- Today’s Reading:
- Genesis 28:1-29:35
- Proverbs 3:11-12
Jacob has been sent away from Canaan for two reasons: (1) to allow Esau’s murderous rage to dispel, and (2) to allow him to find a non-Canaanite wife. On the journey to Paddan-aram, God speaks to Jacob and affirms that his blessings will be fulfilled through Jacob. Here is where Jacob accepts the Lord as his God and establishes the name Bethel for the land promised to belong to him and his descendants.
I find it odd, however, that Jacob only accepts the Lord as his God conditionally: “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will certainly be my God” (28:20). I would think that being the son of Isaac, Jacob would have already affirmed the Lord as his God.
Chapter 29 talks of Jacob and his marriages. Upon arrival to Paddan-aram, Jacob meets Rachel and is taken with her. Rachel’s father (and Jacob’s uncle), Laban, agrees to give Rachel to Jacob in marriage after 7 years of labor. Once that time period was up, Laban tricks Jacob by bringing him Leah instead when it was dark. Can you imagine the betrayal? Laban, after being confronted by Jacob, agrees to give him Rachel – in exchange for 7 more years of work (Rachel was given to Jacob in advance, one week after he married Leah).
Next we learn that Rachel is barren and Leah, being unloved, is blessed with 4 sons. It’s so sad, because with each child, Leah thinks that having a son will make Jacob love her, but he never does. What Laban did was horrible for his entire family. I know that women didn’t have much choice in where they were to be married, and such, but one would certainly hope for a better marriage than one the husband had been tricked into. Poor Leah! And Rachel, who patiently waited 7 years also, has to endure Jacob being married first to another. And poor Jacob! Caught in the middle of it all.
Here we read a very important message. This message urges us not to get upset when we are disciplined from the Lord, for he does it out of love. Anyone who has children will surely understand this! Isn’t it hard to look at your child’s tears after you’ve punished them? I know my heart tries to melt, and as much as I’d like to pick them up and take it all back, I can’t because I know it’s for their own good. I know it’s hard accepting discipline – especially when one becomes an adult and is therefore not used to being punished anymore. As hard as it is, we just have to remember that it’s because God loves us.
How I wish that I could funnel all the knowledge of this book directly into my mind, to have all the knowledge now! I am thrilled that I anticipate reading the bible instead of feeling as if it is were chore to do so.