Year 2 Day 255
Read - Genesis 29
Message - Scott Woodburn
My mother used to tell us “long runs the fox!”. What did Mrs Woodburn mean? The fox might run for years without any consequence, he might feast on the farmer’s chickens without ever being caught, but one day, the fox stops running when he’s hit by a car or taken out by a shotgun.
Jacob found himself in a land far away as he sought to avoid his brother Esau’s wrath and despite Jacob’s trickery, everything looked rosey in the garden. He bumped into men who knew his uncle Laban (v5) and soon Laban’s daughter Rachel arrived with father’s sheep (v9). Jacob wept as he kissed Rachel and soon he was brought into the home of Laban for a month (v14). It couldn’t have gone much better for Jacob. He had found safety, shelter and family! Additionally Jacob had found gainful employment in the service of his uncle. Indeed the arrangement had been so useful that Laban wanted to know what he could offer as wages for Jacob’s services (v15).
Jacob wanted a wife and in particular he wanted Rachel. She was beautiful in form and appearance (v17) and so Jacob offered to work for seven years in exchange for the hand of Laban’s youngest daughter Rachel (v18). This seemed like a good idea to Laban who would rather have given his daughter to Jacob than to anyone else (v19). So Jacob worked for seven years and they flew by in an instant because of his love for Rachel (v20).
The day arrived for the the marriage to be made official and after the feast Jacob lay down with his new wife. But do you remember the fox? He runs long until he is caught. It turned out that Laban was just a tricky as Jacob. Instead of giving Rachel to Jacob he had sent his eldest daughter Leah. We are told that her eyesight was poor and humanly speaking her little sister was more desirable. Yet Leah was the eldest and her father told an outraged Jacob “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.” (v26)
If a wee bell is ringing and you’re thinking about Esau - then good. Many years have passed but we are reminded here that Jacob’s actions back home dishonoured his older brother and more importantly they dishonoured God. Yet we shouldn’t see Laban as a hero in this passage either. Laban’s actions are a disgrace. His yes had proved to be no. He had lied and used his daughters as pawns. This is not a fine man of moral fibre. He further manipulated the situation by giving his other daughter Rachel to Jacob in marriage thus keeping Jacob as a servant for another 7 years (v30).
Leah is blessed with four sons called Rueben, Simeon, Levi and Judah (v31-35) but tragically we are told that Leah is hated by her husband. We can imagine the strife within this wee family. The wife who Jacob loves cannot have children (v31) while the wife he despises is blessed by God. Sister is set against sister. Jacob feels hard done by. Laban proved deceitful. What a rotten sinful mess!
Some might say that the whole situation is “karma” or in simple terms if you put bad into the world, you get bad back. We don’t believe in karma - the sun shines on the righteous and wicked alike (Matthew 5v45). Instead we believe in a sovereign God who sees all and knows all and who will certainly discipline those whom he loves (Hebrews 12v6). The Lord loves Jacob but He certainly does not condone Jacob’s treachery. Through the wicked actions of Laban, the Lord brings his discipline to bear in Jacob’s life. Is discipline loving? Yes! You discipline your children not because you hate them but because you love them. You want to see them grow and mature and sometimes you need to walk the hard miles of discipline for the good of your loved one. Jacob was loved but was learning that “good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.” (Proverbs 13v15)
Are you under the discipline of God? That’s a hard question which is difficult to answer adequately but I will say this - it is good for all of us to constantly examine our ways. Is your heart hard? Is your attitude bitter? Are your words slanderous? Are your schemes treacherous? Is your Bible closed? May we wrestle with who we really are and may we then flee to the Lord in repentance. If you are being disciplined it is because you are loved. Return to the Saviour who loved you first.
Q21 Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect? The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, for ever.