February 8, 2019

JACOB MEETS RACHEL

Jacob, after the encounter with God in his dream, continued his journey to the land of the people of the east and  on arriving there he saw a well with flocks of sheep around it. He asked the shepherd where they were from and they told him they were from Haran, and he also asked them if they knew Laban and they told him they did and as they were speaking, Rachel arrived at the scene with her father’s flock, and the men pointed her to him as the daughter of Laban. Again God’s providence made his journey successful. He met Rachel and introduced himself to her and Rachel was excited to meet him too. She went  to inform dad, who then rushed to the field to meet Jacob, embraced and kissed him and brought him to meet the entire family. What a family reunion and he stayed with them for a month during which Jacob helped them to take care of their flock.

Genesis 29:15-30 reads “And Laban said unto Jacob, because thou you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?” Laban had two daughters, Leah the eldest daughter had delicate eyes, but Rachel was beautiful, and Jacob loved Rachel, so he told Laban “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter. ” Laban agreed and Jacob’s seven years seemed like few days because of the love he had for her. So after the seven years, he asked for his wife and unfortunately Laban deceived him and after the feast he made for the occasion, he brought him Leah in the night (that’s the tradition), and he went in unto her not knowing it was Leah. In the morning he discovered that it was Leah. So he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me? ” And Laban said , “It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years. Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife also. Laban gave his maid Zilpah as a maid to Leah and Bilhah as a maid to Rachel. But Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.”

It was not clear whether the love that Jacob had for Rachel was the reason why he had to serve Laban for 7 years or it was the way Laban wanted it we are not sure. if we can recollect when Rebekah was proposed to, it was Abraham’s servant that came to ask for her hand in marriage while Isaac was in the land of Canaan. Though the servant brought lots of gifts for the parents before taking her with him, yet it was few days after that Rebekah embarked upon the journey to meet Isaac. I may be wrong, but I thought the idea came from Jacob as a price he was willing to pay for the woman he loved. What a sacrifice he had to go through to show how much he loved Rachel. It is true that love suffers long. The seven years was like few days to Jacob. Jacob truly had self control, he was able to hold his passion or feeling for seven years believing that once it is over, he would be able to have her and it would have been worth the while. But when the days were over, Leah was given to him in place of Rachel without telling him about it. Jacob encountered the first deception of his life when this situation occurred. I am sure he would be thinking of what he did to Esau his brother when he also deceived his father that he was Esau so as to receive blessing of firstborn. So we can say whatever we sow we will reap no matter what. Just like Esau was greatly hurt by what he did, so also Jacob was greatly hurt by Laban giving him what he did not ask for. This is a life lesson too for everyone of us. The Bible says ;treat others as you will like to be treated. Therefore as Laban suggested he had to serve for another seven years for him to have Rachel and because Rachel was the original lover, he had to pay the price which was like double punishment for him. He endured it because of love.

The exchange that brought Leah to Jacob’s life was not accidental. God had to do His own thing whether man likes it or not. We saw God performing His own work in the family of Jacob making Leah to start to give birth to sons while her sister’s womb was barren. `Jacob still loved Rachel and God now manifested His own unconditional love to Leah that was not loved by Jacob. In this way Leah was very secured because of the love and favor of God over her life. Jacob had no power to give Rachel a child despite the love he had for her. That is to say the only LOVE that is desired for anyone to have is the LOVE of God.

God is teaching us in this series of life lessons that NO ONE should be depressed or discouraged or disappointed because of somebody not showing or expressing love to you. Whether that somebody is a husband, wife, parents, children, friends, coworker, or whosoever., the love of God to us is much more than the love of any human being. The beautiful part of this love is that He makes your life unique by the outpouring of his love for you on all sides. People who see you will know that you are highly favored of the LORD.  So brothers and sisters, God made you in His image, and you are wonderfully and fearfully made, and He loves you unconditionally. Do not let what any man or woman say or do affect or disturb you, but focus on Jesus that created you, that has plans for you and also loves you dearly. Remain blessed.

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