Sunday, May 15, 2016

Genesis: The painful path of maturity

I'm back!

Since Grandma died, life has felt like a whirlwind and we've done nothing but go, go, go.

But this morning I'm back at church, and we're continuing with the book of Genesis, now getting to the story of Jacob, Laban and Laban's daughters.

Jacob returned to his mother's land, and he met his cousin, Rachel. She showed up with her father's sheep, and Jacob rolled away the stone from the well. He was showing off his muscles for the beautiful girl. And her watered her sheep, again, showing off for this beauty.

Jacob tells Rachel he is a relative, and she tells her father, and everyone is super excited. Jacob knew the story of his parents, how his grandfather sent a servant to this place and found Rebekah for Isaac. He wants the same thing to happen for himself and Rachel. However, most likely Laban just saw dollar signs. He had seen the huge dowry paid for his sister Rebekah, and he wanted the same thing for his daughter.

But Jacob didn't have anything. So he offered to work for his uncle for seven years in exchange for Rachel. Laban agreed, although it was twice the typical payment of a dowry. Laban took advantage of his family member; you can see where Jacob inherited his cheating persona. The seven years when pretty quickly for Jacob and Rachel as they waited for their wedding day.

Laban really wanted to get rid of his older daughter before Rachel, so on Jacob's wedding night he gave him Leah, whose name means cow, who was not very attractive, who was nothing compared to Rachel. Jacob didn't realize it because Leah was covered in a veil, and Jacob got drunk during the "drinking feast." By the time it was dark and no one could see, Jacob slept with Leah, but didn't realize it.

We know it was bad that Laban tried to exploit Jacob, but think about Leah. She had seen Jacob and Rachel's love blossom. She knew of their feelings for each other. However, she still went along with her dad's plan to steal her sister's groom. That side of it is not often thought about.

Jacob wakes up and freaks out. His uncle manipulates him once more to get more work out of him in exchange for Rachel. This creates havoc in the home as Leah now is trying to always outdo her sister to be the beloved wife.

This happened because Laban said that it was not customary to give the younger before the older. So they had snuck in and fooled Jacob. It was just like what he had done in his own family. His older brother was supposed to have his family's blessing, but Jacob had dressed as his brother and stolen it. Now his first wife had jumped in, dressed as her sister and stolen her sister's joy. Jacob could see what he had done to his brother.

God is committed to maturing us, but we all struggle with certain sins. Sometimes then we have to deal with someone else who struggles with the same sin so we can see what it's like to be on the receiving end of that sin. It will help break us of that sin when we get frustrated with it.

Oh how I have experienced that before. I've seen my own sin in others' lives, and it is always convicting. Galatians 6:7 says, "For whatever one sows, that he will also reap."

Your sin will come back to haunt you, not only in its consequences but also as God brings similar situations in your life as he tries to teach you a lesson.

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