February 13, 2019

Humans Disappoint; God Doesn't

Genesis 29

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Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well's mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.

Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.” He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.” He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!” He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's kinsman, and that he was Rebekah's son, and she ran and told her father.

13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister's son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, 14 and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah's eyes were weak,1 but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. 23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. 24 (Laban gave2 his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 25 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

Jacob's Children

31 When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,3 for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” 33 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.4 34 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.5 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah.6 Then she ceased bearing.

Footnotes

[1] 29:17 Or soft
[2] 29:24 Or had given; also verse 29
[3] 29:32 Reuben means See, a son
[4] 29:33 Simeon sounds like the Hebrew for heard
[5] 29:34 Levi sounds like the Hebrew for attached
[6] 29:35 Judah sounds like the Hebrew for praise

Humans Disappoint; God Doesn't



Key Verse | Genesis 29:25

And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”

Bio | Glenn Newblom

Hello, Journey friends! Glenn Newblom here.

My wife Desirée and I have called Watermark home for about two and a half years now. While this place may have seemed large initially, it continues to feel smaller and smaller as I meet and get to know more of you every day.

In a given week, you can catch me serving at the Summit Men's Bible Study on Thursday mornings; or in re|engage Wednesday evenings where Desirée and I lead a small group through the same ministry that God used to save our marriage—and our lives.

Central Truth

Deception at the beginning of any marriage is not a good start. And it doesn't help at any other point of marriage or other human relationships. Bringing things into the light clarifies relationships.

Devotional | Genesis 29

Weddings are great! It is a day of hope, fun, and commitment. As a groom, I choked up when we said our vows because I was looking for that commitment. But most of the other wedding events pale in comparison with the...

Weddings are great! It is a day of hope, fun, and commitment. As a groom, I choked up when we said our vows because I was looking for that commitment. But most of the other wedding events pale in comparison with the part of the marriage ritual that seals our commitment to each other.

Jacob's wedding day didn't seem so different. Jacob was completely smitten by Rachel's beauty from the moment he saw her and would have done anything to be with her, including working for her father for seven-years to marry her. Unfortunately, Jacob cared so much about being with Rachel that he rushed through the wedding night and did not realize that he'd consummated the marriage with her sister until the next morning.

This was not a good way to start a marriage! Yet, Jacob was still driven by his desire to be with Rachel, causing him to agree to a new contract with Rachel's father. I wonder who today would not just walk away if we had experienced even half of what went on here.

You may have made similar commitments with your time, money, or resources, leaving you with distinct expectations. How are you prepared to respond when your expectations aren't met, or the other person lets you down, or you're otherwise disappointed? Will you cut and run? Will you sink into bitterness? Don't do it! God has so much more for you!

As we witnessed in Genesis 27, Jacob was no stranger to sin, yet he was also familiar with God's faithfulness throughout his life. Even when Jacob found himself disappointed in his circumstances, God in His faithfulness still had a plan and a purpose for Jacob to fulfill through his obedience. This fallen creation is guaranteed to disappoint, but we have a sovereign Creator who never will. Navigate according to His instruction and reap the good He has for you—trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6); forgive others (Ephesians 4:32); love (John 13:34); and you will lack nothing (Psalm 34:9-10).

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Discussion Questions

1. While we know that Jacob had somewhat of a contentious relationship with Laban, I wonder if Jacob ever forgave Laban for his deception? What does God command us through His Word about forgiveness?

2. While there was a clear contractual aspect of Jacob's marriage negotiation with Laban, do you see any contractual aspects in marriages today?

3. How can we overcome the challenges of sin and disappointment in our relationships, our marriages, and our lives? Have you taken the time to pray about what your part in this strife may be?

13 Comments available

Ricardo Garcia 2 months ago

Q1. Forgiving others is an extremely difficult task, and if one knows Jesus, and practices his word, we can accomplish what he wants us to, including forgiving others. If Jacob worked for Leban for another 7 years for Rachel, then maybe he did forgive him.

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

Even the names of the son’s of Jacob point to the messiah. They start with “Behold the son!” and (SPOILER ALERT) end with 'The son of my sorrow" who becomes 'son of my right hand"

Jay Caruso 2 months ago

Glenn hope to meet you in one of those studies Soon. Each day is always a different perspective on different things from forgiveness to relationship that let us all strive to be godly individuals with a purpose and to be challenged each and every day to let it be known that we have a faithful God that I love and a God that shows grace in all circumstances stay positive people

Michael Scaman 2 months ago

Poor Leah…

but nice Valentine verse So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

Also… there seem to be a trend… Abraham’s servant, Jacob and Moses found the future gal to marry around where camels drink.

