship God (28:20-22). But he went on his journey – not even mentioning God for some time! However Jacob works with God, God sees Leah’s predicament – married 7 or 14 years & still no children! God blesses Leah with sons. So, Leah praises God – we don’t hear Jacob saying anything about God about his daughter and 13 sons! Also, even though Rachel is loved, she has no children yet. So, she also petitions God. And God hears her cries. Joseph is born after this plea from Rachel.
Jacob finally mentions God in 30:2! God works and blesses Jacob. It is through the faith of his wives that Jacob receives children! This is amazing! I read some commentators that said this story is about the subjugation of women. That continuing to read this story only encourages women to be considered 2nd class citizens. That it is the men of this world who are in charge & women are to listen to the men. Yet, in these 14 verses that have no mention of God, we see that God is at work. It is Leah & Rachel, the women, that bring faith in God into the picture. This story may show more about how God works through frail humans than it does about our striving to build God’s kingdom here on earth.
For love, a young man will go to great lengths to get the attention of a young woman. For love, a young man will subject himself to great trials. And these are the things that Jacob did for Rachel. Yet, he still was tricked by Laban.
However, we know that God works even through these selfish desires. God heard Rachel & Leah. He provided children for them. God blessed Jacob, in spite of how Jacob lived. God kept his promise. Jacob may have lost his focus, but God did not. God works and grows his kingdom, even if we are doing things for love. Maybe we can look around and see how God loves people and bringing them to himself. Sometimes we can be focused on what we love, rather than how God is blessing us with his love.