Yolanda Escobar 2 months ago

Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful word , it touched my heart deeply and encourage me to keep going trusting the LORD WITH ALL my Heart

CATRICE HINES 2 months ago

Glad I read this morning. I had a huge disappointment yesterday at my workplace and so wanted to quit (run) At the end of the day my response was GOD you must have something really big for me! Great devotion and thanks!

Clark Lauderdale 2 months ago

Glenn, you made a point that all of us must remember All the time, “This fallen creation is guaranteed to disappoint, but we have a sovereign Creator who never will. Navigate according to His instruction and reap the good He has for you—trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6); forgive others (Ephesians 4:32); love (John 13:34); and you will lack nothing (Psalm 34:9-10).”

Our lives depend upon Whom we trust.

greg jones 2 months ago

My closest life experience to this story is the time at youth camp a counselor, I’m sure led by the Holy Spirt, whispered to me, “I sure hope you never show up on my front porch.” Knowing who her daughter was I said, “you don’t have anything to worry about.” We both drew a little blood.

I’m not sure what I was doing in front 100 other kids and counselors but apparently I wasn’t representing the best of southern baptist boy stock. Or maybe she just knew I was a firstborn. IDK we all get moved by the spirit like that sometimes. Don’t we?

God in our life is not a guaranteed outcome for Him or us. God in someone else’s life doesn’t determine our outcome either, because God is a loving God. If

God’s love in us, that’s a different story. Let me tell you about my wife…

Sue Bohlin 2 months ago

Thanks, Glenn!

Dr. Phil recently had on his show a pathological liar and some of the women he had hurt because of his deceptions. At one point we learn one of the women had told HIM a lie, and the guy was indignant. Dr. Phil stopped the diatribe and asked, “How’d you like that? How does it feel to be lied to?” Sweet moment of earthly justice.

Jacob the deceiver got out-deceived by his Uncle Laban. His mama Rebekah was also a deceiver. Deception was a familial trait! But that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

I also see that poor Leah called herself “hated,” which supports what I’ve heard about biblical hate (such as “Jacob I loved but Esau I hated”) can mean “loved less” or “not the preferred one.”

Hope Harris 2 months ago

Part 1 Thoughts from Tim Keller “Leah the Girl Nobody Wanted:”

When the Lord saw Leah was not loved, he loved her. God is saying, “I am the real bridegroom. I am the husband of the husbandless. I am the father of the fatherless.”

He loves the unwanted. He loves the weak, the ones the world doesn’t want to be like.

God blesses Leah the makes the girl who nobody wanted into the mother of Jesus, the bearer of the Messianic line, the bearer of salvation to the world.

He loves the unwanted. He loves the weak, the ones the world doesn’t want to be like.

God says you must see him as what he is: the great bridegroom, He is not just a king and shepherd. He loves us!

Hope Harris 2 months ago

Part 2 When God came to earth in Jesus Christ, He became the man nobody wanted. He had no beauty that we should desire him. At the end, everybody abandoned him. Even his Father in heaven didn’t want him. Jesus cried out on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Here is the gospel: God did not save us in spite of the weakness that he experienced as a human being but through it. It is only for those who admit they are weak, hopeless moral failure, a sinner absolutely lost and have no hope apart from the sheer grace of God, then you are not weak enough for the great salvation that God has brought into the world.

God chose Leah because he is saying, “This is how salvation works. This is the upside-down way that my people will live, when they receive my salvation.”

Lindsey Driscoll 2 months ago

The irony of it all that Jacob, the deceiver, was deceived. I see in chapeter 29 that man is deceitful and yet God is faithful and he sees Leah in her loneliness and feeling unloved from her husband.

Hugh Stephenson 2 months ago

My focus is drawn to Leah. She seems to be the only honorable person in this mix. Jacob was a deceiver and the son of a deceiver. It’s not hard to chuckle when he gets out-deceived by Laban.

I link Leah to Haggar, another woman who sort of accidentally got taken up in a scheme. El Roi sees her as He saw Haggar. Like Haggar, Leah being hated was answered by the mercy of God.

But her blessing was immense in comparison as she was the mother of half the tribes of Israel. Most amazing, it is Judah, her son, not Rachel’s, from whom Jesus is descended.

Rahab in Jericho. Ruth the Moabite. Jael. Mary Magdalene. Over and over I see God fulfilling His promises in ways I NEVER would have thought.

Too often I put God in a box. This passage teaches me how silly that is.

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